I woke up with a sore throat today, and I haven’t felt like eating very much. When I’m sick the only thing I want to eat is soup. Chicken soup is great, but when I want something heavier I make Dhal soup. Dhal (or Dal) is a traditional Indian dish that is made by simmering lentils with spices, and it is often served over Basmati rice. This dish is popular with vegetarians because the combination of lentils (a legume) and rice (a grain) creates a source of complete protein.
I like to drink Dhal from a mug (my own version of cup-of-soup), and I’ve been drinking it that way since I was old enough to hold a cup. My theory is that by drinking it in a mug, I can bring all that wonderful soup closer to my nose and inhale the delicious steam that rises off the top.
There is no single way to make dhal as the recipes vary from region to region. Some people add curry powder, mustard seeds and carrots, and others add butter, saffron and pimento. In my family, we turn this dish into a hearty soup by adding chewy flour dumplings. I use grape seed oil instead of butter (to cut down on the fat), add I finish the dish with a fragrant cumin oil.
Cumin, also known as Geera, is a key ingredient in this dish. It adds a warm earthy flavour that can’t be replicated by any other spice. It’s also great in chilli and stews, so if you don’t have any at home be sure to grab some from the grocery soon.
This thick comforting soup is inexpensive to make, and is full of good-for-you ingredients too. I ate this frequently while I was on my elimination diet. If you’re looking for a dish that is full of flavour and will fill you up, try making this soup. And let me know how it goes!