Indian winter soup

Indian winter soup

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(31 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



    A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a…

  • 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…

  • 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 tomatoes, 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, questions and tips

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Jayhee Hahn's picture
Jayhee Hahn
11th Jun, 2020
Delicious, and highly recommend. I did find it needed salt after following the directions with all the spices. This is the first time I have made a dish by mixing lots of different spices together, and I was a bit worried it would turn out weird, but it turned out delicious and I am glad I tried making it.
9th Jan, 2020
Really delicious. Four stars rather than five as it benefits from a few tweaks - I put a stock pot in when I added the water, I used a green ghost chilli (a hot variety!) to add a bit of a kick, and in the future I’d probably add some spinach or other green veg. The pearl barley does take a while to cook (and isn’t factored into the cook time listed) so make sure you start early enough. I chucked mine into the main pot when it wasn’t quite cooked yet but that was fine as it finished cooking with the veg.
Jennifer Battcock's picture
Jennifer Battcock
8th Mar, 2018
This soup is delicious! I followed the recipe except for the water I added half the amount with a box of Kitchen Basics vegetable broth. After reading the comments below I was surprised to see people writing the Soup was bland. My thought is there spices must be old.... because this was far from bland! Thanks for the great recipe!
1st Mar, 2017
Delicious! I used carrots instead of pearl barley and still really filling. Made 7 portions perfect for lunches
1st Feb, 2016
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.
12th Jan, 2016
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.
28th Oct, 2013
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.
5th Oct, 2013
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
19th Mar, 2013
Didn't have any parsnip, so used extra squash and sweet potato. Also used a veg stock cube. Really tasty soup!
26th Feb, 2013
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.


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