Recipe: “Soup of the Arabian Nights” - exotically-spiced lentil and coconut (Great Taste Gold winner)

  • 20
  • 4-6
  • Easy
Union of Genius founder, Elaine Mason, shares one of her favourite recipes. Soup of the Arabian Nights draws on an array of Elaine’s best-loved Middle Eastern spices to create a delicious and harmonious broth filled with veg, rice and lentils. It’s a nutritious, filling soup that isn’t difficult to make but can take a bit of tinkering to get the delicate balance of flavours right. The idea for Arabian Nights came from a “Soup Swap” event that Union of Genius ran in early 2013. Guests brought portions of soup they had made and swapped them with other soup lovers to try new flavours and ideas. Someone brought something similar to Soup of the Arabian Nights and Elaine loved the idea of it. She didn’t have a recipe, so went off and invented one with all her favourite spices. Soup of the Arabian Nights went on to win a Great Taste Gold award later in 2013.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Small thumb of ginger, crushed
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 or 3 sticks celery
  • Half or three-quarters of a tin of coconut milk
  • 200g red lentils
  • 50g brown basmati rice
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp crushed cumin seed
  • 2 tsp crushed coriander seed
  • 0.5 tsp chilli flakes
  • 0.5 tsp rosewater
  • 1tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 blade mace
  • 1.25 litres vegetable stock

Method

1. Finely chop all the vegetables then saute the onion, garlic and ginger in oil for 5 minutes.

2. Add the rest of the vegetables and saute for another 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and the stock and bring to the boil.

4. Add the spices, the coconut milk and the lentils and simmer for 40 minutes. Stir to ensure it doesn’t stick.

5. Add the basmati rice and cook for another 15 minutes.
Pass an immersion blender through the soup, but don’t blend for long – you want to gently blur the veg, not blitz them until it’s smooth.

6. Leave overnight to meld. This is essential with this soup, as the flavours develop over time.

Arabian Nights should be gently fragrant, perfumed and exotic. The texture should be chunky and the flavours balanced, not too coconut-y or tomato-y. The chilli should be a very gentle note; not dominant. The sumac gives a lemon zing and the cinnamon is warming. Each scent and flavour should meld into a balanced whole, so fiddle with the spicing until you are happy!

(http://www.unionofgenius.com/

About The Author

Amy Brewer

A part-time soupmonger with Union of Genius, Amy also writes for Edinburgh Foody and Bite magazine. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Edinburgh's eating options, achieved through an unrivalled dedication to consuming everything the city has to offer. Amy's three great loves are bacon, craft beer and meal planning.

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About The Author

Amy Brewer

A part-time soupmonger with Union of Genius, Amy also writes for Edinburgh Foody and Bite magazine. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Edinburgh's eating options, achieved through an unrivalled dedication to consuming everything the city has to offer. Amy's three great loves are bacon, craft beer and meal planning.