I woke up this morning to find a day filled with autumnal light, clear blue skies and a crisp wind. Beautiful and nostalgic as I always find autumn to be. Although a long deep winter is ahead, there is nothing more special than this time of year. I thought, how appropriate to make a hot and spicy soup for lunch. I felt like something fresh and round in flavour with noodles to add substance. This recipe I have adapted quite dramatically from 'New Year Noodle Soup', listed on 101 Cookbooks, which is packed with pulses and a decadent topping. I have drawn inspiration from the use of chinese noodles in combination with curry flavours, I found the idea of this match rather exciting. I'm not particularly hell bent on being a purist and sometimes a mix up leads to wonderful things. This is a bowl of pleasure.
My recipe is very simple and has only a few ingredients at its heart. I have used red lentils as the only pulse, in a rich curried broth poured over chinese noodles and topped with yoghurt to relax the heat. As ever, adjust the quantities to suit your taste, play around with different spice combinations too. The main aim is to have a broth that is rich, hot, spicy and a little sour. Adding spinach and fresh coriander gives added depth and complexity. I really love this soup, it's easy, its interesting and it warms the deepest part of you.
Recipe (serves 4)
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds
an inch of fresh ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 large shallot, sliced length ways
half a cup red lentils
1 Lt good vegetable or chicken stock
500g baby spinach
small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
250g medium egg noodles
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Cook noodles as directed, drain and rinse in cold water. Add a touch of oil to stop them sticking. Set aside. In a medium saucepan saute shallot, garlic, chilli, fennel seeds and ginger until lightly golden. Add curry spices and fry until their aroma is released. Add lentils, stock and juice of the lime. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add extra water if the broth seems too thick. Add spinach and coriander, simmer until heated through. You can now either add the noodles to the broth and heat them up or pour the broth over noodles in serving bowls. Serve with yoghurt and an extra squeeze of lime.