© 2009 Green Kitchen Stories Lentil soup

Indian Lentil Soup

Tuesday night we made lentil soup. Being a vegetarian for 15 years now I must have tried at least a thousand (probably more?) different veggie-recipes and I can honestly say that not much beat this lentil soup. It isn’t very fancy, recipe-smart or unique, but has a secret and is just one of those dishes that makes me close my eyes after putting the first bite in my mouth.
I learned this recipe from my friend Mahmud from Bangladesh. He actually filled the pot with spices, lentils and vegetables before even starting the stove and then let it all cook together for a couple of minutes before adding the water. I seem to burn it all whenever I try that, so I altered the recipe slightly.
The secret (according to him) is to use laaarge amounts of spices and to let the lentils cook a bit too long.

Indian Lentil Soup
Serves 4

2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, very finely chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground chili or harissa
3 medium potatoes, diced
2 carrots, sliced
200g red or yellow lentils, rinsed
4 cups / 1 liter vegetable stock
a pinch of sea salt
2-3 tomatoes, diced

Prepare the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot. Add onion, garlic, ginger and all the spices. After about a minute add the potatoes, carrots and the lentils, stir it around another minute before adding the vegetable stock. Let it boil on low-medium heat for 30 minutes, stir occasionally, taste the soup and add more salt and spices if needed. Add the tomatoes and let it boil for 5-10 more minutes. The soup is done when the lentils are dissolved. Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds and some fresh coriander.


  1. Posted 1 Dec ’09 at 11:37 | #

    Yum, I love soup and this sounds delish. Pop over to my blog & enter our competition to win 2 curry cookery books http://debskitchencreations.blogspot.com/2009/11/interview-with-plus-exciting.html

  2. Asia
    Posted 10 Dec ’09 at 12:54 | #

    I really love your website!! It’s modern looking and clean, but more importantly the recipes really uses wholesome natural ingredients! Just the thing i’m looking for. I’m excited to see more coming!!!

  3. Posted 25 Jan ’10 at 19:49 | #

    Love your site, found through Rebecca at chowandchatter. Serene and inviting. I love lentil soup too.

  4. Portia
    Posted 12 May ’10 at 08:13 | #

    I love this site – beautiful photos, and lovely simple recipes.
    I have this soup on the boil now – i bought gram dal instead of channa dal (yellow lentils) by mistake. I don’t know what difference it will make but is taking a while for the lentils to ‘dissolve’.
    Is the soup completely smooth or is this still texture from the lentils and other veg?

    Thank you!

    • Posted 12 May ’10 at 09:13 | #

      Hi Portia. The soup will have a little texture from the lentils and vegetables. I’m not sure about the cooking time for those lentils, but it’s never taken me more than 45 minutes to cook any type of lentils. Hope you like it!

    • Aneesha
      Posted 15 Jan ’15 at 08:42 | #

      Chana dal is one of the hardest lentils to cook. In India we wouldn’t cook them without a pressure cooker. They’re also harder to digest than red lentils. Red lentils soothe the stomach while gram dal might inflame it.

  5. Martha kyker
    Posted 12 May ’10 at 21:00 | #

    How do I find the recipes? All I get is pictures.

  6. Posted 13 Jun ’10 at 06:37 | #

    This soup was great! I think next time I’ll turn down the heat a little, since I had mine just a smidge over half-heat and the broth seemed to boil out too quickly. Still, really good!

  7. Anna
    Posted 18 Jul ’10 at 03:57 | #

    Just made this delicious soup! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipie. I adore lentil soup but had never been able to make a really flavorful version at home. The secret of a massive Tbsp of curry makes all the difference.

  8. Jasmine
    Posted 3 Sep ’10 at 21:55 | #

    Just recently have became a fan of your Blog. The quality of its graphics and photos & its health concerned are motivating. I greatly appreciate your sharing of this delicious recipe. This has been my very 1st recipe and could describe it as an explosion of well thought flavors and nutritional values. Certainly looking forward to another recipe (your bean brownie) will be the next candidate. Keep it up and Thank you!

