Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coconut Macaroon Tart for Just Making Noise

I was hesitant at first to do a guest post for Marillyn’s blog Just Making Noise. But I did say yes to her invitation to become her first guest blogger for her Sweet Wholesome Wednesday.

Please stop by at Just Making Nose to check my guest post and recipe. While you’re already on the site, I encourage you to explore Marillyn’s blog as she has great wholesome recipes made with whole, real and nourishing ingredients and preparations.

Mare, thank you so much for having me as your guest. It's an honor. Until next time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dark Chocolate Truffle Mochi

I had this idea of making mochi with dark chocolate truffles many months ago. I always have a good idea but someone else conceives it later on. It happens all the time. I do have a great plan which always ends up being done by somebody else. But different flavors of mochi are available in Japan for many years now, so there’s nothing new with what I’m doing. There’s this baker’s fair at the Powerplant Mall and I was able to taste a sample of mochi with Belgian chocolate truffle by Dezato Café. But despite of that, I will still make my own chocolate mochi to be enjoyed here at home.

After making a few batches of a traditional daifuku, I am all set to try new flavors and I want to start with chocolate truffles. These truffles are easy to make because they are directly coated with cocoa powder instead of smothering them first with some tempered melted chocolate. Although you can always do that if you like but I find it’s not necessary for this mochi. I’m making a basic chocolate ganache and if you want to add other flavorings, go ahead.

Shaping truffles in the middle of the heat most especially in a warm kitchen is a pain to do so I always dip my hands in iced water, pat my hands dry and shape the truffles. I do that several times, otherwise the chocolate will really melt in my warm hands. I also do them in batches, chilling the chocolate mixture again before proceeding to shape the truffles.

Make sure that the truffles are well chilled before wrapping with the mochi dough. Actually, I allow the dough to rest after flattening and dividing it or else the truffle will just melt very quickly. The dough is still easy to manage. Since I live in a tropical country with very warm weather, I chill the mochi in the fridge before eating them.

When you’re not eating them right away, store them in containers and then into a cool, dry place like the coolest room in your house. Any type of mochi, including the daifuku is quite fragile to handle because aside from having a very short storage time, you have to handle them with care. They taste better when you eat them on the same day they are made. But food safety should be kept in mind. We’re working with glutinous rice flour and they could become rancid quite quickly. But I doubt that someone making mochi would actually save some for tomorrow. But if you are unable to finish the whole batch of mochi, you can always refrigerate them. But they are best consumed within 2 days.

The only thing that I'm not satisfied is how the mochi balls are not properly coated with the cocoa powder. Dusting the mochi balls with cocoa powder that way after shaping them doesn’t give them the best visual appeal. So, brushing off the excess cornstarch would definitely be a great idea and lightly moistening the finished chocolate mochi with a little bit of water will also help allow the cocoa powder to adhere much better. But I didn't do that. I just coat it well with the cocoa. But they do definitely taste great. Just be careful when eating them, they are quite addictive.

Dark Chocolate Truffle Mochi

Makes 16 pieces

Chocolate Truffles
250 (about 8 oz) grams good-quality dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp rum (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
½ cup cocoa powder

Mochi Dough
1 cup glutinous rice flour
¼ cup raw sugar, natural cane sugar (or white sugar)
2/3 cup water

cornstarch, potato starch or rice flour, for dusting

cocoa powder, for coating

To start the chocolate truffles, first chop the dark chocolate by using a bread knife. Cut the butter into smaller pieces. Combine the chopped chocolate and the butter into a large bowl. Then, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately. Pour the cream into the chocolate along with the rum and vanilla, if using and stir until the mixture is completely smooth.

Transfer the mixture into a glass baking dish. Chill for 30 minutes or until the ganache is firm enough to form a ball.

To shape the ganache, prepare the cocoa powder for dusting and a plate with parchment paper. Bring out the chilled ganache, and with a spoon, scrape the ganache to about the size of a teaspoon. Then shape the ganache with the palm of your hands into balls. Place in the parchment-lined plate. Make 15 more pieces of ganache balls and chill while you prepare the mochi dough. Store the leftover ganache in a covered container in the fridge.

To prepare the mochi mixture, combine the flour and sugar in a heatproof glass bowl. Stir to combine. Then add the water slowly and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon and stir until the rice flour has dissolved. Cover the bowl with saran wrap.

