I miss Dubai! Today especially I miss the amazing food I used to eat there. Most of all I miss Ramadan and the lavish buffet at some of the best Arab restaurants. I'd always start Iftar with a bowl of hot lentil soup served with pita croutons and lemon wedges.
Last time I was there I dined at my favourite Lebanese restaurant, Kan Zaman, in the Heritage Village by Dubai Creek and enjoyed their amazing creamy lentil soup in an authentic Middle Eastern ambiance. At night the restaurant offers breathtaking views of the city and, when weather allows, dining outside in the sweet smell of apple-scented shisha while watching the dhows and abras cross the creek is an extraordinary experience.
I needed something today to remind me of the wonderful time I spent in Dubai and so I tried to recreate this famous dish. The heartwarming soup is perfect on a cold winter day. Some soups have magical powers and this one is no exception. It can easily lift your spirits, brighten up the day and soothe the soul. Easy to make, rich and nutritious, this delicious lentil soup is the ultimate comfort food and I recommend it with all my heart.
Creamy Lentil Soup
- 1 cup red lentils (the cup measures 300 ml)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 vegetable stock cube
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch asafoetida
- 1 bay leaf
- salt to taste (I added 1 1/2 tsp)
- juice of 1 medium lemon
Put the lentils in a bowl. Thoroughly rinse them in water until the water runs clean. Cover the lentils with fresh water, about 1 cm above their level and leave for 30 minutes. Most of the water will be absorbed. Don't drain.
In a pot heat the oil on medium, add the cumin seeds and let them splatter. Add the onion and sauté for a couple of minutes to soften (sautéing the onion before boiling gives the soup a richer flavour).
Add the rest of the ingredients except lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the lentils are soft. Remove the bay leaf and blend until smooth using a hand blender (if you're using a table top one, blend small amounts at a time to avoid pressure forming).
Turn the heat off, leave for 5 minutes and add the lemon juice. Serve hot with pita croutons.
There are two ways to make the croutons: cut the pita bread into 1.5 cm (0.6") pieces and
- place them on a baking tray and bake at 350°F (180°C) for a few minutes until golden brown
- deep fry them until golden brown and remove on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Enjoy this aromatic, hearty soup and spread the magic:)
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