Mulligatawny Soup - Madhur Jaffrey

Course : Curry
Serves: 5
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6 ounces red split lentils -- picked over, -- washed, and drained
2 pints chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 ounces potato
1 medium chicken breast boned and skinned, about 7 oz
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic -- peeled
1 piece fresh ginger -- peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 tablespoons plus
8 ounces water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation / Directions:

Combine the lentils, chicken stock, and turmeric in a heavy, medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Cover, leaving the lid just very slightly ajar, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. While the soup simmers, peel the potato and cut into 1/2 inch dice. When the soup has cooked for half an hour, add the cut potato to it. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar again, and continue the simmering for another 30 minutes. During this second simmering period, put the garlic and ginger into the container of an electric blender. Add 4 1/2 tablespoons water and blend until you have a smooth paste. Remove all fat from the chicken breast and cut it into 1/2 inch dice. Put the chicken in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and some black pepper over it. Toss to mix. Once the soup base has finished cooking, it needs to be pureed. I do this in a blender, in three batches. Put the pureed soup in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt to it and mix. Rinse and wipe out your soup pot. Pour the oil into it and set it over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, put in the garlic-ginger paste, the cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Fry, stirring continuously, until the spice mixture is slightly browned and separates from the oil. Put in the chicken pieces. Stir and fry another 2-3 minutes or until the chicken pieces turn quite opaque. Add 8 fl oz water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Pour in the pureed soup and the lemon Juice. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Taste the soup for seasonings. I usually add another teaspoon or so of lemon juice. Simmer the soup very gently for another 2 minutes. If it is too thick, you can always thin it out with a little chicken stock or water.

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