“Is that lentil soup?”
“No- it’s sambhar ”
“What’s it made of?”
“Lentils, tomato, onions, water, spices…..”
“So…it IS lentil soup”!
“What do you do to get everyday protein if you don’t eat eggs or meat”.
“All our meals have a bean or lentil dish. That’s protein”.
“What kind of lentil dish?”
“I cook lentils with water, saute onion, tomato spices etc, add to lentils…”
“So you make soup”
“No….it’s a dal. To eat with rice or bread”
“But it IS a soup”!
Over time, I figured it was easier to to consider my dal as “lentil soup”when eating lunch with colleagues in US. But, somewhere, at the back of my mind, a soup was a starter- served at the beginning of a meal. The mere mention of soup takes me back to my mom’s soups- restricted to tomato soup; carrot & tomato soup or spinach-carrot-tomato soup; all spiced with ginger, cumin and salt. She cooked her vegetables, pureed them and then strained them before serving. We’d all get a small bowl of it about 30min before dinner during winter. They were all clear liquids, meant to enhance appetite.Soup as main course; or a full mean was an alien concept.