Spicy Tomato and Coconut Soup with Saffron


Us Swedes love saffron this time a year as it is a reminder of the upcoming Lucia celebration on December 13th. There are many myths surrounding the origins of the Saint Lucia who was either the bearer of light for Italian fishermen or someone in cahoots with the devil. Still, the tradition of a girl with lights in her hair stuck and today all little Swedish girls, and boys, dress up in white gowns, a crown of light (these days electric for health and safety) and surprise their parents in bed on Lucia morning with coffee and saffron buns (lussebullar). These yellow delicacies will be featured in another recipe but suffice it to say that it is the saffron that makes all the difference. Continue reading “Spicy Tomato and Coconut Soup with Saffron”

Lentil Soup with Saffron



Back in London! And there is a new and unfamiliar chill in the air, reminding me that we are heading towards autumn fast. Help! I suddenly think of the magazine I was reading in the sun lounger by the sea in Sweden (bliss) which featured an article and recipes by the Ayurveda practitioner, Janesh Vaidya. In his Swedish book: ‘Maten är min medicin’ (Norstedts förlag) Vaidya advocates a vegetarian life style in order to cure many common ailments such as joint pain, indigestion, insomnia and eczema. I can’t seem to find this cookbook in English yet, check out his website to find out more about his lectures and other books.




The recipe that caught my eye in particular was Vaidya’s lentil soup which used saffron and coconut milk. It looked so warming and soothing that I saved the article for a cold and rainy autumn day. Well, today was that day! I had to improvise slightly as I didn’t have all the ingredients that were necessary in the house. I’m still coming down from my holiday high and food shopping felt like the last thing I wanted to do. Still, the result was super delicious, warming and so creamy and tasty that I had to finish it all off. Every last drop! This would make a great starter, or if you are like me, a great main for a couple of hungry peeps.

Lentil Soup with Saffron, by Janesh Vaidya

4-6 persons

2 dl lentils (I used Puy, he advocates Beluga lentils)

2 charlotte onions

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 cm cinnamon stick (I used ground cinnamon)

1/2 g saffron (1 envelope)

20 cardamom kernels (the inside of the pods)

about 500g ripe tomatoes

2 dl water

1 1/2 tsp herb salt (Herbamare is the best in my book)

4 dl coconut milk

1/2 tsp salt + pepper

3 tomatoes (I didn’t have enough for this decoration)

Fresh parsley (I used celery leaves instead)

Cook the lentils according to instructions on the pack. Once cooked, rinse thoroughly. Slice the onions and garlic and add to a pan with oil together with the cinnamon stick, saffron and cardamom kernels. Make sure it does not burn. Rinse the tomatoes in warm water and slice in half. Place in a pan with some water and bring to a boil. Let cook on low heat whilst stirring for about 15-20 minutes. When the tomatoes have released all their liquid they are ready. Remove from heat source and also remove any large tomato peels. Press through a sieve if you would like a smoother texture to your soup. Add 2 dl water and herb salt to the tomato mixture and mix with the onion and garlic. Add the lentils and coconut milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Slice 3 tomatoes and place them in the soup, Decorate with parsley or any other green sprig you may have at home. Enjoy! x