I’ve had a jar of red lentils sitting in my kitchen for months now. They’re beautiful to look at, like small coral pebbles, but I’ve been procrastinating using them. It’s only now that it’s November in Vancouver and the sky has become perpetually black that I really crave hearty soups combined with warm spices and hot pieces of naan. This recipe makes a very generous amount of soup. I was able to have it almost all week for lunch at work in various forms, my favourite being the last of the soup over brown basmati rice with the cashew cream drizzled over top, garnished with pickled onions and cucumber slices.
It is only recently that I have discovered the incredible potential of cashews. As someone with a peanut and hazelnut allergy I have learned by habit to stay away from nuts in general. I bought a large amount of cashews to use in a failed attempt at making raw energy bars which left me with 2 cups of raw unsalted cashews in my freezer just sitting there and the entire time I had no idea how delicious they are to snack on and how versatile they are to cook with. I quickly became addicted to their buttery texture and could totally see how perfect they would be in recipes that demanded a velvety and voluptuous mouthfeel. The raw cashews are soaked overnight, as one would do to legumes, and then blended with a small amount of water and the rest of the recipe ingredients. This creamy sauce will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days but the raw garlic flavour will intensify quickly so it’s best eaten quickly if you aren’t a fan of pungent garlic (which I am, I actually love it a few days in after being made.)
I know their are many wonderfully skilled bakers out there who would be able to make freshly baked naan with ease, but regret that I’m not one of them. Instead I rely on store bought naan that I have heated up in the oven. This is my method: heat oven to 300 degrees. On a large baking sheet spread the naan out in a single layer. Sprinkle a scant amount of water over the naan and bake 3-4 minutes or until the naan feels soft and warm.
red lentil soup:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium sized onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. coriander
1 carrot, peeled and cut into a small dice
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup of split red lentils
7 cups of vegetable stock
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish
1. Saute the onions and garlic over medium heat in a large stock pot. Cook until very soft, about 8-10 minutes, and stir in the ginger, cumin, and coriander. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the diced carrot, sugar, tomato paste, and lentils. Stir until the lentils are evenly coated before adding the vegetable stock. Allow to simmer gently, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (as with many soups, this recipe benefits from sitting overnight to let the flavours fully develop.) To serve add a dollop of cashew cream to the soup and garnish with lime wedges and cilantro, have a pile of warm naan on hand nearby.
garlicky cashew cream with lime and cilantro:
1 cup of unsalted raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup of water
1-2 cloves of garlic, cut into a large dice
Juice of 1-2 limes
1/2 cup of cilantro, packed
1 tsp. kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy and completely emulsified.
So I saw Slowdive perform live earlier this week at The Commodore and I feel words won’t do me justice when I say it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. They played all of my Top 10 best ever favourites and sounded completely true to how I always hoped they would be. Of course I’m now in a Slowdive listening frenzy in an effort to recreate the show (it’s sort of working) so I’ll leave you with Slowdive by Slowdive, the first song on their Vancouver setlist.
Slowdive – Slowdive