(POSTED: June 7, 2010)

Red Lentil, Lemongrass and Coconut Soup

Red lentil, lemongrass and coconut soup    

For 4 (cooking time 40 minutes)

150g shallots, peeled and thin-sliced

2 tbsp vege oil

40g fresh ginger, knobbly bits trimmed off

2 lemongrass stalks

1 or 2 red chillis, diced

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

200g red lentils

½ tin of coconut milk, shaken

Lime and coriander for serving

Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a medium-sized heavy-based pan and gently fry the shallots. Wash your ginger and chop it up very finely.

Peel off the tough outer leaves from the lemongrass and cut off the fatter bottom quarter - the soft, fresher part. Slice these into quarters lengthways, and chop as thinly as you can.

When the shallots are soft and smelling sweet, chuck in the chillis, garlic and lemongrass. Turn the heat down, give it a good stir and stick a lid on it.

Cut the remaining stalks of lemongrass in half and tie them together with string. Add to your pan, stir and cover again. You want all these bits to soften but not colour so keep checking and stirring.

 After about five minutes stir in the lentils and give them a roll and a coat. Pour in 500ml of hot water and half a tin of coconut milk.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir every now and then for the 20 or so minutes the lentils take to cook.

Once they have gone mushy, season, if necessary add more hot water, pick out the lemongrass stalks and serve with lime and a sprig of coriander

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