Course 8 - Sprouted lentil soup

At this point in the meal we're past the crest of rich courses, and done with the first palate cleanser. This is the final savory course - a comforting hot soup to sip on and wind down. Sprouted lentils, pickled scallion, and crispy rice add interesting textures and flavors to a fragant dashi broth flavored with onions. The broth gets a rich umami flavor from kombu and dried mushrooms, saltiness from soy sauce, and sweetness from onions and mirin. The dish is finished with beads of rendered duck or beef fat, which do miracles for the "professional" feel of the dish. All credit for this dish goes to David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos - I saw this dish prepared on Mind of a Chef and knew I had to make it for myself.

I've made this dish with a variety of onions - torpedo onions, an interesting variety with an elongated bulb, and the ones used in David Kinch's preparation, and also with wild spring onions that looked good at the farmer's market. Use the best-looking onion variety available to you - chances are it will be great.

The original recipe calls for puffed buckwheat, which I had a surprisingly difficult time procuring. I substituted a crispy rice cereal (yes, basically rice krispies), which held their texture and worked perfectly well. The lentils soaked for 12 hours, and then covered for an additional 36 hours, to let them develop tiny sprouts and a nice texture despite being uncooked - you'll need to plan the time accordingly (unlike me - if you scrutinize the photo you'll notice I ran out of time to soak/sprout properly)!


For 4 servings.

1 cup lentils, mixture of green and Le Puy

1 cup crispy rice

1 tsp rendered duck or beef fat

For the broth:

1 qt water

1 sheet rausu kombu

5-7 dried shiitake mushrooms

4 torpedo onions, or mixture of wild spring onions and shallots

Soy sauce


Rice vinegar

For the pickled scallions:

2 scallions

1/2 cup champagne vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tsp kosher salt


  1. 48 hours in advance, prepare the sprouted lentils: Soak the lentils in water for 12 hours. Drain well and remove to a baking tray lined with paper towels. Let sit in a dark place for 36 hours - they should develop tiny sprouts.
  2. 1 day in advance, prepare the pickled scallions: trim the scallions down to the whites. Mix the champagne vinegar, water, and salt, bring to a boil, and pour over the scallions. Chill in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Prepare the onion broth (this can be done ahead of time and reheated for service): wipe the kombu with a damp cloth (don't rinse), and bring to a simmer in the water. Simmer for 20 minutes, making sure it doesn't boil, remove and discard the kombu.
  4. Add the dried shiitake mushrooms, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the mushrooms. Thinly slice the torpedo onions, and add to the broth. Steep for 15 minutes, seasoning with the soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar to taste.
  5. Remove and discard the onions.
  6. To plate: thinly slice the pickled scallions, and add a small spoonful to each bowl, along with a spoonful of the sprouted lentils and crispy rice. Add just under a cup of broth to each bowl, and finish with drops of the rendered fat.

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