soups

easy vegetable soup

30th October 2017

This is a quick, simple, useful soup recipe which doesn’t tie you to specific ingredients, allowing you to substitute whatever is available in your fridge or garden. Being the start of Autumn, I am enjoying digging up crisp potatoes, picking the last of the beans and podding those over-matured borlotti beans, which I somehow missed harvesting. It is important to toast and grind your own spices to bring out their flavour, enhancing this soup.

Late afternoon walk ~ Sintra mountains

easy vegetable soup

Serves 4

The whole ground peppercorns give the soup a soft kick; the cumin & coriander seeds add earthiness, and the lemon brings all the flavours together. The vegetables listed are those that work best for me. It can be made with any seasonal vegetables – sweet peas or green beans, sweet potato instead of potato, fennel instead of celery.  I like to serve it with a guacamole and freshly baked challah bread.

ingredients:

3 Tblsp ghee/oil

2 stalks/150g celery

¼ cup/45g pearl barley/red rice

1 Tblsp finely chopped ginger

1 fresh bay leaf

8 cups water

1 large/130g potato

2 medium/140g carrots

1 cup/70g chopped cabbage

½ cup/60g freshly shelled borlotti beans/green beans

1 cup/120g spaghetti squash/pumpkin

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 heaped tsp coriander seeds

¼ heaped tsp whole peppercorns

1½ heaped tsp rock salt

 heaped tsp sugar/jaggery

1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice

a handful of fresh coriander or kale

preparation:

Finely slice celery stalks and set aside. Peel and finely chop the potato and carrots into small cubes, along with the remaining vegetables.

In a medium pot over high heat, drizzle in the oil/ghee and sauté the celery until tender. Add barley, ginger and bay leaf. Sauté until coated in oil.  Add the water and remaining vegetables.  Rapidly simmer, uncovered for 45min – 1 hour.

Place the whole peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds into a small saucepan, and dry-roast over medium heat until a good fragrance appears. Allow to cool, then roughly grind in a mortar and pestle.  Add to the soup along with the salt and sugar.  Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes, or longer for the flavours to develop. Taste, adding more sweetness or salt.  Sprinkle in a generous handful of finely chopped coriander or kale. Serve with a drizzling of ghee and more fresh coriander.  If trying to avoid bread, it is lovely served with a spoonful of rice.

Goodness shared by Stacey

spring miso with lemon

31st May 2016

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I am out in the garden every day now, finding any excuse to be there.  The fresh air, to experience the spring in its full glory.  It can still be cold and unpredictable but we are now blessed with warm weather days that lift us up and put a spring in our step.

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precious evening twilight & a walk in the garden

I had written this at the start of spring last year but it got put to the side by other inspiring dishes. A lovely light cleansing soup. You can vary this recipe using whatever vegetables you like. In summer I add a whole cob of corn, cut into fours, with thinly shaved garden zucchinis. For a more substantial meal add a small amount of cooked noodles when adding the blanched vegetables. It is important not to boil the miso, the rich enzymes and nutrients due to the fermentation, will be lost.

spring miso with lemon

I have been slowly working my way through Amy Chaplin’s – At Home in the Wholefood Kitchen. This recipe is another from her book – ever so slightly adapted.

If you want to make this soup ahead of time, leave out the miso and keep the blanched vegetables and dashi separate.  Reheat together; then add miso, lemon zest and juice.

Serves 4

dashi:

6 cups of filtered water

4 – inch piece kombu

2 large slices fresh ginger

soup:

8 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut diagonally

1 cup tiny broccoli florets/sugar snap peas, strings removed and chopped in half lengthwise

1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds

2 small radishes, thinly sliced

6 – 8 Tblsp sweet white miso

zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

handful baby kale/spinach leaves

make the dashi:

In a medium pot place the kombu, ginger, and filtered water bring up to boil over high heat.  Cover pot, reduce heat to a low, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove kombu and ginger using a slotted spoon.

make the soup:

Bring the dashi up to a simmer over high heat.  Add the asparagus, broccoli/sugar snap peas, carrots, and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the radish rounds and cook for another 30 seconds, then remove all the vegetables using a slotted spoon.  Set aside to cool.

