Makes 8 first-course or 4 main-course servings.
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 3 cups chopped onions (about 1 pound)
• 5 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 cups dried red lentils
• 8 cups vegetable stock
• 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 cups cooked basmati rice
• Lemon wedges
To make the soup:
Heat vegetable oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently about 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.
Add garam masala and next 4 ingredients; stir 1 minute.
Add lentils; stir until coated. Add stock.
Bring soup to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are very tender about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pot. Stir in coconut milk, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide rice among bowls. Pour soup over. Garnish with lemon wedges; serve.