Yasamin's Black Lime Soup

The first time I saw this soup I was so excited because I’d never seen or smelt anything like it before!
It was thick and green and shiny and smelt sour and salty. The most surprising and exotic (for me) ingredient is the black lime. A hard, small, slightly squished dried lime that when added to dishes adds a beautifully soft sour taste to the dish. I was totally blown away by this meal!

Kissing Black Limes

In the telling, I understate my excitement of the first time Yasamin made her Black Lime Soup. Every dinner party since the first time black lime soup came into my life, I try not to show my panic when Yasamin mentions that she’s not making black lime soup. I tactfully stumble over my words, eye twitching with anticipation, coaxing her to make her crazy soup!

Like a wistful fairy, she flicks away my dreams describing the soup as simple, everyday, an easy apparition which any simpleton could make. *wide eyed emoji* I’m a simpleton!

One weekend, in her fabulousness, Yasmin jetsetted (interstate) and I was so desperate for her Black Lime Soup I just pretended to know what it was made of. Lentils. A black lime. Water. Vege stock. Seemed about right. That was all I could remember. So that’s what I made. Watery lentils that tasted sour. There is no word to describe them. They were… eatable.

More recently my cousin visited from Poland. Yasmin’s put on another fabulous dinner. Time to hone in on my negotiation skills and ask her to make her black lime soup. A summary of the interaction: ‘SOUP!! SOUP!! Yasmin are you making your BLACK LIME SOUP!?’. She screws up her face ‘Oh it’s so easy. I could make some if we don’t have enough.’ I look across at what she’s already made. There’s not enough room on the table for all the plates of food. ‘Yeah’ I say ‘We probably don’t have enough’. ‘Ok!’ Yasamin chirps! ‘I’ll make the soup and you can watch me so you learn’.
Blessed be my Yasmin, who teaches me to cook delicious ass black lime soup.

Needless to say none of this happened! I was late to dinner and missed watching Yas make it! I hounded her for the recipe, then and there! We devoured it at the dinner party but being active and fabulous adults writing anything down longer than 140 characters outside of work hours was impossible.

I repeated (out loud) the recipe Black Lime Soup as Yas prepped another dish. Using numeric devices I memorised it. JKS. Using psychotic repetition and intense eye contact I created a scenario that neither of us would soon forget, let alone the recipe!

I wanted to create a cool and fun little vid for you all but, yet again, Yasmin jetsetted (interstate) and my camerawoman, Sharyn, was too fabulous to be at home straight after work to film her roommate cook lentils. Life.

So this is how I remember the recipe:

  • 2 large onions (I had 3 medium onions)
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large tablespoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 black lime – ground as fine as you can
  • Vegetable stock cubes (or powder) – to your taste!
  • 1 ½ cups of lentils (I used brown lentils but the ‘recipe’ calls for red lentils – brown lentil cook longer apparently and red lentils cook shorter. That’s information. Thanks Sharyn!)
  • Water! This beauty dictates the thickness of your soup! Use enough to cook the lentils then add as much as you like to create the desired thickness
  • Dry udon noodles – its important that they’re dry so they don’t fall apart into a mush when you cook them a little longer
  • Spinach or Kale – I used frozen but you could equally use fresh! Bout 300grams


Crushing a black lime


Slice the onions and press the garlic.


Fry these together with some oil in a soup pot. Its important to cook the onion and garlic till they are almost BLACK! ALMOST! This releases a wonderful flavour and aroma.


Add the turmeric, black lime some stock power. Mix around for a minute.


Add the dry lentils. Mix for a bit.



Add water to cover the lentils then a little more. Mmmmm. Cook for 30min. Taste the soup. Add some more stock powder as you go. Continually taste so its seasoned to your liking. I blitz the lentils a little bit to make it a little smoother but so it still has texture.


Break the udon noodles in half and add them to the lentils. Now is the time to keep an eye on things. These noodles will cook for bout 20-30 min but they can also stick to the bottom of the pot! So keep stirring when they go soft.

Add the spinach soon after you’ve added the noodles. Mix and taste. Add some more stock if necessary.


Finally. Yum. Just... Yum.

I have made this recipe thrice since writing this! Initially for this post (and Ania who wants to recreate it in Poland!).

The second time I decided that I needed more vegetables. However I did not change the proportions of the original soup, added more vegetables and cooked it in the same size pot. Needless say I burnt it so bad that there was a centimetre thick burn of lentils, veges and noodles at the bottom of the pot. I fussed about it. Huffed and stubbornly ate it, defying reality that it tasted like a fire. Aaand… *blush*… I ‘soaked’ the pot long enough for my roomie to get fed up at try to clean it for me - he had to use oven cleaner to clean the pot!!

My original photos were so dark and glum that I decided to remake it this morning. In the original form. I used one chilli in this batch because my first one was too salty and I find that a small amount of chilli acts like an appropriate amount of salt in a dish. Needless to say, victory! Its the bees knees! I’m sure Yas will teach me how to make it ‘properly’ one day - but the key to the flavour is in the almost burnt onions and garlic and obviously, the notorious Black Lime.


Sharyn trying a teeny cup of Black Lime Soup - appreciating the less salty, slightly spicy flavour of the third attempt! (Sharyn has been privy to all 3 soup attempts!)


Enjoy!
Love Helena
xx

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