Reduce heat to low.  In a small bowl mix the miso to a paste using a little of the soup and pour through a small strainer into the soup.  Taste, add more miso or a small spoon of salt if necessary. Add the blanched vegetables and small kale/spinach leaves, warm over a gentle heat for a minute or until the leaves are wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice. (Adding a pungent flavour such as ginger or lemon to miso soup just before serving will activate the enzyme, making them more beneficial).

Serve immediately.

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a simple spring asparagus soup

10th April 2016

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This spring asparagus soup was created for the Holmes Place magazine for an ongoing concept of seasonal ‘superfoods’ throughout the year.

Asparagus spears make a deeply fresh, light, vibrant green, cleansing soup that tastes like Spring. It has a sweet bitter & mildly pungent flavour. The lemon supports a gentle cleanse, the dill stimulates the digestive juices helping in the bowel’s movement, while the asparagus promotes circulation to the kidneys and providing a good dose of Vitamins, especially Vitamin K.  The addition of avocado gives this soup a creamy, rich texture, and a healthy serving of good fats, aiding in  the absorption of nutrients.  A drizzling of ghee when serving provides a grounding sattvic quality.

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Asparagus has a short season, and it is worth buying the thinner spears rather than the ‘jumbo’ spears whose flavour tends to be disappointingly bland.  When buying asparagus, take a careful look at the cut ends to make sure they are not dried out.  Avoid cooking in aluminium pans as they can taint the flavour. Once harvested, this vegetable loses it sweetness quickly.  So buy locally, as the produce shipped from overseas is disappointing.

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simple spring asparagus soup

Once the weather warms up, this soup can be served chilled.  Season to taste after it’s completely cool.

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients:

500 grams asparagus spears (2 bunches)

1 medium fennel bulb

2 Tblsp olive oil/ghee

1 avocado

½ cup chopped fresh dill

1 Tblsp lemon juice

zest from half a lemon, plus more for garnishing

2 cups boiling water

1 tsp rock salt, more to taste

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

preparation:

Remove the tougher outer layer of the fennel, then chop into small pieces.

Wash the asparagus, break off and discard the woody ends from the base of the stalks. Chop into 1-inch pieces.

In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil or ghee.  Add the chopped fennel and sauté for five minutes.  Stir in the asparagus and sauté until the asparagus is tender.  Turn off the heat, allow to sit for five minutes, then transfer to a blender.  Add the avocado, dill, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and boiling water.  Puree until completely smooth, creamy and velvety.  Taste and season with more salt, pepper or lemon, as needed.

Serve immediately, garnished with thin slices of avocado, lemon zest, extra dill, a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and drizzle with melted ghee.

If not serving immediately, reheat when needed over a low flame.

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carrot & mung dal soup – a winter warming soup

6th December 2015

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I thought I would re-visit this soup, as it is one I make most often in the colder months and a particular favourite of Donna’s.  It is also very quick and easy to prepare and has such simple flavours and warmth due to the pepper and ginger added, which helps to keep us nourished and grounded in these colder months.  Dry roasting and roughly grinding your own spices make all the difference to bring out the flavours, don’t be tempted to skip this process.

Out of all the pulses, mung dahl (green gram) is one I use most often; as it has a calming, cooling and balancing effect on all dosha’s.  It is also very cleansing and medicinal.  The tomatoes can easily be omitted if desired; as the lemon juice adds the acidity that this soup requires.

A few memorable images from our recent retreat in India.

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– Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram

– Banyan Tree, Firefly Resort

– Illuminating cloudscape

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carrot & mung dal soup

The original recipe is from Yamuna Devi’s, The Vegetable Table.  It is a little worn and splotched on most pages from over-enthusiastic use.  A great book to start with when wanting to cook good, wholesome Indian meals without the addition of onion or garlic.  There is also a sense of devotional cooking in all the recipes she makes which I really like.

This is my version of her soup with a few changes.  The original recipe uses split mung/moong dal (yellow) which results in a lighter soup. I particularly prefer using the whole mung dal for a heartier Winter soup.