To cook the mochi mixture, place the bowl in the microwave oven and cook for 2 minutes on high. Then, with a wet silicone spatula, stir the dough and put it back in the microwave oven for another 2 minutes until the mixture is very thick and translucent.

Some people cook the dough up to 6 minutes. But that depends on your microwave oven.

To steam the dough, place the bowl in a prepared steamer and cover with cloth. Steam the mixture for about 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until the dough is thick and translucent.

When the mochi is ready, scoop out the dough with wet silicone spatula onto the floured surface. You can also use two wet large spoons to transfer it.

You can use less dusting than the photo above.

Then, dust the mochi mixture with more rice flour. With two floured hands, flatten the dough into a rectangular shape. Be careful the dough is hot. Then cut the dough with a pastry scraper into 16 equal pieces.

To make the chocolate mochi, grab a piece of dough and stretch the sides. Brush off the excess flour from the dough using a pastry brush. Then place one piece of ganache ball in the center, gather the dough and press together to seal. Dust the excess flour/starch from the mochi and coat with cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate mochi seam side down on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the chocolate mochi.

Welcome back to my kitchen

If the chocolate mochi is quite soft to the touch, chill them first before eating. Serve mochi at room temperature with vanilla rooibos tea.


I shape all the ganache mixture into truffle balls and store them in the fridge. That way, they're ready to go.

Make sure to drop by Rouxbe Online Cooking School Test Kitchen to check out my Daifuku recipe.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Serendipitous Notes {October 25, 2009}

My brother is getting married in about two weeks and this afternoon we’re busy with last minute shopping for our shoes, bags and accessories. I hope I can wear ballet flats instead of high-heeled shoes on the wedding day. We also had a food tasting last Wednesday at Mandarin Oriental Hotel at their Chinese restaurant Tin Hau. There would also be some last minute fitting of the dress and other minor details that my brother and his fiancé are taking care of.

I was also busy in making a tart for my guest post in another blog next week. And there’s two more but I have to write a speech for my brother's wedding first. I almost forgot about that. Of course I did some cooking in the kitchen but I won’t be posting them yet.

I would like to thank a few people who have given me some awards these past few weeks. The first time I received them, I have no idea on what to do with it. Although I thanked the person who sent me the award, I just don’t know what to do next. The awards are very much appreciated.

The Blogging Awards

Thank you Alison (Alison’s Trials) for the following awards.

Thank you Marillyn Beard (Just Making Noise) for the Friends award

Thank you Penny (Jeroxie), Stacey (Nutrition as Nature Intended) and Rochelle (Acquired Flavor) for giving me this Kreative Blogger Award.

One of the rules in receiving this Kreative Blogger Award is I need to tell 7 things about myself:
  1. I turn red when I drink alcohol.
  2. My childhood dream is to become a professional dancer (ballet, jazz, etc) or a violinist and it still is.
  3. I am a late bloomer (career, relationships, etc). I felt I haven't accomplish much in life.
  4. I am allergic to perfume and strong scents in cosmetic products (shampoos, conditioners, lotions) including household cleaners and laundry products. So I used natural products (and sometimes unscented) as much as possible.
  5. I used to have an appetite for three people. A male friend told me that.
  6. I prefer to live on the countryside than live in a crowded city which is where I am right now.
  7. One of my dreams is to write and published my own cookbook.
Now I have to choose 7 people to pass this award. It was a hard decision since there are many creative blogs out there. But for now, some of the blogs that I’ve chosen are the following:

Chef Wannabe
Cookin’ Canuck
Just Making Noise
Keep Learning Keep Smiling
My Little Space
Paper Apron
Tokyo Terrace

You must thank the person who has given you the award.
* Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
* Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
* Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
* Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
* Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
* Leave a comment in the nominated blogs to let them know they have been nominated

Thank you so much for your inspiration and positive energy. I wish I could give this to more than 7 people. But rest assured, there will be more awards to be given in the near future.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Serendipitous Notes {October 18, 2009}

I've been catching up on my food blog reading this past week as well as working on my blog posts. I just wonder how people do that with so many great blogs on the web. And even wonder if I could post what I've made every week. The strange thing is I'm not even working. I think I have to slow down on my blogging. :)

Green Tea Daifuku

This is the same daifuku recipe I made last week only this time, I coated it with green tea powder. It definitely has a bitter and grassy taste at first bite, but mellow and slightly sweet at the end. If only I have a large wooden mortar and pestle I would have probably pounded my own cooked sweet rice until it turns to a sticky dough. I think this is what my late-father would actually do. And instead of serving each daifuku on a piece of avocado leaf, I used the ashitaba leaves (photo above) as a base. You can actually eat them together or separately. I’m still also perfecting the art of shaping daifuku.

