Yottam Ottolenghi’s recent cookbook, Plenty More, is in some ways an antithesis of the Pure Prairie Eating Plan in that some of the ingredients are hard to find and the recipes can be challenging and time consuming…and yet we come back to it because the recipes are imaginative, fresh and FULL of flavor!
Thai Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chile Oil is one of our favorites and we thought you might like to try it over the holidays. It has some ingredients that aren’t always easy to find (e.g. lemongrass and Kaffir leaves) and ½ a can of coconut milk, so when we’re making it we make a double batch of the body of the soup (without the sugar snap peas and fresh cilantro) and freeze one batch for later. The recipe for chile-infused oil makes more than you need for 1 batch of soup, but it can be kept for up to a month in the fridge and used for drizzling on soup, salads or grilled dishes. We think it’s definitely worth the effort!
Thai Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chile Oil (adapted from Plenty More)
Serves 4, Serving Size 1 ½ cups (375 mL)
4 oz (120 g) sugar snap peas
3 Tbsp (45 mL) sunflower oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced ( 1 ½ cups/160 g)
1 ½ Tbsp (22 mL)thai red curry paste
2 lemongrass stalks, gently bashed with a rolling pin
4 fresh Kaffir lime leaves (or 12 dried)
1 ¼ cups (310 mL/250 g) red lentils
1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk
1 ½ Tbsp (22 mL) lime juice
1 ½ Tbsp (22 mL) soya sauce
1 cup (250 mL/15 g) cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Chile- infused Oil
¾ cup (180 mL) sunflower oil
1 banana shallot or 2 regular shallots, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup/50 g)
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) peeled and coarsely chopped fresh ginger
½ red chile, coarsely chopped
½ star anise pod
2 tsp (10 mL) curry powder
1 tsp (5 mL) tomato paste
grated zest of ½ a small lemon
For the Chile oil:
- Heat 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of sunflower oil in a small saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chile, star anise, and curry powder and fry over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the shallot is soft.
- Add the tomato paste and cook gently for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining oil and lemon zest and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool and strain through a cheese cloth (or coffee filter) lined sieve
- This makes more oil than you need for 1 batch of soup, but it can be kept for up to a month in the fridge and used for drizzling on soup, salads or grilled dishes.
For the Soup:
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil and throw in the sugar snap peas. Cook for 90 seconds, drain, refresh under cold water, and set aside to dry.
- Once cool, cut them on the diagonal into slices 1/16 inch/2mm thick
- Heat the sunflower oil in a large pot and add the onion. Cook over low heat, with the lid on, for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the onion is completely soft and sweet. Stir in the red curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the lemongrass, lime leaves, red lentils, and 3 cups (700 mL) of water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are completely soft.
- Remove the soup from the heat and take out and discard the lemongrass and lime leaves. Use a blender to process the soup until it is completely smooth. Add the coconut milk, lime juice and soya sauce, and ½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt and stir. Return the soup to medium heat, and once the soup is almost boiling, ladle into bowls. Scatter the snap peas on top, sprinkle with cilantro, and finish with ½ a teaspoon chile oil drizzled over each portion.
Nutritional Analysis (per serving): 494 kcal, 26 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 48 g carbohydrate, 9 g fibre, 20 g protein.