The food at Redfern diner Kepos Street Kitchen and its sibling venue Kepos & Co is all about big Middle Eastern flavours drawn from owner Michael Rantissi’s childhood in Tel Aviv. This wholesome red-lentil soup, inspired by one of his mum’s recipes, taps into those same flavours, and is a quick and easy addition to your home-cooking repertoire. It’s also a wonderful panacea for these turbulent times, when squirrelling yourself away with a bowl of something warm and tasty is the most luxurious experience you can muster.
“According to my mum, this ‘healing’ soup has all the ingredients to make you feel happier and is good to eat when you aren’t feeling 100 per cent,” Rantissi tells Broadsheet. “She likes to leave her version quite textured, but I blend mine a little to get a smoother consistency.
“I also love making a richer version by adding two tablespoons of butter at the end. You can garnish this soup with croutons, shredded chicken or grated kashkaval cheese to make it fancier, but a sprinkle of parsley is just as good.”
Red lentil soup
Serves 8 to 10
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
4 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 carrots, grated
1 green zucchini, grated
2L chicken or vegetable stock
155g red lentils, washed and drained
55g short-grain white rice, washed and drained
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chilli flakes (optional)
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, but do not allow to colour. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes, then add the zucchini and cook for a further minute.
Add the stock, lentils and rice and bring to the boil. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and cook for 25–30 minutes, or until the lentils have disintegrated and the other ingredients are starting to break down.
Add the turmeric and cumin and cook for 5 minutes to balance out the flavours. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add chilli flakes if you like a bit more of a kick. Remove from the heat and blend to desired consistency (or leave as-is). Serve with parsley (or other garnish) sprinkled on top.
Want more recipes? The Broadsheet Cookbooks feature recipes from Australia's best restaurants, cafes and bars. Buy now at shop.broadsheet.com.au.