A few people already asked me if I'm selling them. Unfortunately, I'm not selling them at the moment.

Healthy Vegetarian Fried Eggplant

If you’re short on time, you can cook this eggplant dish for a quick lunch or dinner. Sometimes ground pork is added. I skipped deep-frying the eggplant and proceed adding them to the wok. This recipe is from Mary (@keeplearningkeepsmiling) who has a lot of easy Asian recipes on her site.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

These are one of the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted. I make these at least once a month. I did substitute a few ingredients. Coconut oil for the canola oil, whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour, yogurt for the butter milk and muscovado sugar for the brown sugar. This recipe is from Dawn at Rouxbe Online Cooking School.

Turmeric Chips

One of the best ways to use turmeric is to slice them thinly and deep-fry them. Eric Gower shared this idea on his blog The Breakaway Cook. The turmeric chips taste really good. Working with turmeric could be worst than working with beets. So, wear your ugliest clothes when working with turmeric. Remember to use gloves too if you don’t want to stain you hands and even nails for too long.

Dhall and Veggie Curry

I used some of my turmeric on this dish by Kristy (@mylittlespace). Mine looks different as I don’t have any yellow lentils except for the red ones. I don’t have even had the mustard seeds but I will make this dish again. I know Kristy, they look completely different.:) You can also try a another type of Daal by Stacey (@nutritionasnatureintended) which is simple and easy to make.

I also soaked my red lentils. You will notice that when you drain the red lentils after soaking and keep in the fridge for a day or two, the red lentils will start sprouting. If you want them to sprout completely, you will have to leave them at room temperature. I did some sprouts a few months a go. You can check my posts on More Fantastic Sprouts and Mung Bean Sprouts.

Prawns Baked in Herbed Salt

These prawns by Rachel (@tokyoterrace) are just wonderful. You preserve the flavor of the prawns by cooking it this way. You can also do this with whole fish but the salt mixture is mixed with the foamy egg whites which acts as a paste. This seals in the whole fish while they're baking in the oven. I just didn't have the chance to take a photo but you can check Rachel's site for more wonderful photos and recipes.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Kefir Smoothie and Some Beneficial Superfoods

Kefir milk is almost non-existent a few years ago. Although there was a supplier that my uncle introduced to us, she is difficult to get in touch with. Well, first impressions last so I just let it passed. A few months ago, I learned that Mr. Arthur Tanco the owner of Bizu Patiserrie, famous for their macaroons and pastries, is selling kefir at Salcedo Market. But sometimes I order directly from him. I actually want to make my own kefir milk but ordering them is much more convenient at the moment. But sooner or later, I would have to ask Mr. Tanco to supply me one of his kefir grains so I could make my own milk, coconut or water kefir. His kefir milk is made from organic raw milk who eats nothing but 100% natural greens and feeds free from pesticides and other artificial products.

What is so special about kefir that they’re actually considered better than yogurt? Well, kefir contains around 30 strains of good bacteria and it colonizes the gastro-intestinal tract that yogurt cannot achieve. Kefir also contains lactase, an enzyme that helps digest lactose (milk sugar).

Kefir is a good source of nutrients namely vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and probiotics. There are so many benefits of kefir but I’ll simplify it for you. For now I’m giving you two that acts a channel to every area of your body.

  • First, kefir improves the function of the whole digestive system. The digestive system is responsible in digesting the food you eat the moment it enters your mouth all the way through elimination. That also includes every antibiotic and medications that you’ve taken. When your digestive system is functioning properly, you prevent other problems because nutrients are well assimilated and absorbed by the body.

