I want to marry this Coconut Lentil Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger. Sigh. It’s so incredible.
I remember the first time I had Tom Kha Gai, or Thai Coconut Chicken Soup. I could not get enough of it. The combination of flavors was utter perfection. I was making it at home several times a week for a long time because a) DELICIOUS, b) easy to make and c) DELICIOUS. And that’s how I feel about this vegetarian version I’ve come up with. It’s brilliant. And in case you needed further proof (some of you might) my husband loves it too. So do my kids. There might have been fighting over the last bowl…
We’ve made it several times since and every time it just gets better and better. For this version I added some cubed Thai pumpkin. Butternut would also work well. Fall is around the corner, so you can bet we’ll be making this by the gallon in a few months.
I used red lentils for the soup in these pictures. Other times I’ve used yellow split peas or other pulses I’ve picked up from the Indian market. Red lentils cook quickly, so the soup comes together in about 20 minutes. Other legumes will take quite a bit longer to cook. The slow cooker would be a great method if you’re using other legumes for this soup.
Note 01/29/15: I’ve used Gourmet Gardens lemongrass paste before, which isn’t technically vegan. Authentic Cambodian Lemongrass Paste (6oz jar) is another option I’d recommend. (affiliate link) Dried lemongrass can also be used. Homemade lemongrass paste is another great option.
- 2 cups red lentils (or yellow split peas), sorted and rinsed well
- 1 onion, diced
- 6-8 cups vegetable broth (can also use chicken broth or water), add less for a thicker soup
- 2 cups diced pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon lemongrass paste
- 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated (use a microplane)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh garlic
- 1 Tablespoon curry powder (or to taste, some powders and pastes are spicier than others)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or frozen (or strips of lime zest)
- salt, to taste
- a little sugar
- fresh cilantro, garnish
- sliced green onions, garnish
- sliced green or red Thai chiles, garnish
- hot cooked rice, for serving (optional)
- Place lentils, onion and vegetable broth in a 3-4 quart pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils start to soften, about 15-20 minutes. Add the diced squash, coconut milk, lemongrass paste, ginger, garlic, and kaffir lime leaves. Season well with salt, to taste. Bring back to a low simmer and cook until the lentils have completely broken down and squash is tender. Taste and adjust any seasonings as desired. Add a pinch of sugar.
- To serve, ladle soup over hot, cooked rice and garnish as desired.