Adapted by Elizabeth Roberts
Servings: ~12

This is a South Indian soup typically served for breakfast. I like to cook it a bit longer to thicken it and serve it for lunch or dinner as a side dish with an animal protein and a fresh salad.


1 Tbs cumin seeds
1 Tbs coriander seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
1 – 2” stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
½  tsp whole cloves

1. Toast all ingredients in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darker in color ~ 10 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and cool completely.
3. Add toasted spices to a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a powder.
4. Use immediately. Extra can be stored for a month.


2 c red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and soaked 2-3 hrs.
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbs ghee or coconut oil
12 curry leaves – optional, but adds nice flavor if you can find them
2 medium onions, diced
¼ c Garam Masala
2 large tomatoes, diced or 1 15-oz canned tomatoes
½ c cilantro, chopped
salt, tt


  1. In a medium pot add 5 cups water, drained lentils, turmeric, and 1 Tbs. ghee or coconut oil. Bring to a boil then turn to a simmer and allow lentils to cook, skimming off foam as it accumulates. Cook until lentils are just soft ~ 30 minutes.
  2. While lentils cook, heat another large pan over medium heat, add remaining tablespoon ghee or coconut oil and add curry leaves and sauté about 2 minutes.
  3. Add onion and brown lightly then add Garam Masala, and tomatoes. Simmer 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add lentils with onion mixture, add salt to taste, simmer on low 15-30 minutes while flavors combine.
  5. Just before serving stir in cilantro.

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