Serves 4

ingredients :

1 cup whole mung dal

8 cups filtered water

4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

3 whole cardamom pods (peeled and seeds crushed)

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

1 small plum tomato, finely chopped

1 – 2 Tblsp ghee/oil

1 dried chilli, torn in half

6 fresh curry leaves, optional

¼ tsp asafoetida powder, optional

juice of half a lemon, or more to taste

salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

handful fresh coriander, chopped

preparation:

Wash the mung dal in a bowl, swishing the grains in several changes of water until it runs clear.  Combine the mung dal, carrot, water, ginger, and cardamom pods in a large soup pot and bring to boil.  Reduce to a simmer, partly cover and cook until the mung dal are broken down and soft; anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.

In a small pan over moderate heat, dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds until golden and deeply fragrant.  Place in a mortar and pestle, and grind into a rough powder.  Add this to the mung dal with the chopped tomatoes and fresh coriander leaves.

To finish the dish, warm ghee/oil in a small pan, add the torn dried chilli pieces, fresh curry leaves and asafoetida powder, fry for thirty seconds, remove from heat and pour into the soup.  Season with salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon or more to taste.  I find the lemon juice and freshly ground pepper bring this soup together, so you may want to add more.  Drizzle with a little-melted ghee when serving.

This soup is great served with your favourite bread toasted and a bowl of guacamole or if trying to avoid bread make a pot of red rice or quinoa and serve a spoon in each bowl of soup.

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soothing split moong dal

9th July 2015

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precious evening twilight

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“Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, bears your signature.”

~Thich Nhat Hahn~
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soothing split moong dal

Serves 4 – 6

Inspired by our teacher, Ganapati Aarya

I have been making this a lot lately, sometimes as a soup or other times with rice and a simple palya. Drizzled with ghee, it is a complete soothing and cleansing meal.  This is a very healthy food article which is easy to digest. Can be used daily with dosa, chapati, rice and rotti. It is good for all constitutions. Can be used at any time of the day and at any season. Brings strength, balance along with calmness and quietness to the body and mind. Helpful to the elderly and due to its lightness can be used during a period of sickness. Supports the yogic practice.

I like to add thinly sliced cabbage or chuchu and grated carrot just towards the end of cooking.

ingredients :

1 cup moong dal split (split yellow lentils)

1½ litre / 6 cups water

1 heaped teaspoon rock salt 

1½ heaped tsp jaggery/brown sugar

¼ cup dried shredded coconut

1 heaped tsp finely chopped ginger

voggarane :

1 Tbsp  ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

1 medium red chilli

10 fresh/dried curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

juice of half a lemon or more to taste

¼ cup chopped fresh coriander 

preparation :

Place the dal, in a heavy saucepan and cover with water.  Swish the dal around with your hand, drain, repeat and rinse.  Do this four or five times until the water runs clear.  Pour the 1½  litres water into the pot with the dal.  Bring to boil over a medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer.  Simmer until creamy and the dal has broken down – approximately 30 – 40 minutes. 

If using a pressure-cooker, allow for three whistles before turning off the heat, then set aside for 20 minutes or until the pressure has subsided.

While waiting for the dal to cook, chop the chilli into three pieces and tear the curry leaves in half (this way everyone is guaranteed to consume a curry leaf and benefit from their medicinal properties).

When the dal has softened, add 1 heaped tsp salt, 1½ heaped tsp sugar/jaggery, ¼ cup dried coconut and 1 heaped tsp chopped ginger.  Simmer for 5 minutes more, then turn off the heat, cover and set aside.

prepare the voggarane:

In a small pan over medium heat, add 1 Tblsp ghee and ½ tsp mustard seeds.   When the seeds start to splutter and pop, turn down the heat and add 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds, ¼ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu), and the chopped red chilli.  Fry until sizzling and fragrant.  Add the curry leaves and ⅛ tsp turmeric powder and fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

Turn off the heat, then add to the cooked dal.   Stir in the lemon juice. With your hands, break up the fresh coriander and stir into the dal.  Check for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon if needed.

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healing vegetable broth & a morning nature walk

18th January 2015

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My walks these last few mornings have been under a slow, fuzzy, fizzling, falling drizzle of rain, cocooned warm and safe inside my jacket and hood. Yesterday it was particularly magical as I walked the familiar windy, cobbled stone road. I was walking in a thick blanket of fog which was imparting a feeling of magic, mystery and wonder. Today my walk was different again, it cleared, less windy, still cloudy except for a small patch of blue sky above. The colours were so clean and vibrant and below my feet walked on wet leaves.

