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Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

Yellow+lentil+soup

I double bagged my socks today, and tossed my fleece in the dryer to warm it up before I put it on. It was a hot soup day if ever there was one.

So much Egypt in the news made me want to know more about their cuisine, and when I Googled it, up came a yellow lentil soup. Which as you may know, is right up my alley. I had just unearthed a bag of lentils from the depths of my cupboard – you know that one jammed with all manner of grains, beans, nuts, chocolate and dried fruit? Interspersed with some spices and packets of things that really don’t have a home anywhere else? And so I was happy to use it and decrease the surplus population.

The interesting thing about this soup is that the lentils and veg are simmered separately from the onions, which are caramelized and then not pureed with the rest of the soup. I’d have started with the onions, proceeded with the lentils, veg and stock, then pureed the lot. But I decided to try it this way. I may rebel and do it my way next time, if only to save one pot from being washed. Also – I found the pitas easier to toast in the oven than in a skillet, as was instructed. Either way.

Yellow+lentil+soup
Yellow+lentil+soup

Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

Recipe link

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February 18, 2011

Adapted from Epicurious, where it was adapted from Magda el-Mehdawy's book My Egyptian Grandmother's Kitchen. I imagine it would be just fine with red/orange lentils, too.

  • Makes: Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

canola or olive oil, for cooking

1 pita bread

1 lb dried yellow lentils

1 tomato, chopped

1 thin-skinned potato, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

1 tsp. salt

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 L beef stock or canned beef broth (or vegetable or onion stock for a vegetarian soup)

1 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Directions

1Brush a bit of oil on the pitas and cut them into strips; spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.

2In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add tomato, potato, carrot, and salt and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming any foam that forms on top. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a medium pot set over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for about 8 minutes, or until golden.

3Remove the lentil mixture from heat and purée using a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in the regular blender. Add to the onions along with the beef stock and cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, topped with the pita strips and parsley or cilantro.

Makes: Serves 4-6.
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12 comments on “Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

  1. Cathy N in Inglewood Calgary
    February 19, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Mmmmm… perfect for lunch on a bone chilling day! How do you think canned lentils would do in this recipe? (I am collecting recipes for our 6 month sailing trip through the South Pacific and although I will have dried lentils along we will also have more canned – to conserve water).

  2. Ellen
    February 19, 2011 at 7:35 am

    This looks so delicious!!!

  3. JulieVR
    February 19, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Cathy – I think canned lentils would do just fine, and PS – HOW COOL!!!

  4. Lesli
    February 19, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Cathy – I’m with Jule – How cool!

    Julie, I always use red lentils for my recipes. I’m going to try the yellow ones and see if they’re different in taste or texture. I think I’m with you and am leaning towards a one-pot soup :)

  5. Katharine
    February 19, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Looks devine! Gonna be on the menu tonight!

  6. Kalynskitchen
    February 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I’ve recently discovered the yellow lentils (mostly called yellow split peas in my stores) and I’m having fun experimenting with them. This sounds good and warming!

  7. Carol SB
    February 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Ah, miss Julie, you are always my go-to gal.
    Made short ribs last night (braised in an excellent red wine which reduced, with the carrots etc. to condensed deliciousness). So they were excellent, but I *really* made them so I could save one to use for DWJ’s grilled cheese with

    http://www.dinnerwithjulie.com/2008/10/21/day-295-grilled-cheese-with-pulled-beef-short-ribs/

    …with the Heritage classic. That was some hockey game! And perfect game food, with some pickled carrots and baby tomatoes.
    Thanks, Julie!

  8. Christina
    February 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Julie, I am usually a blog lurker but have to say, if there is an Egyptian dish to try making on the next cold weather day, try Koshary (or koshari).

    I just came back from a trip to Egypt, narrowly missing the protests. But as we were leaving Luxor, we requested that our bus stop at a well-known Koshary place called el zaeem. It was delicious! Essentially it’s like the Egyptian equivalent of spaghetti or KD – cheap and fast comfort food. A pilaf of seasoned mini pasta, lentils, rice, chickpeas, topped with tomato paste, lemon juice, hot sauce, and crispy fried onions.

    Hope I’ve piqued your curiosity!

  9. JulieVR
    February 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    OH YES!!!

  10. Deidre
    February 25, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Hi Julie!

    I am a big fan of your site. I just made this recipe last night, and it was really delicious! I am a vegetarian, so I am always on the lookout for delicious veg food that my omnivore boyfriend will also enjoy. This soup fit the bill!

    Also, I second Christina’s comment about koshary. I went to Egypt a few years ago, and koshary was hands down the best food that I encountered there.

  11. Mimi
    August 7, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Made this for lunch today and it got a seal of approval from my dad (who grew up eating food like this, and is one of those “it’s not how my mama made it” food critics). Hooray! I didn’t puree it at the end because it looked beautiful with some texture and color from the other veggies.

    Thanks for the recipe.

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