The Indian antecedent to my favorite soup, mulligatawny, likely was a thin, spicy lentil broth. The British thickened it, added meat, but, thankfully, kept the glorious Indian spices. —Madhur Jaffrey, author of Curry Nation (Ebury, 2012)
9 tbsp. unsalted butter 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper (optional) ½ tsp. cumin seeds ½ tsp. coriander seeds ½ tsp. black mustard seeds 2 dried chiles de arbol 1 plum tomato, minced 3 tbsp. minced ginger 6 cloves garlic, minced 1 large yellow onion, minced ½ jalapeño, minced ¼ cup flour 1 tbsp. ground coriander 2 tsp. ground cumin 1½ tsp. ground turmeric 9 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock 1¾ cups red lentils 3 tbsp. minced cilantro 1 cup canned coconut milk ¼ fresh lemon juice Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Plain yogurt, to garnish
Cook 5 tbsp. butter, Aleppo, cumin, coriander, mustard, chiles, and tomato in an 8" skillet over high heat until fragrant; set sauce aside. Heat remaining butter in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, onion, and jalapeño; cook until browned, 15 minutes. Add flour, coriander, cumin, and turmeric; cook until smooth, 2 minutes. Add stock and lentils; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tender, 45 minutes. Add cilantro; purée. Add coconut milk, juice, salt, and pepper; divide among bowls. Garnish with sauce and yogurt. Serves 4–6.