This delicious soup is a meal in itself, as it contains legumes and vegetables and is served with a yogurt sauce. Slices of whole-grain bread offered on the side would make the meal nutritionally complete.
The sauce that accompanies the soup is really a chutney, which may also be used to dress simply cooked vegetables, such as boiled potatoes, carrots, and peas, or diced and steamed zucchini.


• 2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
• 4 cloves
• 1 medium onion (about 6 oz), peeled and chopped
• 2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon peeled and crushed garlic
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ¼–¾ teaspoon nice red chili powder
• ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 cup masoor dal (red lentils), picked over, washed, and drained
• 1 medium potato (about 4 oz), peeled and diced
• Handful of fresh green cilantro tops
• 10–12 fresh curry leaves, lightly crushed in your hand
• 1½ cups chopped zucchini (or yellow squash)
• About 1¾ teaspoons salt


• 1 cup plain yogurt
• 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
• 1 packed cup fresh cilantro, leaves and small stems only
• 2 fresh hot green chilies, chopped
• ¼ teaspoon salt

1. Put the oil in a good-sized pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cloves and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry them, stirring, for about 6–7 minutes or until they just start to brown. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the ginger and garlic. Add the ground coriander, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric and stir for a minute. Now add 5 cups water, the masoor dal, potatoes, fresh cilantro, and curry leaves (take care, as these will splutter). Stir, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to very low, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.
2. Add the zucchini and salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover, lower the heat again, and cook for another 10 minutes. Set aside to cool a little.
3. Blend the soup finely in two batches. Return it to the pan and add 1 cup water or more to thin it to your liking. Reheat as and when needed.
4. To make the yogurt sauce: Put all the ingredients in a blender in the order listed and whiz until smooth. This sauce should be refrigerated if not used soon. Serve it cold or at room temperature, drizzled generously over the very hot soup. More sauce should be offered on the side.