Asparagus Dhal Soup with Mint Chutney

Sanjoo Malhotra
Serves Serves 4-6
Print recipe
  • Prep time 30 mins
  • Cook time 60 mins
  • Ready time 90 mins

There are over 50 varieties of dhal and this recipe can be used to make other variations using red or green lentils.

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For the Dhal

  • 500 g asparagus (remove the bottom, save the top for garnishing and chop the rest into very small pieces)
  • 300 g chana dhal (soaked)
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 chopped green chili
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon red chili
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • a splash of white cooking wine
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • salt
  • 100 g tamarind

For the Mint Chutney

  • 100 g chopped mint leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of ½ lemon,
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 300 ml crème fraîche
  • salt to taste


Method for the dhal:

Soak the chana dhal for about ½ an hour, rinse and drain the water.

In a separate soup pan add the chopped asparagus, potato pieces, lentils then add enough water to cover. Add cooking wine, cream and vegetable stock and bring to the boil with the lid on. Simmer with the lid on until the vegetables are soft and the lentils are mushy.

Dice the onions. Grate the garlic and ginger coarsely. In a frying pan, mix onion, garlic and ginger in a little olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft.

Add the spices and stir until the onions are browned. Add the tomatoes. After 3-4 minutes remove this mixture and add it to the broth in the soup pan. Let it cook together for 5 mins.

Mix the vegetables into a smooth puree. Add salt to taste.

Cover the tamarind in some warm water and after 10 mins squeeze out the juice,  using a sieve take out the juice. Add this carefully to the soup while tasting for tartness.

Tips: If the consistency is still too thick you can add a few drops of cream.

Garnish and serve with bread, rice and or salad.

Method for the chutney:

Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend for 3-4 minutes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put into a bowl and chill before serving.

Serve the topping on the soup and add fresh veggies at the top to garnish.


Additional notes

“Dhal is basic to many Indian dishes especially as it’s such a great source of protein. There are over 50 varieties of dhal and this recipe can be used to make other types of dhal using red or green lentils. Be creative with the toppings or veggies!”

Sanjoo Malhotra runs Meat Free Monday cookery classes through his Stockholm-based travel agency Out of the Box Travel, whose vision is “to be the leading travel agency for travellers seeking unique travel experiences”.