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healing vegetable broth

inspired

A root and sea vegetable broth to boost your immune system, strengthen your kidneys and create an alkaline, mineral-rich drink to replenish your cells and to give a rest to your digestion.  I make it early morning to drink as a simple cleanse throughout the day.

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ingredients :

cup mung beans

4 sticks celery

1 medium fennel bulb and fronds

1 handful string beans

2 – 4 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 zucchini, coarsely chopped

1 small sweet potato, coarsely chopped

1 strip kombu (sea vegetable)

1-inch knob ginger, cut into slices

2 litres filter water

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch coriander

juice of half lemon

freshly ground pepper

preparation :

All vegetables should be organic and as fresh as possible.  Thoroughly wash, but do not peel the vegetables.  Cut them into large chunks and place in a heavy bottomed pot with the stick of kombu and ginger slices.  Cover with filtered clean water and simmer for 2 – 4 hours.  The longer you cook the broth, the richer and more flavourful it will be.  Ten minutes before turning off the heat, tie the bunches of parsley and coriander together and add to the broth.  This will impart added mineral ions.

Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and reserve for other uses. Strain and season with salt and pepper.  Serve each bowl with a squeeze of lemon, freshly grated ginger and turmeric and enjoy the warm healing replenishment to your body.

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vegetable barley & ginger soup with lemon thyme

7th December 2014

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A soup to warm your hands and to strengthen your courage…

We can do anything if we sit with intention, just holding it in our thoughts, our hearts and lifting it up with LOVE, LIGHT, JOY, PEACE and COURAGE.

There are no limits to what we can do…..try it!

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vegetable barley & ginger soup with lemon thyme

Serves 4 – 6

Inspired by Noa.

If I am out of home-made vegetable stock which I prefer without the addition of onion/garlic, I add the rind end of a wedge of parmesan – it adds a savoury, salty flavour to the soup.  This recipe also called for 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced – I tend not to eat mushrooms, so I left them out. But if you like the deep earthy flavour of mushrooms, add them to the soup with the vegetables.

ingredients :  

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 stalks (150g) celery

3 Tblsp (30g) fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 stick of kombu

1 fresh bay leaf

1 medium (300g) sweet potato or pumpkin

2 medium (170g) carrots

a large wedge cabbage (200g)

⅓ cup (70g) whole barley

10 cups (2½ L) vegetable stock or water

1 bunch (15g) lemon thyme

1 bunch each (30g each) fresh parsley and dill

Extra parsley, dill and chard/kale

2 tsp rock salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

preparation :

Finely chop the celery.  Set aside.

Wash and peel the remaining vegetables.  Cut into generous chunks so that they do not break up in the cooking.

In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the celery, ginger, turmeric, kombu and bay leaf. Saute until they are all coated.  Add the remaining vegetables, barley and pour in the water so that the vegetables are covered.  Tie up tightly the lemon thyme, parsley and dill and place on top. Bring to the boil and turn down the heat  – simmer covered for an hour.  Take out the tied bunch of lemon thyme, parsley and dill and discard. Add the salt and freshly ground pepper. Roughly chop a handful of fresh parsley, dill and chard/kale and stir this into the soup.  Using a potato masher, press down a few times to break up the vegetables.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before tasting – adding extra seasoning where needed.   Serve with a drizzling of olive oil and extra cracked pepper.

Goodness shared from Stacey

golden cauliflower soup

9th November 2014

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on a windy day…..

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everything moves….

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golden cauliflower soup

Serves 4 – 6 

Inspired by ‘The Sivananda Yoga Cookbook’

This has very minimal ingredients but is surprisingly delicately flavourful.  I served it with a loaf of freshly baked bread, this beetroot salad (all finely chopped instead of grated) and this guacamole.

ingredients :

1 large cauliflower-approx 750g

1 Tblsp ghee

1 Tblsp cumin seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 potatoes/1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped -185g

4½ cups/1.5L boiling water

1 Tbspn unsweetened dried coconut, soaked in enough hot water to cover

salt and pepper

preparation  :

Break the cauliflower into small florets and chop stalks. Set aside.  Melt the ghee in a large pan.  Add the cumin seeds and toast 1 minute, or until you smell the aroma.  Lower the heat, add the stalks and cauliflower pieces and turmeric, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring well to make sure the florets are coated with turmeric.  Remove half the florets with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the potatoes and boiling water to the pan, and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.  Cool slightly, then puree the soup in a food processor or a hand immersion blender, until smooth.  Return it to the pan, stir in the coconut and its soaking water.  Add the reserved cauliflower florets and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes longer.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve drizzled with ghee and a sprinkling of turmeric and freshly ground cumin.

