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Jul 11, 2012 06:58 PM

Berkeley Bowl curry lentil soup recipe? [Moved from SF Bay Area board]

Berkeley Bowl makes the most delicious curry lentil soup with potatoes. Does anyone have a recipe for it, or an approximation? I only tried it once, but it was so wholesome and good... I can't really remember enough to try on my own, especially since I'm a real novice cook. But if anyone knows about it, the info would be much appreciated !!!!

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  1. Hi nafybean, I happen to have a container that still has the label on it. Here are the ingredients: vegetable stock, lentils, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, coriander, dry mustard, curry powder, coconut milk, tomato sauce, Vietnamese hot garlic sauce, garlic, sea salt.

    I can tell you, based on having the soup many times, that the lentils are the regular brown type, the potatoes are small red ones, the tomatoes are whole canned ones, drained and pretty roughly chopped. I'd say the curry powder is the typical yellow Madras-style, and the dry mustard is probably equally responsible for the soup's yellow color. Vietnamese hot garlic would be Sriracha. Hope this helps get you started!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      Thank you so much, Caitlin! I live in southern California so I can't get my hands on any, and I definitely wouldn't have remembered or even thought about tomatoes. I'm going to experiment and see if I can duplicate it! I really appreciate your help.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Well almost a year later, I finally got around to trying this! I sweated some onions and garlic in olive oil, then added the spices with curry being the most prominent, let those cook for a little, and threw in cubed red potatoes. Then came the vegetable stock, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce (not full cans since it seemed like too much tomato). I poured in the lentils and brought it to a boil for maybe 20-30 minutes, then simmered for a while. Added a little more sea salt and some fresh cilantro at the end.

          It turned out really tasty, but not quite like the Berkeley Bowl recipe. My version came out more tomatoey than I remembered the soup to be, so I might try using more coconut milk and even less tomato. I also used "lite" coconut milk because that's what we had, so maybe it would be a little richer with the regular version.

          Thanks again for your help! I'll be making this again in the future.

          1. re: nafybean

            I'm glad your recreation turned out well, if not perfectly like the original! Regarding it being too tomatoey: despite tomato sauce being in the list of ingredients, the soup itself doesn't register as having tomatoes in the liquid to me, just chunks of tomato. So I would recommend thoroughly draining the canned tomatoes, and perhaps adding them later, after the soup has simmered for a while so they don't break down. As for the tomato sauce, try starting with just a smidge, almost treating it as another seasoning, and adding more if it tastes like it needs it. You're definitely on the right track thinking most of the liquid should be vegetable stock and coconut milk, based on how what the Bowl sells looks and tastes (it's quite yellow, and the liquid part is slightly thick).

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              This thread inspired me to go try the curry lentil soup. I agree; when I look at the soup (and taste it), it really looks like it's just chunks of tomato, not tomato sauce at all. I also think they've changed the ingredients in the last year. The container I bought yesterday says: coconut milk, vegetable stock, garlic, potato, lentil, olive oil, onion, curry powder, tomato, cilantro, herbs and spices. No more hot sauce. And no more "tomato paste."

    2. Well, I tried it again and this time, skipped the canned tomatoes/sauce altogether in light of the newer ingredient list, opting instead for a big handful of halved grape tomatoes. Added coriander and turmeric along with the curry powder after sweating onions and garlic. The house smelled divine with that yellow compote in the bottom of the pot. Used about 2/3 to 3/4 of a carton of chicken broth (I know it's supposed to be vegan soup but I was out of veg broth) and 1 can of lite coconut milk, both from Trader Joe's. I also cut my baby Dutch potatoes a little larger and my onion rougher. It's pretty delicious... and much more like the soup I tasted in Berkeley! Thanks again for the help and suggestions - if anyone else gives it a try, please let me know how your version turns out!

      1. Thanks for posting this! I just finished a bowl of the original from the BB and I am determined to make it! I am so glad to find this discussion. I feel like there is probably more coconut than one would think. The curry is not quite so yellow and might be a green curry. What a great soup!

        1. Hi everyone, I think I may have pretty closely nailed the recipe, I just made the soup after having a bowl from Berkeley bowl and looking at their ingredient list. Here is what I did and it tastes pretty darn close, measurements are approximate as I was just adding stuff until it seemed right.
          I sautéed a yellow onion in about 2 tbs olive oil, I was thinking later coconut oil would have rocked. Then I added one can full fat coconut milk and one can lite coconut milk, I put in about two to three cans worth of water, trying to get all the leftovers, to this I added about 2 tsp low sodium better than bullion vegetable stock goo. I added two medium russet potatoes chopped pretty small, two medium tomatoes seeded and chopped and about 1 1/4 cup green lentils. To this I added spices, really rough measurements here, 1 tsp coriander and turmeric, 2 tsp cumin and 1 tbs curry powder. I added a little more salt and some black pepper. I cooked this until the lentils and potatoes were done, I added 1/2 chopped cilantro. I just ate a big bowl and it was awesome!!