Bengali Soup – Orange Split Lentils with Tomatoes and Cilantro

This is a weeknight variation of orange split lentils which are extremely versatile because of their quick cooking time and naturally mild and Bengali soupadaptive taste. They are comforting, simple, and as basic as it gets. Everyone in my family, including my children, loves this lentil. This light variation is a summertime favorite but can be enjoyed as a soup in winter, if desired, with some hot buttered whole wheat toast.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes

  • ½ cup dried orange/red split lentils (masoor dal)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Put the lentils and 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the turmeric, salt, and green chilies and cook for about 15 minutes. While the lentils are boiling a scum may form on the surface, gently remove this while the lentils
are cooking.

Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix the mixture well—it should have a nice soupy consistency that is not too thin or too thick.

Heat the ghee in a small skillet on medium heat for about 1 minute and add the cumin seeds and wait till the seeds begin to sizzle. Pour this seasoned ghee over the lentils and stir in the cilantro.

 

Recipes from THE BENGALI FIVE SPICE CHRONICLES: Exploring the Cuisine of Eastern India
By Rinku Bhattacharya

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Bengali Cuisine

Bengali cuisine is a style of food preparation originating in Bengal, a region in the eastern South Asia which is now divided between the Indian state of West Bengal and the independent country of Bangladesh. With an emphasis on fish and lentils served with rice as a staple diet, Bengali cuisine is known for its subtle flavours, its confectioneries and desserts, and has perhaps the only multi-course tradition from India that is analogous with the likes of French and Italian cuisine in structure.

HISTORY

Bengali food has inherited a large number of influences, both foreign and South Asian, arising from a turbulent history and strong trade links with many parts of the world. Originally inhabited by Dravidians and other ethnic groups, and later further settled by the Aryans during the Gupta era, Bengal fell under the sway of various Muslim rulers from the early thirteenth century onwards, and was then ruled by the British for two centuries (1757–1947). It also saw a fair share of immigrants from various parts of the world – most prominently Jews, Chinese and Afghans who settled down in their own distinct communities in and around Kolkata.

Every layer of historical influence endures to the present day; the tribals have traditionally abided as hunter-gatherers in the dense forests of the Sunderbans while the rest of Bengal turned heavily agrarian, farming the extremely fertile Ganges delta for rice, vegetables and cash crops such as jute. -(Wikepedia)