  • Second, it greatly improves the immune system by keeping a healthy population of good bacteria and yeasts in the colon while flushing out harmful bacteria. In fact, 80% of a healthy immune system starts with the digestive system. One can’t improve the immune system without first improving the digestion system. The bottom line is, it all starts with your digestive system.
Kefir, by nature, is very tart. It is usually blended with fruits to improve the taste. Kefir can be used in other food preparations such as lacto-fermented foods, in breads, as a dressing in smoothies and many others.

In this smoothie, I combined the following:
  • 1 cup kefir milk
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ dragon fruit
  • 10 ashitaba (aka Tomorrow) leaves
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk
  • 1 tbsp ground mixed seeds
  • 1 tsp bee pollen
And that smoothie is always subject to change.

You can do all kinds of smoothies but this would be a great opportunity for me to briefly introduce some super foods that I added to my kefir and to be used in other recipes. Yes, briefly.


Bee Pollen

This is the crème de la crème of the bee by-products. One of the world’s most complete foods, bee pollen is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acid, anti-oxidants and bioflavonoid. They are made natural by nature – the bees.

Hemp Hearts

It is the only natural food that is concentrated with all of the required proteins and essential fats. One of the benefits of consuming hemp hearts is weight lost for obese people if taken 5-6 tablespoons in the morning. It also suppresses the cravings for sugar and processed food as well as other refined carbohydrates. When your body is absorbing the nutrients you get from food, you won’t be hungry all the time because your body is getting what it needs.

Gogi Berries

This berry has been mentioned many times during the past few years but it has been used in Chinese medicine for such a long time. Commonly used with other herbs in various dishes in Oriental cuisine, this mighty goji berries is considered one the super foods of today and the future. I mentioned before that goji berries benefits overall health of your vision. They are so nutritionally-rich, they also boosts your immune system, supports brain and neurological, cardiovascular health and other organs.

Ashitaba Leaves

They are also called Tomorrow Leaf or Earth Growth. They are a great tonic for the digestive and immune system. It purifies the blood and promotes blood circulation. They are high in antioxidant which helps fight free radical and they are good in detoxifying the body. They are flourishing in our garden more than our basil leaves so I might do an Ashitaba pesto next time.

Mixed Raw Seed Trail

These are combinations of 3 parts sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and 1 part golden or brown flax seeds. Chia seeds can be also be added. They are best grounded a la minute before using most especially flax seeds. Flax seeds are hard to chew and they are best absorbed when grounded. With this combination of seed, you’ll get a mix concoction of essential fatty acids.

Other Functional Foods

Psyllium Husk

Psyllim husk is a fiber made of complex carbohydrates extracted from the Psyllium plant.
Just like golden flax seeds, they are soluble in water which expands and becomes mucilaginous when wet. Taking psyllium husk is in tandem in drinking lots of water. Just use psyllium husk with caution.

Lecithin Granules

Lecithin is a special kind of fat called a phospholipid, which contains the nutrient choline, a B vitamin. Some sources of lecithin are organic eggs yolks, liver, peanuts, wheat germ, cauliflower, milk, and soybeans. Three things to remember about the benefits of lecithin: heart health, liver function and slow memory loss.

I hope you enjoyed my short introduction of kefir milk and some super foods. They're probably more of a recap than an introduction. And you might already be familiar with them. But any questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. I really appreciate them.

If you live in Metro Manila you can order your kefir milk, bee pollen and hemp hearts at Chlorophyll Manila website.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daifuku {Mochi with Adzuki Bean Paste}

I had this wonderful daifuku from the Japanese food store months ago. They probably brought this from Japan. The rice dough is really soft like a pillow which is a cross between a marshmallow and a gummy bear. The red beans are just perfectly sweetened. But they cost P80.00 per piece. I’ve wanted to make this for such a long time but I keep on putting if off but I’ve finally made it. When I first post a photo of daifuku on My Serendipitous Notes, I mentioned that I wasn’t satisfied. I think I’m satisfied with the result but not with the process. I was and still using local glutinous rice flour which is normally used for native desserts. So, if I use the Japanese rice flour, I think the result would have been better. But today it was really good.

Daifuku which literary means “great luck” is also called daifukumochi. Most people are quite confused between mochi and daifuku. But in Japanese preparations, daifuku is consist of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) stuffed with anko, sweetened adzuki bean paste, which is the most common filling. So, daifuku is a type of mochi, while mochi is the glutinous rice dough which can be can be grilled, deep-fried, boiled or steamed serve in various ways. In the old days, mochi is made by pounding freshly cooked rice in a large wooden mortar and pestle.

