This month’s JFI is hosted by lovely Ashwini at Food for Thought and has thought of a very interesting ingredient – Coconut. To be honest, I don’t use a lot of fresh coconut in my cooking. This is mainly because of lack of coconut breaking skills or special gadgets. I remember the very first time I bought a coconut, we went into a corner in our apartment parking lot for an undisturbed breaking ritual. For some reason, I feel all the surfaces in my apartment are too fragile for breaking the big nut.
I use grated coconut in most of the dishes and for recipes that call for fresh coconut, I usually soak the same in small amount of warm water for about 15-20 minutes. This soaked coconut tastes almost fresh.
My entry for this month’s Jihva for Ingredients is a Spiced Red Lentil and Coconut Soup. This recipe is from my “The Greatest ever Vegetarian Cookbook”, edited by Nicola Graimes. This soup is very hearty and a meal in itself (with chunks of warmed naan bread or thick slices of toast).
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and add the onions, chili, garlic and lemon grass. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions have softened, stirring occasionally.
Add the lentils and spices. Pour in the coconut milk and 900ml (3 3/4 cups) water, and stir. Bring to the boil, stir, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are soft and mushy.
Pour in the lime juice and add the spring onions and fresh coriander, reserving a little of each for the garnish. Season, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with the reserved spring onions and coriander.
This recipe is adapted from The Greatest Ever Vegetarian Cookbook, Edited by Nicola Graimes.