I was recently in San Diego for the conference of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. I’ve always known San Diego is one of the healthiest cities in the country, but now I get why. They are some of the most active people in the country, and they make exercise fun! They also make healthy food taste delicious. I went to every health food restaurant that I could in the time that I was there. One of my last stops was the People’s Market of San Diego. It was there that I had a Zucchini Lentil Soup that I could not stop thinking about, so I realized I had to make my own. Whoever the genius was that made this soup needs to know – it was amazing.
Zucchinis are high in fiber and are generally a great way to help you feel full. This daal has a very high fiber content per serving. For this recipe, you will need a pressure or slow cooker and a blender.
2 cups Toor Daal (found in indian supermarkets)
1 quart water
1 can of diced tomatoes or 4 small whole tomatoes
1/2 a lemon
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp ginger garlic paste ( or a one inch piece of ginger and 3 cloves of garlic minced)
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 dried red chillis
2 tsp salt
To make the Zucchini Daal Soup, cut the zucchini into slices big enough to fit in your blender. Put the Toor Daal, zucchini water and tomatoes into the pressure cooker with the chilli powder, turmeric and salt. If you are using an indian pressure cooker, cook the mixture for 3 whistles. There is no great conversion for this to a standard American pressure cooker. Cooking for approximately 30 minutes will get you the result you need however. The daal is done when it looks like this:
Cooked Toor Daal
Uncooked Toor Daal looks like this:
When the pressure cooker contents are cooked, remove the zucchini and most of the daal from the pressure cooker and blend to desired chunkiness, then put it back into the pressure cooker. In a separate small pan, make the tadka. A hallmark of indian cooking is that the spices release their flavor into oil as they are heated. This spice mixture is called tadka. Heat the oil over a low to medium heat and add the remaining spices to this. When the black mustard seeds start to happily pop and sputter, the spices have cooked. Pour this fried spice mixture into the Zucchini Daal Soup and squeeze the half lemon into it. Mix together.
Optional: garnish with cilantro/coriander. Can add curry leaves to tadka.