The temperatures are slowly rising, the birds are chirping, and there are even signs of wildflowers starting to bloom in the backyard. All the same, soup still makes frequent appearances on my table and soups are even better when paired with salads, so you get the best of both worlds. Lentils feature so well in soups and broccoli adds vegetable goodness to a spicy and aromatic broth. Nourishing and warming, and really easy to prepare, this might become a favorite soup to grace your tables too.
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets, chopped into evenly small pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
Rinse and soak the lentils in enough water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Blend together the coriander seeds, peppercorns, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne in a coffee or spice grinder. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fry until they begin to splutter and pop — 30 to 60 seconds. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Toss in the garlic, ginger and chilies, and stir for another few minutes. Add the spice blend and stir for a minute until fragrant.
Now pour the tomatoes and jalapeño into the pan. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the tomatoes are thickened. Stir in the water, garam masala and drained lentils. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Stir in the broccoli and salt, and simmer for another few minutes. Add more water as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Stir in the lemon juice and let sit for a few minutes before serving. This soup goes well with rice, quinoa or millet. Garnish with red pepper flakes or fresh cilantro if desired.