Inspired by the flavors of Indian Mulligatawny, this soup is one of my daughter's favorite recipes. She asks me to make it for her all the time.
I find that the flavors get even better the day after it is made. I always make large batches since it is just as easy to make a large batch as it is a small one. My kids love to take a thermos full for school lunch. It also freezes well if we want to save half for another time.
I buy fresh curry leaves at our food coop but they are also available in Indian grocery stores and even on Amazon.com. If you buy a bag of them they can be frozen for future use. If you cannot get fresh curry leaves you may omit this step and just mince the garlic and ginger into a fine paste.
CURRIED RED LENTIL SOUP
2-3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh curry leaves
2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil but olive oil would be just as good!)
2 onions, diced
4 carrots, sliced into rounds
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 pounds split red lentils
12 cups water (more as needed)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cans coconut milk
Combine ginger, garlic, and curry leaves in a spice grinder or small food processer and blend into a paste. Heat coconut oil in a large stock pot over medium heat and add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook stirring frequently for about 4 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add curry leaf paste, curry powder, and garam masala and cook another minute or two until very fragrant. Add lentils, water and salt and increase heat to high to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk and adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro before serving.