Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Spices

It’s not a dal, it’s not a traditional lentil soup.  It’s something in between.

Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Spices, adapted from Orangette

(side dish: roasted cauliflower)


  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme (I used about 3/4 tsp. dried thyme – to be honest, I just shook a little into the pot)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 c. (1 carton) vegetable or chicken stock (the Good Enough Gourmet buys organic chicken stock cartons in bulk at Costco, so that’s what I used)
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. French green lentils (I bought them from the bulk bins at Whole Foods; I’m sure it’s fine to use regular lentils if you can’t find the small French green ones)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • lime (optional)
  • Side Dish (if making): cauliflower


1) Rinse the lentils and look for stones.  (That’s what all lentil recipes say – I’m not sure I know what’s a stone and what’s a broken lentil, but I try my best.)

2) Measure all spices into a small bowl.

3) Chop onion and press garlic.

4) In a stock pot or dutch oven, add the butter and saute the onions and garlic.

5) While the onion is sauteing (and your cutting board is now empty), prepare your side dish.  In my case, I cut up cauliflower into florets, put them on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put them in the oven that I had preheated to 425 degrees.  I let the cauliflower roast for the time it took me to make the soup, tossing from time to time.

6) Add spices to the onion and garlic and cook for about a minute.

7) Add stock, water, lentils, and salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, and cook about 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

8) Add coconut milk.  The original recipe says to add 1 1/4 cup coconut milk.  But then you have so little left in the can!  Your choice is to put the rest in the refrigerator where it will remain until it goes bad, or to throw it away.  I just dumped the whole can in the soup.  Gild the lily, why not?  Cook for about 10 minutes.

9) The recipe suggested squeezing in a little lime.  I didn’t do this, but I recommend trying it.  The soup would have been good with a little acid to counteract the other flavors.


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