1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup Urid dal (the split white lentils)
2 beef stock cubes (I use Kallo stock cubes)
1 ltr boiling water
1 tbsp dark soy sauce (to taste)
Cut off the tough bit of the leeks, then half longways and shred. Rinse any grit out. Rinse the tomatoes and cut in half (if you use bigger tomatoes, cut to the same sort of size; size is very important for the final texture). In a large pan, gently heat the oil and add the leeks. When they start to sizzle, add the tomatoes, dal, stock cubes and water.
Leave to simmer for an hour or so. Check occasionally that there is enough water covering everything. If not, add more. Taste to see how done the lentils are. Add the soy sauce if you think it could be a little more salty. Leave to simmer for another half an hour if you can wait that long! It should be thick, but there should be enough liquid to make it soupy. The lentils will retain some bite without being hard.
This soup is amazingly delicious and needs to be served chunky, not blended. The small hits of tomato in the salty, beefy broth teemed with the creamy lentils makes a truly wonderful combination; great to take to work as a cheap and warming winter lunch. I made up this soup as the white lentils I had bought for making masala dosa were nearing their use-by date and I happened to have some leeks and tomatoes in the fridge. I now buy them specifically for this as it is so good.
NB I get these lentils from our local shop over the road which has Indian ingredients, but you can get them in the ‘world’ section of supermarkets. The packets look like this.