Simple Dal Soup

This simple blend of spices creates a nourishing soup to serve for lunch or as a first course

Try this simple yet satisfying soup made with hearty lentils and tasty spices

Lululemon co-founder Amrita Sondhi offers up decadent vegetarian recipes, like this simple dal soup (followed by zucchini pasta with raw tomato sauce), to balance the mind, body and spirit in her second cookbook, The Tastes of Ayurveda

The book dishes up an array of hearty and healthy recipes including meals, snacks and sweets. The Tastes of Ayurveda also includes menu planning, balcony vegetable gardening tips, as well as yoga poses and breathing exercises.

The cookbook is an extension of The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook, first published in 2006.

Hailing from a Southeast Asian household in Mombasa, Kenya, Sondhi grew up on Indian foods and spices, but it wasn’t until she started teaching yoga that she began exploring Ayurveda.

“Once I got into yoga I got interested to study Ayurveda in depth . . . because yoga is one of the branches of Ayurveda,” says Sondhi, who now lives and teaches on Bowen Island.

Ayurveda and Diet

Ayurveda is about whole-body health, a large part of which includes diet. The 5,000-year-old Indian healing tradition is based on the idea that the body is composed of five essential elements: water, ether, air, fire and earth. The proper balance of these elements is the key to maintaining physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Sondhi teaches that we can tap into these vital elements through a conscious diet based on one’s individual body constitution. According to Ayurveda, everyone is made up of three main elements, or doshas: vata (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth). The balance of these doshas impacts your mood and food cravings, she says.

Ayurvedic cooking is accessible for families. Sondhi explains that condiments and sides can be used to personalize every dish according to one’s individual dosha. Try homemade tzatziki or tahini for vatas, apple raisin chutney for pittas or green cilantro mint chutney to calm all three. Ayurveda can actually help create a more harmonious household where everyone’s mood is pacified when their doshas are balanced, maintains Sondhi.

The Tastes of Ayurveda offers more than 300 fresh and vibrant recipes. Sondhi’s updated approach to Ayurvedic cooking makes the ancient tradition easy for everyone, from the dedicated yogi to the average family, to try. 

Very Simple Dal Soup

The flavour of this soup is simple and nourishing.


  • 375 ml (1½) cups red lentils
  • 1.5 L (6 cups) vegetable stock
  • 24 whole black peppercorns
  • 10 whole cloves (To reduce Pitta: use less or omit)
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) ground turmeric
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) good salt
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice, to taste
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a large pot on medium-high, bring lentils and stock to a boil. 
  2. Reduce heat to low, skim off foam with a slotted spoon and discard.
  3. Then add peppercorns, cloves, turmeric and salt and let simmer until done, about 20 minutes. (Remember to remove the peppercorns and cloves before serving or warn your guests not to bite into these.)
  4. Stir in lemon juice and sprinkle with cilantro just before serving. 

Makes 4 servings.

Variation: Use 375 ml (1½ cups) split yellow mung dal instead of red lentils. 

Like this recipe? You might also like Sondhi’s Cauliflower and Rainbow Chard Curry.

Recipe from The Tastes of Ayurveda by Amrita Sondhi

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.