Indian red lentil soup

I love this soup, not only for its flavor, but because it is so easy to make. I have made it many times while on motorcycle camping trips. The ingredients don't take up much room, and a big bowl of hot and spicy soup is just the thing after 400 miles in the saddle.

1 cup red lentils
5 cups water
1 tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp. each: turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder
1 tbsp. finely grated (or chopped) ginger
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 tsp. hot green chile, minced (adjust to taste)
pinch of hing (asafoetida)
juice of 1/2 lime

Wash the lentils and drain; set aside. Boil the water and add the lentils. After the water starts to boil again, cook the dal uncovered for five minutes. Then turn the heat down to moderate, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. Next, add the salt, the powdered spices, ginger root, and minced chile. Cook for another ten minutes until the lentils are quite soft. You may use a whisk to break down the beans at this point. Cook the dal over low heat while preparing the vaghar. Add the hing and the vaghar to the dal and quickly cover the pot. Turn off the heat. Keep covered for at least five minutes; this will allow the hot oil to settle on the surface of the dal, leaving a spicy veneer. Then uncover, add the lime juice, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve with chopped cilantro.

Recipe taken from "Flavors of India: Vegetarian Indian Cuisine" by Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, Book Publishing Company, ISBN 1-57067-023-4

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