Red Lentil Soup with Cloves

Total Time
1hr 10mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr

I found this in a slow food cookbook I borrowed - it originates from one of my favorite chefs - Madhur Jaffrey. I needed some more recipes using red lentils, and this came at a convenient time.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Put the lentils, water, turmeric, cloves, ginger and garlic into a large pot and simmer, partially covered, until lentils become soft, 45 minutes to an hour, or use a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time.
  2. Remove the cloves (in the bouquet garni) and puree the soup with a hand blender, or in a blender.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice, to taste.
  4. Saute the bread cubes in a bit of olive oil until slightly browned and crisped and drain.
  5. Serve the soup with the bread croutons and lime wedges, on the side.
  6. Enjoy!
Most Helpful

My mom is on a strict diet and I am helping her with it. As part of her diet plan, I have included this soup for her. This is a really nice and light soup, with a beautifully light {more like the sun} yellow colour. The best part that I like about this soup is that it is oil-free!!!! I made this for lunch this afternoon using 1 cup of red lentils{masoor dal}. There were a few other ingredients which I added to this soup. These are: 1/2 tsp. of garam masala powder, 2 neem leaves{fresh ones, these help to bring down blood pressure and will help the big swelling on her ankles}, 4 mint leaves{fresh ones} and 6 basil leaves{fresh ones, these also help to control blood pressure}. I used 3 cloves instead of 6 and 1 1/2 tsps. of salt instead of 3-4 tsps. As for black pepper powder, I used 6 pinches of freshly powdered black peppercorns{i.e., 6 pinches of black pepper powder}. Instead of lime juice, I used the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Once the soup was cooked{in the pressure cooker till the first whistle which was all it took to cook this, quick and easy}, I did not puree it in the blender as stated in the recipe. Instead, I served it just the way it was. For the croutons, I used 8 slices of brown bread{cut into cubes} which I put in a pan alongwith a few pinches of sambar masala powder and 1 1/2 tbsps. of fennel seeds. I stir-fried these croutons in 1 1/2 tbsps. of oil until they were a little browned. These croutons went very well with the soup, providing a contrast of flavours. The croutons when dipped into the soup, gave it a new burst of flavour{thanks to my idea of using sambar masala powder}. Also, the croutons went very well on their own. We enjoyed 2 bowls each of this soup with a bowl of fresh cabbage and bell peppers {red, yellow and green} salad. I will be posting the salad recipe separately and mention in the notes that it goes very well along with this. Big Thank you hugs for a wonderful soup {we still have some left, yay!} recipe from mom and me!

Charishma_Ramchandani February 26, 2005

This ended up with a sunny golden-orange color (I'm sure the turmeric helped with that) and a warm flavor to match, very pleasant on a chilly night. The croutons provided contrast of texture, but not much of flavor or color, so I added some chopped fresh cilantro, and then it was lovely. I didn't have any kind of blender and I like a more textured soup anyway, so I minced the ginger and garlic fine and cooked the lentils down until the soup was thick, but that took longer, more like an hour and 15 minutes. My major qualm with this was the amount of salt. I admit that I am really sensitive to salt and that I think things are really salty that seem perfectly delicious to other people, but I only used 2.5 teaspoons for the whole pot and that was almost more than I could handle; I wish I'd tasted it before even adding that much, because to me it overwhelmed the other flavors.

Nose January 01, 2005