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Union of Genius: 'Arabian Nights' spiced lentil and coconut soup

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

Published: June 9, 2015
Categories: ,

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!


Modern Scottish recipe: Roast salmon with wilted spinach and Old Pulteney whisky cream reduction


  • 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
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