Golden Spice Soup
T his is the perfect meal to make when you’re pressed for time. Put the dal on to soak after lunch and it’s ready to cook by dinnertime. Otherwise it’s a “dump and go” soup, a full meal that you can prepare in one pot with a minimum of fuss. I prefer to use my Instant Pot, but you can easily use a stock pot on the stove. The directions for both are below.
The spices, saffron and cumin, give this soup a beautiful golden color. Chana dal, or split chickpeas, are a cross between chickpeas and lentils with a sweet and slightly nutty flavor. They’re smaller than standard chickpeas, but don’t let the small size fool you into thinking they’ll cook quickly or disintegrate into a creamy texture, the way many lentils and split peas do. Soaking them for at least 2 hours prior to cooking is essential. Chana dal can be found at an Indian grocery or online. If you don’t have access to the dal, an ordinary can of chickpeas will work okay.
- ½ cup chana dal (or one can of cooked chickpeas)
- ½ cup brown rice
- ½ all-purpose yellow onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 collard leaf (or kale) cut into a thin julienne
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon yellow miso
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 pinch of saffron threads, slightly crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups vegetable stock or water
Soak the dal in 1½ cups of water at least two hours prior to cooking. When you’re ready to cook, rinse the soaked dal and add it along with the rest of the ingredients to an 8 quart stock pot or the liner of your Instant Pot.
On the stovetop:
Bring the soup to a boil and simmer over a low heat until the chana dal is soft, 20-25 minutes.
In the Instant Pot:
Cook on manual for 12 minutes. Manually release the pressure.