A simplified spin on a Goan staple
Spicy Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Spinach

Spicy Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Spinach

1 hour 10 minutes active

4 to 6 Servings

Located on the southwestern coast of India, Goa is known for its use of chilies, spices, coconut and bright acid (an influence from Portuguese colonization). Split red lentils cook in minutes, making this a quick weeknight meal. Coriander, fennel and turmeric captured contribute complex spicing without requiring half the spice cabinet. Chili spice is tempered by coconut milk, and a shot of lime juice cut through the legume's starch. Early and late additions of fresh ginger added welcome brightness and kept flavors vibrant; a wand-style grater was best for grating. If you can’t find ground fennel, grind fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle or a clean spice grinder. Both virgin and refined coconut oil worked, as did yellow and brown mustard seeds. 

Ingredients

  • 1

    onion, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 2

    tablespoons coconut or peanut oil

  • 4

    garlic cloves, smashed

  • Kosher salt

  • 1

    tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 2

    teaspoons mustard seeds

  • 2

    teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 1

    teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1

    teaspoon ground fennel

  • ¾

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • cups water

  • 1

    (14-ounce) can coconut milk

  • 1

    cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over

  • 6

    ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups), roughly chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice

  • Unsweetened coconut flakes, to garnish (optional)

  • Chopped tomato, to garnish (optional)

Spicy Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Spinach

Get Ready to Cook

4 to 6

Servings

1 hour

10 minutes active

Tip

Don’t substitute brown or green lentils for the split red lentils in this dish. Red lentils break down as they cook, thickening the cooking liquid and providing the ideal texture for this hearty soup. Other lentil varieties remain intact even when fully cooked.

Ingredients

  • 1

    onion, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 2

    tablespoons coconut or peanut oil

  • 4

    garlic cloves, smashed

  • Kosher salt

  • 1

    tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 2

    teaspoons mustard seeds

  • 2

    teaspoons ground turmeric

  • 1

    teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1

    teaspoon ground fennel

  • ¾

    teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • cups water

  • 1

    (14-ounce) can coconut milk

  • 1

    cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over

  • 6

    ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups), roughly chopped

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice

  • Unsweetened coconut flakes, to garnish (optional)

  • Chopped tomato, to garnish (optional)

Step 1 of 3

Cook the aromatics

1
onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2
tablespoons coconut or peanut oil
4
garlic cloves, smashed
teaspoons of kosher salt.
2
teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2
teaspoons mustard seeds
2
teaspoons ground turmeric
1
teaspoon ground coriander
1
teaspoon ground fennel
¾
teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large saucepan, combine the onion, oil, garlic and 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt.


Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and are just beginning to color, 7 to 9 minutes. 


Stir in 2 teaspoons of ginger, the mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, fennel and pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Step 2 of 3

Add and cook the liquid and lentils

cups water
1
(14-ounce) can coconut milk
1
cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over

Add the water, coconut milk and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the lentils have broken down, 30 to 40 minutes.

Step 3 of 3

Finish the soup

6
ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups), roughly chopped
1
teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2
tablespoons lime juice
Unsweetened coconut flakes, to garnish (optional)
Chopped tomato, to garnish (optional)

Stir in the spinach and return to a simmer.


Off the heat, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of ginger and the lime juice and season with kosher salt to taste.


Serve, garnished with coconut flakes and tomato, if using.

Milk Street Bowtie Logo

Done!

Did you enjoy this recipe?

Still hungry?

See more recipes