Red Lentil Coconut Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups red split lentils
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 fresh jalapeno or Serrano chili, finely chopped (with or without seeds, depending on your tolerance)*
1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup tomato paste
7 cups water
1 can unsweetened light coconut milk
1-15 oz. can chickpeas
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving**
Heat the tablespoon of o/o in a dutch oven or large soup pan and add the onions, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened and start to take on some color. Add the garlic and spices and stir well. Add the tomato paste, stir well and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is toasty and fragrant. Add the water, coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas and cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, adding the lime juice at the end of the cooking time. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve the soup topped with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and some extra limes on the side.
*I used a frozen jalapeno, but I have also used cayenne pepper.
**I rarely have fresh cilantro and, while it's a nice touch, the soup doesn't suffer from the lack of it.