Indian winter soup

Indian winter soup

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(14 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 4 - 6

This warming winter soup is high in fibre, low in fat and can be frozen for ultimate convenience

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal445
  • fat8g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs80g
  • sugars13g
  • fibre8g
  • protein19g
  • salt0.14g
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  • 100g pearl barley
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves



    The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety…

  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 parsnip, cut into chunks



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise - it looks just…

  • 200g butternut squash, cut into chunks
  • 200g sweet potato, cut into chunks
    Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potato

    sweet po-tate-toe

    Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet-spicy flavour that makes them ideal for savoury…

  • 1 tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 225g red lentils
  • 2 tomato, chopped



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Rinse the pearl barley and cook following pack instructions. When it is tender, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Fry the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chillies, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon and turmeric until fragrant and the seeds start to crackle. Tip in the onion and garlic, then cook for 5-8 mins until soft. Stir in the parsnip, butternut and sweet potato and mix thoroughly, making sure the vegetables are fully coated with the oil and spices. Sprinkle in the paprika, ground coriander and seasoning, and stir again.

  2. Add the lentils, pearl barley, tomatoes and 1.7 litres water. Bring to the boil then turn down and simmer until the vegetables are tender. When the lentils are almost cooked, stir in the chopped coriander, ginger and lemon juice.

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Comments (18)

Leopoldoni's picture

Genuinely one of the best. I might use a little extra of the spices next time, but this was by no means bland. Can't wait to have this for my lunch tomorrow.

karen208's picture

Lovely and tasty. Took longer to prepare than mentioned in the recipe due to having to prep the pearl barley, also I didn't deseed the chilli. Will definitely be making this again, makes plenty so makes a super handy/healthy weekday lunch for one.

eleanormayo's picture

Disappointingly bland. I would have thought that with all the spices that went in this soup would have tasted of something, but unfortunately not! I added stock as opposed to water, but am still going to have to rescue it today using some curry paste.

zachary82's picture

We fell in love with this dish. My mum said quote: "This is better than any Fish and Chips or burger"- not too shabby considering its about 100 times as healthy. Get yourself a bowl of this and its like curling up in bed beneath a warm duvet when its snowing....

I did however had to change the recipe fearing it would be too bland: I added four times the suggested spices; an extra onion; as well as 50g ginger for warmth - that seemed to do the trick. I also added spinach at the end for a burst of green and made the leftover sweet potato into cripsy chips... yum. Also, when adding lemon, add the juice of a whole one (who'd you be kidding with a teaspoon) as well as the zest, which makes it a whole lot better.

fayfumbs's picture

Didn't have any parsnip, so used extra squash and sweet potato. Also used a veg stock cube. Really tasty soup!

woobytuesday's picture

Such a delicious soup - I made it on Saturday, left out the squash but made up the weight with a couple of carrots and it tasted great. I forgot the lemon at the end, so I'll try and remember that next time. It was more delicious the next day when the flavours had chance to develop.

susannahhart's picture

Just had a bowl of this for lunch. Was very nice, but I added more lemon, more ginger than stated. Helped along with some chilli pickle and mango chutney. Really filling and great for a cold day.

dottie31's picture

I made this last night, added carrots and spinach, it was fantastic.
One of my girl friend popped around and she generally does not like pearl barley, but really enjoyed the soup. She is now going to make it for her family and the boyfriend is going to have some for lunch today.
Definitely going to be making this again in the very near future.

melanieg40's picture

I dont like pearl barley, could I use Red lentils instead? I'm sure it would be ok.....

lillianadams's picture

This was lovely, with minor adjustments:
I used the water the barley had been cooked instead of some of the water, as it seemed silly to throw it away.
Added the juice of a whole lemon at the end.
Served with extra coriander sprinkled over and with lime quarters for squeezing over.
And it needed quite a lot of salt.
But will make it again, as we had plenty for dinner and now have plenty frozen for another day.

dutes8080's picture

When I see" high in fibre, low in fat" I immediately switch off as I get the feeling The Health Police are just about to break down my culinary front door. Thank the Lord I had a moment of weakness and made this soup. I just cannot even begin to say how much we liked this. I think the key is freshness in spices as well as perishables but I did not, like Ellen or Megan B, find this bland and would say that food from the Sub Continent doesn't always have to be like rocket fuel. Great soup, well worth the effort!

elleypelley's picture

Unexpectedly bland. Made exactly as per recipe no omissions or subs. Even well seasoned it was bland. The addition of mango chutney at service helped.

However the basics are strong and the underlying flavours good. Nice mixture of textures too. I will repeat this using good veg stock instead of water and adding a teaspoon of sugar I think. I will also add more chilli and use hot paprika as I like more heat than this delivers.

meganburgess's picture

Easy to prepare and liked the addition of pearl barley but found it quite bland unfortunately.

rturner's picture

This soup is a bit more work than many but well worth it. Tastes brilliant and good portion size. Freezed some so got a quick easy version to look forward to as well.

jobarley's picture

This is AMAZING soup, I put a carrot in it as I didn't have any parsnips & some veggie stock powder, it's even better the next day too.

eleanormayo's picture

A great soup! I don't like parsnips so substituted with swede and used up some new potatoes instead of sweet potato, so basically the verdict is would work well with any root veggies!

pavlovakk's picture

Too early for parsnips In Zimbabwe - but carrots worked out just fine -delicious.

lilimohiddin's picture

A fantastic soup - we have made it twice and it gets the thumbs up each time. I make the pearl barley the day before. Enjoy

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