This soup is quick and easy to prepare and is one of my favorites. The red lentils (actually tiny orange lentils) turn a golden color when cooked and have a rich, buttery flavor. If you have the red lentils and spices on hand, this is a fine soup to prepare on a moments notice.

SERVES 4 AS A MAIN COURSE

1ВЅ cups red lentils

4 cups water

1 tablespoon oil

ВЅ teaspoon salt

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ВЅ-inch dice

4 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon turmeric

1ВЅ teaspoons ground cumin

1ВЅ teaspoons ground coriander

в…› teaspoon cayenne pepper

Additional butter

  1. Rinse the lentils in a strainer under cold running water. Pick them over and discard any stones, etc. Put them in a medium-size saucepan along with the water, oil, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally. (If a lot of foam rises to the surface, scoop it off with a spoon.)
  2. Add the diced potatoes and stir to blend.
  3. In a small skillet melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic, and all of the spices. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to get tender.
  4. Add to the soup, stir, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 more minutes. If the soup is too thick, thin with a little water.
  5. Taste to correct the seasoning. Serve with a small pat of butter on each serving.

NOTE: Although this soup is delicious if served immediately, it is more flavorful if prepared at least an hour before serving, then reheated.