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ribollita

30th December 2012

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listen carefully

to

your

body and mind

and you will always

hear

it

speak.

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ribollita

Many, many versions of this soup.  My version replaces the bread with whole barley, red or wild rice. Traditionally, ribollita uses cavelo nero kale – a beautiful black cabbage.  I use a combination of savoy cabbage, kale, spinach or chard.  I have been making this soup on these cold and drippy days.  It sits on the stove and we go back and forth,  filling our bowls, our tummies and warming our hands.  

Also, allow this dish to guide you.   Patience, gentle and respectful cooking results in a dish that is more flavourful and it calms and soothes the mind and emotions while renewing the body.

Serves 4, with second helpings

ingredients :

1 cup dried cannellini beans\chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight  (I keep pre-soaked beans in the freezer ready to use)

3 Tblsp oil/ghee

½ dried chilli, crumbled

small handful fresh sage

5 cm sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs lemon thyme

2 bay leaves

2 sticks celery, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 potato, peeled and diced

1 small white cabbage, shredded

¼ cup barley, rinsed

8 cups water/ vegetable stock

1 cup finely chopped cherry tomatoes (or tin good-quality peeled tomatoes)

2 Tblsp tomato paste

bunch of cavelo nero kale, thick stalks removed, roughly chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil, to serve

preparation :

Drain the beans and place them in a heavy-based saucepan.  Generously cover with water, add a pinch of baking soda and simmer over a low heat for an hour.

Meanwhile….

Heat the ghee or oil in a large cooking pot over a low heat.  Add the dried chilli, bay leaves,  fresh sage, rosemary and thyme.  Cook for a couple of minutes to allow the flavours to open up.

Add the celery, carrots, potato, and barley/rice.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable stock.  Cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.

Stir in the beans/chickpeas, cover and cook for an hour or more, adding water if needed until the vegetables and beans are really soft.  Add a generous pinch of salt and a few good grindings of black pepper.

Remove from heat and allow to sit for an hour to improve the flavours.  Reheat and stir in the kale.

Ladle into warm bowls and generously drizzle with a bright green, rich, peppery olive oil.

slow down and savour this dish

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 Goodness shared from Stacey

green pea & yellow lentil coconut curry soup

6th June 2012

in the spirit of change and acceptance

feeling the need to be quiet and introverted, completely lost in my own meandering thoughts.

I thought I woke up to rain this morning, but it was just the wind in the trees.

green pea & yellow lentil coconut curry soup

This soup does thicken up so you may have to add a little more water or coconut milk to thin out the soup as you reheat it.

Inspired by Green Lentil Soup in ‘Super Natural Everyday’ with a few Goodness is ism’s

ingredients :

½ cup toor dal/yellow lentils

½ cup green split peas

2 – 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

 4 cups water

3 Tblsp ghee/butter/oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

6 fresh curry leaves (optional)

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1½ tsp Indian curry powder, or more to taste

½ cup coconut milk

1½ tsp rock salt, or to taste

1 tsp brown sugar/jaggery (optional)

fresh coriander

preparation :

Rinse the dal and place in a medium soup pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring to boiling, and turn down heat to a soft simmering for 2o minutes.  Add the carrots and simmer for another 20 minutes, until the dal is tender.

In the meantime, warm the ghee/butter in a small saucepan.  When hot, add the mustard seeds.  Wait for them to sputter and pop and add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, red pepper flakes and curry powder.  Turn off heat and put to the side.

When the dal has finished cooking, remove from heat, stir in the coconut milk, salt and if using jaggery, and puree with an immersion blender (or if you have no electricity, like me at the moment, a potato masher will work fine).  You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until smooth.  Stir in half the spiced ghee/butter, and add more salt if needed.  Serve drizzled with the remaining spiced ghee and sprinkle with fresh coriander.  Wonderful served with red rice.

Goodness shared from Stacey

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