Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala Recipe


Well, it looks like it is still Winter. Make a big pot of this and snuggle under a blanket or something!

Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala
Adapted from the Spice House
2-1/2 cups dried red lentils (about one pound)
2 medium onions, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder,
1 1/2 tsp coriander seed, ground
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin seed, ground
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne chile pepper
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
6 cups lamb or chicken stock (or vegetable broth would work too)
2 cups water
Optional garnishes: yogurt and cilantro leaves


Rinse and drain lentils in a fine mesh colander.


Cook onions and garlic in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and spices and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 more minutes.


Stir in lentils, stock and water and simmer until lentils fall apart, about 30-40 minutes. (Old lentils may take longer to cook.)


Let soup cool slightly. I cook my lentils until they really fall apart, but if you want a smoother soup, let cool a few minutes and puree in a blender/use a stick blender and reheat before serving.


Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and fresh cilantro leaves.

The Unrelated Saga of Dr. Ladybug
About a month ago I found a ladybug in some thai basil I bought at HMart. I took it outside and let it go. Afterward I told jwa about how I rescued a ladybug and he was all, “Oh…it’s too cold. It’ll die.” I hurried outside and brought it back inside and fashioned out a swanky ladybug pad with a tupperware container and some plant leaves.


We named her/him Dr. Ladybug (after Dr. Girlfriend — kind of fitting), but s/he also answers to Dr. Mrs The Ladybug. Apparently, ladybugs will eat moistened raisins and like damp paper towels for water, for The Google told me so. We’ll release her next month or so when it’s warm enough outside.

5 Replies to “Red Lentil Soup with Garam Masala Recipe”

  1. This looks really good. If I just wanted to use garam masala mix, instead of all the separate spices, do you have any idea how much I should add? Thanks 🙂

  2. coincidentally, im eating spicy red lentil soup as im browsing your blog!
    having tried two spicing methods, i recommend trying this with ras al hanout and saffron instead of garam masala.

  3. Sarah: Hmmm….maybe add up the amounts and add that much! I do like using the separate spices though, that way you can use more of the spices you like (cumin!) and less of the ones you’re kinda ‘meh’ about (coriander)…
    Chris: that sounds good and interesting! 🙂
    Sara: Thank you! Quite honestly, I didn’t expect Dr. Ladybug to last this long…I’m starting to believe we will really get to release him/her next month!

  4. Because I had just another cup of lentils left, I added those and ended up using a total of 12 cups of broth – I did not alter the amount of spices (tho did saute more onion). Results were delicious, nice combo of spices to make up the garam masala. I had made a yogurt/cucumber/dill sauce for the falafel served as a side and added as a garnish. Would definitely make this again (and again!) Will try Chris’s suggestion of ras al hanout and saffron out of sheer curiosity.

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