just when all y'all are getting ready to break out the barbeques and blenders in readiness for summer, my mind turns to soup. steaming hot giant bowls of hearty soup. to be honest i can't stop thinking about soup. all year round. i just love the stuff. the other day i was going through an old box of "memorabilia" (ie junk) and i found one of those little books you make when you are in the first grade or something. the ones where you draw a picture of your best friend at the time and it looks like satan. you draw a picture of your parents and they look like momma-satan, poppa-satan and brother-satan (the latter of which wasn't very far off the mark). you draw a picture of your favorite food and it looks like, uh soup. i kid you not. soup and birthday cake, my two favorite foods circa nineteen seventy something. some things never change. by the way, the soup looked like a flying saucer and the cake looked like, um, satan.
1 cup red lentils (please go through all your grains to pick out rocks and dirt clumps)
6 cups water
4 tomatoes diced (or i small can of tomatoes)
2 c. diced onion
0-3 jalapeno chiles
2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
6 (yes, that six) cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1+ Tablespoon whole cumin
1+ Tablespoon whole corriander
2 cups shredded spinach
salt to taste
first sort through your lentils and pick out anything you don't want to eat, like dirt and rocks and discarded fingernails (reminds me of the time when i was eating indian pizza, felt something funny in my mouth and pulled out a very long pinkie nail that had gotten chopped off - needless to say that was the last time i ever had indian pizza). in a little skillet dry toast the mustard seeds, cumin and corriander just until they become fragrant - if you have only powder you can do the same but be very very careful not to burn. grind up the seeds in a coffee mill, mortar and pestle, whatever works for you. as for the jalapenos, add as many or as few as you like it - i generally removed seeds and veins cause i like it spicy but not 4-alarm. you can cook the onions in a little oil until they're soft, if you like, but i never do. throw everthing (including a little salt) except the spinach into a pot (or pressure cooker) and cook until the whole mess is soft. i usually remove about 1/4 of the soup and blend then return to the pot...this makes the soup a little heartier and with a better texture and flavor. near the end place the spinach in the pot (you probably don't want to add the spinach in before you blend otherwise the soup will get a little green-y), cover and simmer till soft. adjust salt to taste.