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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Beluga Beauty Soup Recipe

Do you make impulse purchases? Sometimes when I buy things on impulse, I have no idea what to do with them. For example--black lentils. These tiny glistening little jewels are so pretty to look at, they might just call out to you too, if you saw them on the shelf.

Once I got home I looked through various cookbooks and online for recipes using these gems. What I learned was that black lentils are also called beluga lentils because they look like caviar. They are also more "meaty" flavored than other lentils. They hold their shape well and make good salads or soups. I didn't actually find that many recipes, though you can use them pretty much in place of an other type of lentil.

A big thanks to Cathy of My Little Kitchen for hosting Is My Blog Burning: Beans, giving me the perfect excuse to break open the bag of black lentils and create a new recipe. Combining a recipe from Judy Rogers of Zuni Cafe and an Indian curried soup, I came up with this quick and easy vegetarian soup that is very satisfying. I hope you like it too.

Beluga Beauty Soup


1 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch cayenne
1/2 cup diced sweet red and or yellow peppers
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 cup black "beluga" lentils
4 to 5 cups water
salt to taste


Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium-large pot. Add the spices and cook a few moments until fragrant. Add the peppers, onion and garlic. Continue cooking until the vegetables soften, about two minutes. Add one teaspoon of salt and four cups of water and the lentils and simmer covered over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Simmer uncovered for five minutes. Remove a half cup of lentils and mash, then return to pot. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or cayenne as desired. This soup is good just as it is but if you want to fancy it up you could garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and chopped chives.