John’s Spicy Lentil Soup

lentil soup - trust in kim

lentil soup - trust in kim


My good friend John made this soup for me a while back. We both wanted to eat something pretty healthy and warming, and something that wouldn’t take too long to cook. Don’t be afraid of the word ‘spicy;’ it has a only hint of chill, but loads of flavour.

John’s recipe is vegan, using vegetable broth, but I used chicken broth and added some chicken pieces that I had left over. Both versions are super tasty. I also used less olive oil; the original recipe says 3 tablespoons and I used about one.

The recipe is from the Food Network.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (or ground if that’s what you have)
  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 small dried chili, crushed
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • leftover chicken, shredded or diced (optional)
  • salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

What you do:

  1. Drizzle the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion on medium heat until golden.
  2. Add the garlic and cumin and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the garlic is golden.
  3. Add the stock, lentils, chili, carrots, celery, bay leaves and optional chicken to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar, then add salt and pepper to taste.


Thanks for the recipe John!

John Cloutier - trust in kim
Chef John

Guest Recipe: John’s Kung Pao Chicken

Mmmm.  Delicious.  If you’re averse to spice you can cut down on the peppers, but if you like it hot, then this one’s for you!

What you need:

1 & 1/2 boneless & skinless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons roasted peanuts

8-12 dried red chilies, deseeded and cut into halves (it was quite hot with 9 chilies, so you can experiment with the number that’s right for you)

3 tablespoons cooking oil

5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 stalk scallion

For the marinade:

1 tablespoon corn starch

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or other rice wine)

1 teaspoon oil

For the sauce:

1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black vinegar

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon corn starch

What you do:

1. Cut the chicken into small cubes, combine marinade ingredients and let the chicken marinate in it for about 30 minutes.

2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Heat the wok or large frying pan with one tablespoon cooking oil and stir-fry the marinated chicken until it is 70% cooked. Remove chicken and set aside.

4.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to wok and heat until it smokes.

5. Add in the ginger and garlic slices and stir quickly before adding the dried red chilies.

6. Stir fry the dried red chilies until aromatic, then stir in the partially cooked chicken.

7. Add the roasted peanuts and continue to stir a few times.

8. Add the sauce and stir continuously until the chicken meat is nicely coated with the sauce.

9. Stir in the scallions, then dish out and serve hot with steamed rice.

This recipe serves three to four people with some side dishes.  We had steamed baby bok choy with a drizzle of oyster sauce.

All of these ingredients were found in Vancouver’s China Town.