Lentil & Bean Soup With Healthy Vegetables and an Assortment of Spices (AKA Sambar)

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This dish is called “Sambar” in the region of the world where it originates from (South East Asia), and it is a staple there. Sambar differs only in the choice of vegetables each time, giving it a nice variation in taste!

The ingredients in it nourish almost all the body systems. For example, the lentils used are called Toor dal or split pigeon peas, and they contain 32 grams of proteins per cup of lentils. The beans in the dish, called black chickpeas or kala chana in Southeastern Asian vernacular, contain 10.7g of proteins. Onions are great for the augmentative system. Tomatoes aid your cardio-vascular system. Cauliflower helps the brain or the nervous system! Potatoes that are fat free and have zero cholesterol contain complex and simple carbs, which are a great source of energy for the body! Carrots are very beneficial for the immune system and eyesight.

The beneficial medicinal Spices & Herbs: Coriander powder & Mustard seeds help with the digestive system, small green chilies benefit the reproductive system, garlic aids the lymphatic system, and cumin seeds are great for the digestive system.

Serves 4 People | Cook Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Beans & Lentils:
    • 1 Cup split pigeon peas
    • 1/2 cup black chickpeas (you can substitute with regular chickpeas),
  • Vegetables:
    • 1 cup potatoes, chopped to bite size
    • 1 to 1.5 cups cauliflower
    • 1 cup carrots
    • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
    • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced
    • 2-3 small green chilies, slit in middle.
  • Medicinal Spices and Herbs:
    • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
    • 2 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
    • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled (no need to crush)
    • 1/2 tsp. dried red chili powder (please adjust amount according to your level of “heat” you enjoy)
    • Coriander leaves, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. sesame seed oil (to roast digestive spices)

Cooking Process:

  1. Add washed lentils and beans to the pot. Add 3-4 cups of water, cover, and let it cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium-low. After 10 minutes, add garlic pods, turmeric powder, onions, tomatoes, and green chilies. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes, until lentils are of a smash-able consistency.
  3. Add the vegetables: carrots and potatoes. Stir, and after 5 minutes, add cauliflower. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Next, add coriander powder and red chili powder, and stir in thoroughly. Add more water if needed (depending on how thick or thin you want the soup to be – see notes below). Cover and let spices cook to flavor soup for 5-7 minutes. At this point, you can taste the soup to see how savory it is. If it tastes savory that means the flavors are well incorporated and its almost done.
  5. Reduce heat to low, add oil, cover, and let oil heat up for 2 minutes. Add the digestive spices: cumin & mustard. You can also add 1/2 tsp. of “hing” or asafetida (the spice Carmelo mentioned — has great digestive properties). Lightly “touch” the spices down so it can get coated with the oil. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Turn stove off, stir the pot to incorporate the spices into the soup, and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves!

Serve with rice, unleavened bread, couscous, or other grains; or serve by itself as soup.

Important notes on the recipe:

The amount of additional water you add depends on how you want to serve it: if serving with an accompaniment, you want it to be on the thicker side or, if by itself, then thinner. Also, keep in mind the soup thickens as it cools down: the consistency is not going be the way it looks when cooking, so add water accordingly. Now, we’re taking about 1-2 cups of variance in water, any more than that will dilute the taste.

This soup can be a great staple in your kitchen too: adding different vegetables makes it taste different each time. For example, if you want to strengthen your nervous system, I suggest adding Okra with Eggplant and Potatoes. Kale, Cauliflower, and Radish can be added to strengthen the thyroid. Search up vegetables that aid a certain system in the body and choose 3 veggies that you like from the list!

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