As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my family loves soups and it used to be a meal starter or even a complete meal at least twice a week! Though most of the soups at home were prepared by my sister and I (like our family favorite chicken and corn soup or the hot and spicy soup with tofu) there was one soup that was always made by my mom. That was the beef and lentil soup with Sri Lankan flavors which was such a treat. There was something so delightful about gnawing and slurping a marrow bone – it was a rare treat at home considering it was not the healthiest cut of beef, but a delightful one nonetheless.
I had long forgotten about this delicious soup over the past few years of living away from home, until I came across some delicious looking beef ribs during a visit to the local wet market and was wondering what to do with them. Marrow bones would definitely be a big no-no with my health conscious husband around, so I decided to use the beef ribs replicate this flavorsome dish. On days that I am lazy to head to the wet market, I do substitute the ribs instead with beef brisket (which is more readily available in my supermarket) and you could also replace it with chicken – but trust me, beef with all its bones and fatty bits adds all that flavor. Again, not a regular treat – but a very delicious one!
Laced with beautiful layers of spices, this is a good substitute for days you crave Lankan flavors but not the fuss of making a complete rice and curry meal. It is a one pot meal which means less washing and perfect for work nights. All the lentils and the veges actually make it a perfectly balanced meal and if you substitute the fatty part of the beef with a leaner cut – it is actually a healthy meal on its own.
Cast of Characters:
- 300g of Beef ribs or brisket (cleaned and washed)
- Half a cup of red lentils
- 6-7 Beans, chopped
- 1 large Carrot, sliced
- 1 medium Potato, cubed
- 1 medium Tomato, Chopped
- 1 small Onion, chopped
- Coriander & Cumin powder
- Salt & pepper
- Dash of lemon juice
- A bit of butter
- Heat up a heavy bottomed pot and add a dab of butter, followed by the beef ribs and let the meat get a good sear. Searing the meat will result in browned crispy edges around the meat which will add a load of flavor to the soup.
- Next add about a tablespoon of coriander powder and 3/4 spoons of cumin powder, salt and mix well. Both these spices is what gives it a Sri Lankan spin, so be generous.
- Immediately add in the chopped tomato, the onion and the lentils along with about 5 cups of water and cover and let it simmer in a low heat. The longer you leave – the tender the meat gets.
- Once the meat has almost cooked, add in the chopped potatoes. About 10 mins later, add in the carrots and the beans. Though you could basically add in all the veges together, I like my beans and carrots to retain its color and shape without going mushy. So I add them in the last 5 mins.
- Lastly check for seasoning and add salt, pepper and lemon juice for the extra tang!
- You could also garnish it with a sprinkling of fresh coriander for another layer of flavor.
- Served with toasted baguette, this is a one pot meal on its own – perfect for work night dinners and even as a packed lunch to work!