Another type of daifuku is called ichigo daifuku which is stuffed with whole strawberry and covered with anko before wrapping it with mochi. This would be great when strawberries are in season. The gooey texture of the cooked glutinous rice, the velvety adzuki bean paste and the naturally fresh strawberry is such a great combination to try. There are a few versions of daifuku but for this post, I want to make a plain mochi with adzuki bean paste.

Anko - Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste

Anko (adzuki bean paste) is easy and simple to make. I don’t why I had such a fuss about it these past few days. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so many ways on how to make the proper anko. There are some anko recipes that are quite elaborate, probably the more traditional ones. I even received advice from Kristy (@mylittlespace) and Mary (@keeplearningkeepsmiling) on what to do with the paste. They are both quite skillful in these kinds of preparation. After not being satisfied with the right consistency, I combined Kristy and Mary’s advice, dropped the recipes and allowed my cooking sensuality to direct my senses. Besides, anko can be smooth (koshian) or chunky (tsubuan). The addition of the oil helps create a smoother and silkier paste. I'm using rice bran oil because they're neutral in flavor and high in monunsaturated fat


Mochi can be cooked in the microwave, the rice cooker or the steamer. I tried cooking them in the microwave and the steamer. I don’t really use the microwave. This is probably the first time I’m using the microwave again after such a long time. I prefer to use the microwave for the rice dough because the cooked dough was less sticky to the hands and it was easier to work with. When dealing with this hot dough, mise en place should already be in place so everything goes on smoothly. It does help if you dust everything with flour/starch.

Daifuku is usually served as a snack with green tea. They also taste best on the day they’re made, so make only what you can eat within the day. But if you have company coming, just double the recipe.

You can also find a similar recipe with a different filling and method by Penny (@jeroxie)and Lorraine (@NotQuiteNigella).

After making these, I am now planning to make my chocolate truffle daifuku. Please stand by for that. Penny, are you ready?

Do you like daifuku? If so, follow this Daifuku and Anko recipe at Rouxbe Online Cooking School.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Serendipitous Notes {October 11, 2009}

It was another busy week trying something new in the kitchen. Some turned out okay, some didn’t. I believe that’s the joy of doing what you love. When you make a mistake and it didn’t turn out okay, you try again. I am also trying to get as much reading done from my distance learning education, a Twilight book and some fascinating blogs unread. I am also catching up on my cooking lessons at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. Well, I still do need some reminder cooking lessons once in a while.

Kenyan Black-Eyed Peas in Coconut Milk

I made this the other for my two brothers who are prone to uric acid. What a caring sister. This Kenyan dish M'Baazi is from Tracey (@tastytrix). It’s supposed to be a cold summer dish but I served it warm. I used a legume similar to black-eyed peas. I don’t know how to translate it in English so I’ll call it brown-eyed peas. We have some old coconuts and they are great for extracting coconut milk. This dish is really good. My brothers asked for seconds and thirds and didn’t suffer gout attacks the following day.

Coconut Macaroons

Mom would buy coconut macaroons whenever she gets a hand on it. These little gems are made from the shredded coconut after the milk has been extracted. So, after extracting the liquid, you just throw away the coconut meat. I hate throwing things away so I made them into coconut macaroons with whole wheat pastry flour, agave nectar and lime zest. They’re actually pretty good. There was only four left and I realized I need to take to a photo. I am still tweaking the recipe for a healthier coconut macaroon.

Look what I’ve found

Mochi with Chocolate Truffle Filling

These are the ones that I’ve wanted to make at home since last year. I bought this Dezato Mochi at the baking bazaar at Powerplant Mall in Makati City. They come in four flavors: milk chocolate; white chocolate with walnuts; dark chocolate and green tea. They are really good and you’ll notice from the photo above, a few are missing. Penny, these are for you. :)

Macapuno Candy

They are also called coconut candy. These gelatinous sugar coated candy also from Powerplant Mall are a childhood favorite. They are made with coconut meat and sugar, sometimes condensed milk and egg yolks. They are cook until they are thick and then cooled before wrapping individually. Eat with caution as they are quite addicting. I haven’t had these for many years so I’m indulging a bit. I have no plans on making these unless someone gives me a full-proof recipe and also a recipe that is also easy on the sugar.


