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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Vidya Swamy’s hearty vegetarian lentil soup is a favorite of her family. So she decided to enter it into the New England Country Soup Contest. It was picked as one of the five favorite of the judges. On March 24th she went to the finals with her soup recipe and she took first place in the Midwest.

Vidya’s Soup Recipe:

Servings: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 to 30 minutes


•1 cup raw red lentils^
•1 garlic clove peeled and lightly mashed
•2 slices fresh ginger, 1 inch in size mashed
•1 tsp. Turmeric powder^
•1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper also called red chilli powder^ (optional)
•1 tomato
•1/2 of a medium-sized onion (optional)
•1 tbsp. Canola oil or olive oil
•1 tsp. Cumin seed^
•Salt to taste
•1 tbsp. Chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
Instructions: Lentil soup

This is a basic lentil soup also known as dhal.

Pointer 1: any of the lentils at your regular grocery store is good for this soup.
Pointer 2: masoor, moong or a mix of the two are excellent for dhals. If there are no names on packages, just pick any two or one or you go by color – yellow, green, pink, red.


Rinse lentils. Add them into a heavy-bottomed pot, add 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Now add the turmeric and let it start cooking. Take a wok or skillet and add say 1tsp oil. Now add the mashed garlic and ginger. Saute it just a bit until the garlic turns light brown. Add that to the lentil and continue cooking. Make sure that the lentil does not spill over. Give it a stir as it is cooking to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When lentil is cooked, add the salt. Turn off heat.

Take the same wok. Add a tsp of oil. Warm the oil and then add the cumin seeds. Now add the diced tomatoes. Let them cook for about 8 minutes. After a pulp forms add it to the cooked lentils. Cook for another 5 minutes.

To garnish, which adds flavor to any dish, take the remaining oil. Warm the oil. Then add the onions, saute it until it turns light brown. Then pour over the finished lentils.

Finally add the chopped coriander on top. Give the whole thing a stir before serving.

Recipe story

The inspiration behind this soup story is just the discriminating taste buds of my family and the excellent cooking I grew up with. I have the instinct and memory of the taste whenever I eat something. That combined with my creative abilities have made my dishes quite a hit with family and friends.

I am also a conscientious cook when it comes to the ingredients that go into my recipes. Yet, I am never the one to compromise taste. I can guarantee you that the taste of every recipe on my kitchen web site is excellent and healthy. I demonstrated this lentil soup recipe in one of my free cooking workshops and it was an instant hit. The students were a mix of ages and ethnicity. Hope you’ll like this too. }

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