Tag Archives: soup

In Sickness and in Health: Sweet & sour Spinach soup with nuts

6 Jun

This is a wonderful recipe that belongs to my mum. I have never been an avid eater of spinach. Actually, I mostly try and avoid it. But this particular dish is so yummy that I can help but eat a few bowlfuls.

If you are somebody who cannot stand that distinct smell and taste of spinach, then this dish is worth a try, because by the end you will really not be able to tell that you’re eating spinach! It’s tangy-ness  hits the back of your palate, the balance of sweet and salty and the crunch of the nuts under your teeth, is a delight both taste and texture wise.

This is a great soup when you’re feeling sick (spinach is great for strength. Remember Popeye? Its full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and iron) or when you’re looking for something exciting to go with your meal.

(Although I’m calling it a soup, back home in India this is a ‘bhaji’ or vegetable to be eaten either with roti or rice.)

What you need:

300 gm of Spinach leaves (stalks cut)

7-8  cloves of garlic pounded/ finely sliced

a small piece of ginger grated / finely sliced

half a cup of cashew nuts (I personally prefer peanuts instead of cashews)

2 tbsp gram flour (if gram flour is hard to find, you can use regular flour instead, but it will compromise on the flavour a little)

2 tbsp tamarind pulp (or better still, a lemon-sized portion of fresh tamarind)

4 cups of water

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

1 tsp fennel seeds

For the Tadka (or garnish)

2 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp hing

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garlic paste (or 2 cloves of garlic pounded)

1/2 tsp dried corriander powder

1/2 tsp fennel powder

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

(when giving the tadka, try to follow the sequence in which the ingredients are listed)

What to do:

Boil the spinach leaves in 4 cups of water with garlic, ginger and fennel seeds in a pot until soft. Leave it aside to cool.

When cooled, crush the leaves with the back of a wooden spoon (or anything else that is strong) to make them  more fine. Add gram flour, tamrind pulp, cashews , salt and sugar. Keep it on sim till the cashews cook.

For the Tadka, heat oil in a saucepan until its really hot. Now add the ingredients in the same order as given above. Switch off the heat when the spices are sufficiently fried (this usually takes a minute).

Now add the the tadka to the soup. Done!

Serve it hot on its own, or as we traditionally do with plain steamed rice or warm rotis.

(Note: Since the soup tends to get thicker as it cools down, add sufficient water and heat the next time you want to eat it. )

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Detox Vegetable Soup and Crunchy Mixed Salad

8 Apr

As I eat this very healthy detox soup and salad, I have a vision of myself sitting high up on a snow mountain in mediation. Haha. No, really, this is healthy food to the hilt, its what we in India call yogic,  “sattvic” food.

As the name suggests, this food is not meant to be ‘rajasic’ or stimulating to the taste bud. And believe me, I was really worried about who was going to eat all this soup and salad when it was made.

But happily, I was proved wrong. The soup was found to be “tasty” (my flatmates swore by it) and the salad was literally gone in minutes.

So first things first, the Crunchy Mixed Salad.

I got this recipe from my friend and ex-school mate Krittika. I made a few minor changes in the recipe, like adding seasonal four-leafs to it, but it is more or less the same as described in her version:

What you need:

A handful of cherry tomatoes
A handful of sprouts
One Red Bell Pepper
One Yellow Bell Pepper
Black Olives
Salt
Pepper
Lime Juice
Feta Cheese (Optional)

What to do:

Wash the cherry tomatoes and sprouts and put them into a bowl.
Cut the red and yellow bell peppers into two equal halves and remove the seeds.
Take one half of the red and yellow bell peppers and slice them into thin slivers and add them to the bowl. Take the two remaining halves of the bell peppers and roast them on the gas until they are lightly charred.
Once they are cool, wipe the charred area with some soft tissue and cut into slivers. Add into the bowl.
Add olives, salt and pepper to your liking. Add lime juice and sprinkle feta cheese into the bowl- gently mix the salad with your hands and serve immediately.
Sounds yummy right? Looks absolutely dashing too. I’m sure it does great for when you have guests to impress 🙂

And now, the Detox Soup.

Another friend of mine and coincidentally, an ex-school mate from the same school, Meghna, suggested I try the Itsu 7 Vegetable Detox soup. But because I don’t live close by, I couldn’t get my hands on it. Instead, I googled it, got an idea of what the basic ingredients were and then I simply improvised!

So the 7 vegetables you need are: Beans, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, red bell pepper, mushrooms and coconut (though this isn’t technically a vegetable, it is used such in the recipe. I used it in coconut milk form)

You will also need:
Lime juice
Ginger juice (or you can use ground powder if its more convenient)
Salt to taste
Water, ofcourse
Glass noodles (I didn’t include these in my recipe

What to do:

Chop vegetables and keep aside.
In a large pot, boil 1 part coconut milk and 2 parts water. Add lime and ginger juice to it.
Now put in all the cut vegetables and boil till they are cooked. Add salt. Done!

Simple and fast. The best thing I like about it is that I dont have to use any oil or butter for it!

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

There is a worm in my soup

19 Nov

If it had not been for my Chinese flatmate, I would have never discovered the brilliance of the Chinese Caterpillar Fungus. It is basically a fungus that  feeds and grows inside a caterpillar, till the host dies and is mummified.What has that got to do with food? Well, for one, it makes it extremely healthy and its also supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Imagine that.

So my flatmate used it recently in a soup that he made called Ton Chun Xya Chao i.e. Winter Worm Summer Grass soup.

The worm and the soup.

Here are the ingredients for the soup:

300gms Boneless chicken, cut in inch-long square pieces

1 tbsp  Korean Gensing  Soup Powder

1 Spring Onion, chopped

1 lt water

Salt to taste

(if you can’t get hold of a Chinese Caterpillar Fungus, do not fret. Most of us on this side of the Universe can’t. Just stay away from too much fat and salt, and you’ll stay healthy anyway.)

How to make it:

Really easy. Put all these ingredients on slow boil for atleast, ATLEAST 4 to 5 hours. Done. Seriously.

Read more about the Chinese Caterpillar Fungus here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caterpillar_fungus

Super Bryan makes Pork Papaya Soup for the Party

2 Nov

Super Bryan, my flatmate, recently made this soup for 6 of his friends.

Its a Chinese preparation and is called Phai ku twa mu qua, translated: pork ribs boiled papaya.

It’s got an interesting taste, and while its relatively easy to make, you have got to be in it for the long haul (because this blessed thing takes at least 3 hours to turn out).

What does it taste like? In the words of Super Bryan, “A little sweet, and mainly just very very good.” I suggest you Go For It.

So. Here’s what you have to do if making it for six people. Just do the math if its four or two.

What you need:

Pork Ribs  1 kg

Ginger paste 2-3 tbsp

Spring Onions 2, chopped

Water 4 ltrs

Salt 6 tbsp

Small sized Papaya 2, chopped

pa-pa-ya

Super Bryan's super cutting skills

What to do:

On a high flame, bring the water to boil and add the pork ribs, ginger, spring onions and salt. Let it boil till the pork cooks.

Lower the heat to medium and add the Papaya.

Boil for AT LEAST 2 hours. More, if you want the taste to improve. Add more salt later if required. Done!