Lentil soup is childhood memories to Dearborn. A city in Michigan which has every kind of Middle Eastern restaurant you could think of.
More than Dearborn this soup reminds me of a near and dear friend who used to be my neighbor when I lived in Pennsylvania. Her lentil soup was like no other and one I absolutely LOVED.
Here's my take on a Mediterranean classic which is a favorite not just because it's good but because it brings back memories of being in Hershey with a beautiful friend.
For this recipe you will need "Arab 7 Spice" also referred to as "Shawarma Spice." It's the Mediterranean version of "Garam Masala" a mixture of aromatic spices to enhance the fragrance of this soup. You don't necessarily have to go out and buy these spices. You can make your own 7 Spice mixture at home.
7 spice: 2 tbsp ground black pepper 2 tbsp paprika 2 tbsp ground cumin 1 tbsp ground coriander 1 tbsp ground cloves 1 tbsp ground nutmeg 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 1⁄2 tbsp ground cardamom
Just mix these spices together and keep them in an airtight container ready to use for soups, marinating chicken and more. You can use 7 Spice for my Chicken Shawarma Casserole as well and my NYC Style Halal Cart in place of the "Shawarma Spice."
8 to 10 cups chicken stock (or water) 2 1/4 cup red lentils (masoor daal) Salt/pepper 1/2 Large Onion (chopped) 1 Carrot (chopped) 2 to 3 Cloves Garlic (chopped)
2-3 tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp Turmeric 1 tsp Cumin Powder 1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder 1 tsp Arab 7 Spice 1 lg Lemon, freshly squeezed Handful of cilantro (chopped)
1 Chicken Breast (boiled/shredded) optional -Soak lentils in water for 10 to 15 mins and set aside. - Sauté garlic, onions and carrots in oil in a pot until onions are translucent and veggies are tender.
-Throw in zucchini and spices and give it a mix.
-Now add your soaked, drained lentils and give it another mix. -Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
-Once they come to a boil put on med/low heat and cover and cook for 20 mins.
- Using a hand blender, blend the soup carefully to purée all the veggies and have a smooth soup texture.
-Check for salt.
-Now add your shredded chicken and cook on low for another 10 minutes covered. -Add cilantro and lemon juice before serving, and enjoy!
**To make it in a slow cooker, just add all ingredients and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir halfway through. 30 mins before serving add your cilantro, fresh lemon juice and shredded chicken.
Serve it with a nice salad or delicious Persian Koobideh Kabobs and enjoy!