Spiced Carrot & Lentil Soup with Dukkah

I am a big fan of soup. I make it all the time, probably because it is such an easy and gratifying way to get in a big helping of vegetables.

To avoid any soupy boredom I’m always on the lookout for little ways to perk up my steaming bowls of soup. A few years ago I came across dukkah, which is now one of my favourite ways to boost a simple soup, salad or dip.

Dukkah is an Egyptian mix of nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. There are loads of different versions of this, some use pistachios, others hazelnuts. I’ve tried one with fennel seeds and another with coconut.

I tend to stick with this version, however, as I usually have the ingredients in the cupboard. The thing is you can adapt this to suit the nuts and seeds that you happen to have at home and in doing so invent your own unique mixture.

I believe the North Africans grind up this delicious treat to serve with oil as a dip with flatbreads and veg. You could even scatter it atop a delicious houmous for some welcome crunchy texture.

I should probably have dedicated this whole post to dukkah but let’s not forget the soup here. Lightly spiced, silky smooth with a gently sweetness from the carrots this is truly scrumptious in its own right. But scatter over your freshly roasted dukkah and you have a dish worthy of a place in the soup hall of fame.

Spiced CArrot & Lentil Soup with Dukkah

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 600g carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • About 2cm of fresh ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 3 generous handfuls of red lentils
  • 2 stock cubes – make up 1 litre of hot stock

For the Dukkah

  • 40g almonds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of thyme

Method

  1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in your pan and fry the onion, carrots, garlic, ginger and spices gently for about 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
  • Tip in the lentils, pour over the hot stock and simmer, with a lid on your pan, for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. If, during cooking, your soup looks a bit dry just add more water or stock.
  • Once the carrots and lentils are nice and tender, blend the soup until beautifully smooth.
  • Meanwhile, heat your oven to gas 4 / 180C.  Spread your nutty seed mix on a baking tray and roast for about 8 minutes.  Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn and be sure to give the pan a shake half way through.
  • Remove the Dukkah from the oven and sprinkle over 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Now you simply want to break down the nuts a little.  So you can either bash in a pestle and mortar, grind in a blender or just give it all a rough chop on a chopping board.  Just be careful not to over process it as the nuts will release their oil and the mix will turn into a paste.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and liberally scatter the Dukkah over each bowl before diving in to this taste sensation.

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