This is the first time I’ve found turmeric at the supermarket. They’re not the best looking turmeric but they’re cheap. India has the lowest rate of Alzheimer’s disease because they use a lot of turmeric in their cooking. Turmeric is also great for the liver, it cleanses the blood and it boosts immunity. Consume turmeric tea everyday to improve your liver function. When your liver is functioning properly, all good benefits follow.

Curry Leaves

Another good find is curry leaves and they have a very distinct smell. Curry leaves are an herbal tonic and they are great for the digestive system and any indigestion problems. You can also make curry oil with these leaves by heating the oil and curry leaves over low heat. When the leaves turn black remove from the heat and let it cool down. Then, store in a glass container. Apply this oil on your scalp to improve hair growth. It is also said that it helps prevent premature aging of grey hair. Well, that I have to try.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Soothing Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

Lentils are one of my comfort foods and red lentils just deliver that soothing effect to our whole well being. It must be their vibrant, yet earthy and soothing color. It’s good to have split red lentils all the time as they are a good source of protein and fiber and they also cook in less than 30 minutes. And when they are used in soups, they melt into the liquid resulting in a creamy consistency.

Red lentils are always paired with spices. I love using garam masala for another layer of earthy and interesting flavors. I made my own blend of garam masala from whole and ground spices. But I always prefer using all whole spices for their maximum flavor. I also think that there’s no single recipe for garam masala. So, looking at a recipe as a guide and adjusting the amount of spices according to your taste is way better than buying already grounded garam masala. Toasting and grinding them your self will also lift up your spirits.

Although this soup is quick to make, sweating the onions is an important step that you need to do, making sure that the onions are cooked over low heat until they are soft and tender before adding the tomatoes. The onions will impede from softening when you add the tomatoes at once. Sweating the onions also adds sweetness to the whole dish.

I try to avoid anything canned but there are exceptions like canned tomatoes. Roasted tomatoes would also be excellent for their more intense sweet flavor. If you have someone in your family who is tomato-phobic like my mother because of the sourness, then choosing canned tomatoes is as important as choosing fresh tomatoes. Watch the video below from Rouxbe Online Cooking School on How to Choose Quality Canned Tomatoes.

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

I love anything with coconut. For this soup, I’m using some local virgin coconut oil for sweating the onions and some fresh coconut cream to finish the dish. And I always serve it with extra coconut cream. The best virgin coconut oil I’ve ever purchased was produced by The Farm. The Farm is a medical and wellness resort in Batangas, Philippines which is about 2 hours away from Metro Manila. This is one of the establishments that I want to work for. And I love the taste of coconut in this recipe. The fresh coconut cream is somewhat sweet and blends beautifully with this feisty soup.

This soup can also be pureed but I prefer to serve just the way it is. Feel free to adjust the amount of lentils and it all depends if you want it really chunky. This morning, I have to add another can of tomatoes because the lentils have doubled in size. Which means, I have enough soup for 4 more people.

Soothing Red Lentil and Tomato Soup

2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 large onion
2 small dried chiles, freshly ground (optional)
2 tsp garam masala
1 cup red lentils
2 cans (400g)whole tomatoes
3 cupschicken or vegetables stock
unrefined sea salt, to taste

1 cup fresh coconut cream, approximately (if fresh is available)
cilantro leaves

To prepare your mise en place, first remove the seeds from the whole tomatoes and processed in the blender until roughly puree. Then, quickly rinse the lentils and drain well.

To start the soup, first peel and finely dice the onion. Then heat a heavy-bottom soup pot over medium high heat. Add the oil, followed by the onions. Season the onions with sea salt and cook until the onions are soft and tender. Add the ground dried chilies and garam masala and cook for another one minute. Then add the red lentils, tomatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover, lid slightly open and simmer the soup for about 20 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender.

When the lentils are already tender, chop some cilantro leaves and heat the coconut cream until lukewarm.

If the soup is too thick, add more stock. Season the soup with sea salt to taste.

To serve, ladle the soup onto soup bowls, then garnish with coconut cream and chopped cilantro.