Any opportunity to make a one pot, six taste meal, we are all about it. In an era, where time is of the essence, even for those of us who love to cook, having a quick, easy recipe makes life a little easier. One of our favorites is a simple red lentil soup or dal. Readily available, red lentils adapt well to an array of spices, herbs grains, and vegetables. Served thick and creamy or light and soupy, these fiery orange pulses are a tasty source of plant-based protein. Stir in a fresh moringa leaves to the pot for a nutrient boost, a gentle cleansing action and another source of protein, amino acids, and iron.
Taking an ol’ favorite, Simply Delicious Tangy Masoor Dal in 30 minutes, as inspiration. This variation includes a green, fresh moringa leaves and calls for amchur, green mango powder. Fresh moringa leaves fall under the bitter taste in Ayurveda, however, the leaves have a delicate and subtle taste. Cooking up like any other leafy green, while the gentle cleansing benefits from bitter (earth + air) still remain.
Amchoor, coming from the Hindi word for aam (mango), is derived from keri (green mango). An early summer, emerald green fruit with a pale yellow earthy goodness on the inside. Unlike mango, keri is hard and sour. Commonly used to make achaars, non-vinegar based pickles. Keri, like turmeric and ginger, is also dried in the sun to make amchoor powder. Generally speaking, it is a South Asian pantry staple. Used to bring the sour taste to meals and commonly used in chaat, South Asian, snack/street food.
Ayurveda + Moringa
Moringa is referred to as sigru in Bhava Prakash (16th century canonical textbook of Ayurveda). Meaning it moves like an arrow. Quickly absorbing, supporting and detoxifying the blood and fat tissues. Moringa also can deeply penetrate into the tissues, including the bone marrow, one of the seven tissues in Ayurveda. Rich in calcium, vitamin c, & iron, moringa leaves come from a tree also referred to as the drumstick tree. Drumsticks are the long edible and nutritious pods, commonly found in sambhar. A spicy lentil soup served alongside dosa.
With a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, according to the research paper published by the California College of Ayurveda. Moringa has seventeen amino acids, surpassing the quantity found in meat. Taste wise, moringa is considered pungent and bitter. Primarily encompassing the elements of air, fire, and earth. With a heating energy. Moringa has light, fluid, dry and sharp qualities, making it an excellent green or herb to pacify the heavy, wet, sluggish and static qualities of kapha dosha. An anti-bacterial and fungal, these delicate leaves have a mild taste. Hard to believe they are nutrient rich with amazing medicinal benefits. I guess it shows, you don’t have to flaunt it if you got it!
Notes: eating fresh moringa versus taking a moringa as a supplement are two different ways of consumption. With moringa’s sharp & dry qualities, consider consulting with an Ayurveda Practioner or Vadiya (Ayurveda Physician) who has in-depth knowledge on how moringa will engage with your current constitutional state.
Moringa & Amchur Red Lentil Coconut Soup
Season: Late Summer, Early Fall
Qualities: Light, Warm, Moist
Tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter
What you need: a blender or hand blender
- 1/2 cup split red lentils (soaked for 20 mins)
- 3 cups water
- 1-inch ginger piece (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 -1 tsp amchoor powder*
- 3-4 cilantro stems with leaves roughly chopped
- 1/2 serrano green chili seeded and chopped (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 cup moringa leaves (washed)
- 2 T shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- 1 T ghee or coconut oil
- 1/8 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 4-5 curry leaves (nice to have)
- 1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro
1. Rinse and soak lentils for a minimum of 20 minutes to overnight. This helps speed up the cook time and aids digestion.
2. In a heavy bottom, medium size soup pot, bring water and lentils to boil over medium-high heat. As the water begins to heat, white foam will appear on top. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, skim off the foam. This also helps with digestions. Then add ginger, turmeric, amchoor, cilantro stems, and green chili. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the red lentils being to break down. Then remove from heat and blend for a smoother creamier consistency.
3. Return pot to stove, over low heat and add in coconut, moringa, and salt. Add warm water at this time, if needed to adjust the consistency. Cover and let simmer.
4. In the meantime, in a small pot or frying pan, add warm ghee or coconut oil over medium heat. When oil appears warm, add 1 mustard seed to test the temperature. If it begins to sizzle its the right temperature if it pops out its too hot. When the oil is at a sizzling temperature, add the mustard seeds. Cook until they begin to gently crackle., then add in the cumin seeds. Let the cumin toast up and become fragrant. Then add in curry leaves and turn off the stove. Immediately adding the spices to the pot of simmering soup.
5 Let the soup continue to simmer until the moringa leaves are cooked. From the time they were added to the pot until cook time is about 10-15 minutes. The tempered spices can be added in the middle of the cook time.
5. Taste and adjust salt, sour if needed. Add finely chopped cilantro, turn the stove off and keep cover until its time to serve.
*Notes from our test kitchen:
- Lemon or Lime can be substituted for amchoor
- Serve as a bowl of soup, over a grain, with a tasty slaw or achaar