  9. Liisa
    Posted 29 Sep ’10 at 03:01 | #

    Made this today. Yum! I didn’t have tomatoes so left them out. I also used water instead of stock and dried green lentils… I boiled for about an hour and then added two more cups of water.

    So much flavor and good stuff. Thank you.

  10. Kat
    Posted 18 Oct ’10 at 03:11 | #

    Just made this tonight, agree with the above post that next time will turn down the heat a little. Also added an extra cup lentils, to balance out all the potatoes, used two large Idaho ones. Also added a tomato paste to give it some more intense tomato flavor. Turned out wonderful.

  11. Posted 8 Jan ’11 at 14:51 | #

    Aw you make it look so special! I must admit I’m a lentil soup addict myself. I mean most Indian’s are but I think mine is beyond normal. Don’t want to sound like a prick but you should try a lentil”S” soup recipe, i.e. it has 5 types of lentils in it! I bit of work but so worth it http://www.journeykitchen.com/2010/09/mix-dal-tadka-indian-lentils-soup.html

    • Posted 12 Jan ’11 at 15:41 | #

      Hi JourneyKitchen.
      Thanks for lentil’S’ recipe ;) sounds really good! We’re definitily going to make it.

  12. Posted 28 Oct ’11 at 18:14 | #

    Wow, beautiful recipes and beautiful photographs. I love them both. I tried out this great recipe and must say I enjoyed it very much.it I have an old pressure cooker from my days in India. Lentils cook really fast in these cookers. If you can find one invest in them it’s a handy one to have around the kitchen.

  13. Posted 21 Dec ’11 at 05:57 | #

    I just made this with brown or green lentils…I’m not sure. I’m in Mexico and I can’t find red lentils ANYWHERE. The lentils were still holding their shape quite well after 45 minutes so I used an immersion blender and blended about 1/4 of the soup to make it a bit more gloopy. I also couldn’t find tumeric so I used cumin instead. It seemed to taste OK, but as soon as I’m somewhere a bit more international, I’m going to try it with all the right ingredients. Thanks for the recipe! Wonderful as always. (oh and the healthier carrot cake is in the oven for dessert) :)

  14. Posted 3 Jan ’12 at 03:19 | #

    With a photo like that, I bet that is the best lentil soup known to man! I love to experiment with lentil and have recently written two variations on lentil soup, Beef and Lentil Soup with Black Eyed Peas and a wonderful Lemon Radish Soup with Lentils. Your dish looks like summer, but I bet it warms you to the soul on a cold winter night.

  15. Posted 30 Jan ’12 at 17:29 | #

    Love your blog! I was wondering if the tablespoon of curry is for the dry powder you find in any grocery store, or a more exotic specialty type in a jar?

  16. Kristina Landqvist
    Posted 31 Jan ’12 at 18:09 | #

    I loved this soup! It was so delish and I highly recommend it to everyone. I love your blog, it always gives me an urge to make more vegetarian food! You really inspire me. :)

  17. Posted 1 Feb ’12 at 11:38 | #

    Thank you so much for reposting this! This just comes at the right time with current temperatures of -4 to -10 degrees celsius!

  18. Li
    Posted 14 Mar ’12 at 21:09 | #

    Tried it a couple of times. Love the fresh tomatoes!

  19. Posted 4 May ’12 at 09:34 | #

    i am sick, and i made this for myself last night. already feeling better! thank you so much. i agree that after having tried many many lentil and veg soups over my long vegetarian career, this one is SOUPER!!

  20. sara li
    Posted 30 Oct ’12 at 09:19 | #

    Den her opskrift er jo genial. Endelig en indisk suppe, der alene med sin duft kan tage én tilbage til Indien. Den smager helt rigtigt!
    Tak for den :-)

  21. Posted 8 Nov ’12 at 16:36 | #

    Delicious (even without the tomatoes and with 1 carrot)!!! One question: in the curry there is some cinnamon? If you like this kind of soup, try this. Is not so different, and you will like it, im sure:

  22. April
    Posted 5 Nov ’13 at 22:42 | #

    I’m very new to cooking with lentils, and bought both dry and canned. Which should be used in this recipe?

