Lentil soup with coconut milk and caramelised bacon

You will need:

  • 4 dl split red lentils
  • 1.5 l chicken stock
  •  tin (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tin (400g) coconut milk
  • 1 larger onion
  • 1 red sweet pepper, a few carrots
  • 1 (heaped) tsp minced garlic
  • 1 (heaped) tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 red chilli pepper
  • 2 (heaped) tsp curry powder (e.g. Garam Masala)
  • Sea salt, if needed
  • 1–2 tbsp ghee*, butter or (coconut) oil

Caramelised bacon:

  • Ca. 150 g bacon, sliced (I use American bacon)
  • 1 tbsp cane syrup
  • A pinch of cinnamon
*Ghee or clarified butter is a type of butter widely used in Indian cuisine. Ghee is made by heating the butter and skimming off solid milk proteins and water. Thus it is very heat tolerant and the most suitable fat for frying. It has a slightly quaint smell but it does not give a strong flavour to the food. As this recipe is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine, ghee is ideal here but, quite frankly, I use it to fry almost anything.
Dice the onion, sweet pepper, chilli, ginger and garlic finely. Peel the carrots and grate them coarsely. Heat some ghee or butter in a frying pan or a heavy pan. Add the onions and fry until translucent. Add grated carrots, chopped pepper and chilli and cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Add the curry powder, minced ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Finally pour in the coconut milk, chicken stock and lentils that have been rinsed with cold water. Bring to a boil and decrease the heat to simmer the food for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are quite soft.
Meanwhile, you can prepare the bacon. Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Brush both sides of the strips of bacon with syrup and sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Put the bacon on a grill grate and bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes or until dark brown and crisp. Be sure to place a baking tray under the grill grate to prevent the fat from the bacon from dripping to the bottom of the oven. Take the bacon strips out of the oven and leave to cool.