carrot, chilli and red lentil soup

serves 4-6, hands-on time 30 min, simmering time 45-60 min

MAKE AHEAD. Make up to 48 hours in advance and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Reheat in a pan over a gentle heat. This makes more than needed for a starter but you can freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months in a sealed container.

FOOD TEAM'S TIPS If you like your food spicy hot, chop another ½ fresh chilli and add it to the pan, with the seeds, in step 1.
Curry leaves are available fresh from some Asian grocers and dried from the spice section of large supermarkets.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, chopped (see tip)
1 ½ tbsp mild curry powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
750g carrots, cut into rough 2cm pieces
100g dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
Juice 1 lemon
Fried curry leaves, fried garlic slices, fried shredded ginger, time wedges and roti bread (optional) to serve

1 Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli, then cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened. Add the curry powder and tomato purée, then cook for 1 minute more or until fragrant.

2 Add the carrots and lentils. Stir, then add the tomatoes, stock and 1 titre water. Season and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes until the carrots are tender to the point of a knife.

3 Cool slightly, then blend using a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice. Serve the soup with curry leaves, garlic, ginger, lime wedges and roti, if you like.

PER SERVING (FOR 6) 166kcals, 3.4g fat (0.4g saturated), 7.3g protein, 22.7g carbs (12.1g sugars), 1.2g salt, 7.8g fibre