Syrian Lentil Soup, a great starter for a Purim meal
2 1/2 cups dried split red lentils
10 cups cold water
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour dissolved in 3 tablespoons Cold water
Lemon wedges (1 to 2 per person)
Submerge the lentils in a medium-size bowl filled with cold water. Pick out small rocks and skim off any dirt or old shells that float to the surface. Drain.
Put the drained lentils in a 5-quart saucepan or kettle, add the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the salt and mix well. Continue to simmer until the soup becomes fairly thick, like pea soup, an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the garlic, cumin, and coriander.
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and add the garlic mixture. Brown the mixture until the garlic and oil turn into a yellow sauce, about 30 seconds (make sure not to cook the garlic over high heat; it burns easily). Remove from the heat and set aside.
Add the dissolved flour to the soup. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic mixture.
Taste the soup for salt. Serve very hot accompanied by lemon wedges.