  23. Kristin
    Posted 14 Nov ’13 at 00:02 | #

    Delicious! Even my super picky 4 year old ate a bowl!
    I pureed some of the soup and added it back, so good on a cold evening!

  24. Aleksandra
    Posted 15 Feb ’14 at 14:36 | #

    This soup is just perfect! We’ve just had it for lunch and, well, this won’t sound very modest, but it’s the best lentil soup I’ve ever eaten. Thank you!

  25. Tori
    Posted 19 Aug ’14 at 05:19 | #

    I’ve made this twice now, really yummy! Served it with noodles to entice the toddler first time and then for the second batch I used pumpkin in lieu of carrots and also added some chickpeas. Increased stock to five cups for this batch. Delicious and super easy, thanks!

  26. Posted 21 Jan ’15 at 19:54 | #

    Just made this soup and it’s incredibly delicious. Even my insanely picky 6year old liked it which is saying something! Thanks for a great blog and great inspiration.

  27. Renae
    Posted 24 May ’15 at 04:20 | #

    Delicious. This is something I made tonight and only had a pantry-style grocery store to shop for ingredients. I doubled the curry powder and turmeric and was very happy with the results. I have enjoyed every soup recipe I have tried by GKS. Thanks!

  28. Paula
    Posted 14 Jun ’15 at 19:04 | #

    This is my all time favorite soup. I must have made it dozen of times since I first discovered it. This is unbelievably good. For me, the trick is to chop vegetables into really really tiny pieces. They almost dissipate in the soup and that is what makes the soup’s perfect consistency. When I got lazy and did not feel like chopping the veggies so small, the soup did not turn out as good. Also, I do not recommend using food processor for chopping. For whatever reason, the soup ends up tasting differently when I chop it myself (?) Sounds crazy, but this was an observation I made.

  29. Posted 12 Sep ’15 at 19:10 | #

    First off: yum!

    Here’s a picture of my finished product served over rice: https://instagram.com/p/7iaxgtNN-m/

    I overboiled mine (which explains why mine is so dark) I had to add more water to it to save it and then pureed it down like others had mentioned in their comments. I don’t have a hand-held emulsifier so I used my ninja blender to blend it down, which still left some chunks of veggies but my husband and I didn’t seem to mind! Yours is much prettier than mine and way more “soup” like but the flavors speak for themselves! This will be added to our regular menu!

  30. Ray Andrews
    Posted 24 Sep ’15 at 15:54 | #

    Deborah Madison advises soaking lentils for an hour or more before cooking them.I do this and always use filtered water for all my cooking.The lentils soaked turn out really well.

  31. Karolina
    Posted 2 Nov ’15 at 19:40 | #

    This truly is the best lentil soup I’ve ever tried!

  32. Posted 24 May ’16 at 12:19 | #

    I added more chili and black pepper for that extra zing! Great recipe; thanks!

  33. Posted 4 Jan ’17 at 17:43 | #

    I LOVE LOVE lentils and Indian curries, so this would be incredible! I just had Indian food yesterday, actually! What a beautiful recipe!

  34. Bianca
    Posted 10 Apr ’17 at 03:35 | #

    Just made this soup tonight. Thick, and Yummy. Wondering if Sweet Potato instead of regular potatoes would work?

    Added extra chili flakes because I like it hot ;)

  35. Marie Frank
    Posted 29 Apr ’17 at 18:41 | #

    I love your recipes, photos and stories. Would you please consider including a “printer friendly” button for your recipes? Thank you!

  36. Emma
    Posted 31 May ’17 at 12:10 | #

    Absolutely delicious! Start of winter here in Sydney & hit the spot perfectly.

  37. vanessa.lanaroja
    Posted 19 Jun ’17 at 19:01 | #


  38. yvan
    Posted 24 Jul ’17 at 01:21 | #

    A very interesting recipe indeed! I would add some (whole) cumin seeds (about one small spoon or less according to taste) at the and (unblended)
    It might help digestion.

  39. Alma
    Posted 1 Mar ’19 at 15:59 | #

    We made this recipe and loved it. We did not change a thing!

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