Arabic Lentil Soup

 I do not always make lunch for myself but today was different, I woke up so hungry. I decided to wait until lunch time to eat and make a nice spread so my entire family could eat together. I made traditional Arabic lentil soup, samboosas and Arabic salad. I previously told you that in Indonesia they set several toppings out to put over your soups or other dishes. It’s a custom that I am huge fan of so I took that concept and did it with this recipe. I took a large plate and added fried onions, grated carrots and fresh cilantro. Lemon wedges would also be a nice side. If you’re a vegetarian you can use fresh vegetable broth or cubes to make this dish. And of course warm pita bread on the side is also a must.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion
1 carrot, diced
3 garlic cloves
1 cup brown lentils (also called black)
6 cups chicken broth (or 6 cups of water and 2 bullion cubes)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
grated carrot and cilantro for topping, optional

Fried Onion:
1 small white onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup sunflower oil

1. In a food processor add onion and garlic, pulse until mixture is gently chopped. In a 1/2 quart saucepan on medium heat add olive oil and allow to heat up for 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic mixture, stir and allow to cook until tender about 3 minutes.

2. Add carrot slices and cumin, allow to cook for about 20 seconds. Add chicken broth then bring heat to a full boil. Carefully add lentils, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer for 35 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on medium heat add sunflower oil. Allow to get hot for 3 minutes. Carefully add onion slices and allow to cook until brown about 5 minutes. Sit aside on a paper towel.

4. Remove lid from lentils and add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, stir. With a stick blender blend about half of mixture (not all should be blended). In a serving bowl add lentil soup then top each bowl with fried onions, grated carrots and cilantro.

Yields: 4 servings

*Ancient Persia (now modern day Iran) relied on lentils as the primary staple in their diet.

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