I seem to go through phases of hitting the Cooking Light recipes pretty hard...usually when one of the collections comes out. This time, in honour of the slightly less-crappy weather we've been having, I thought I would coax Spring along with a light soup: Red Lentil Mulligatawny with Apple-Celery Salsa. It certainly is light...as in, it had better not be all you're having for dinner. It would, however make a splendid appetizer, or part of a lunch with a nice, big, freshly made sandwich on the side. I'm thinking grilled cheese, but I'd also allow myself to be talked into a BLT, or even a ATC (Avocado, Tomato & Cheese on toasted Squirrelly bread).
The thing that really makes this soup pleasantly different is the apple-celery salsa. If I weren't so bone-lazy, I would have chopped the ingredients a little more finely, but it was delicious even so. After taking the picture, I stirred the salsa throughout the soup, which added a fantastic crunchy texture, but perhaps cooled the soup off a little faster than I had intended. If I had used room-temperature ingredients for the salsa, that would not have happened, though, so, live and learn.
As I often find, I had to bump up the spices in this recipe. Mulligatawny should be at least feisty, if not downright fierce, and this soup was, as written, entirely too mild. Fortunately, my kitchen is pretty well stocked with hot sauces, fresh chiles, and a variety of spices to boost the tingle-factor. The shockingly lack of any chiles at all in this recipe had to be remedied, but I also increased the cumin (one of my favourite spices), and that did the trick quite nicely.
It may not be an entire meal unto itself, but I'd definitely make it again, especially if I needed it as a light appetizer for an Indian dinner. Exchange the chicken broth for veggie broth, and you've got a vegetarian - actually, vegan - version, without substantial loss of flavour. I may give that a try next time, since I do enjoy an Indian vegetarian feast now and then.