Monthly Archives: November 2010
For the longest time, soups (and salads for that matter too) were synonymous with diet food, to me. I never truly enjoyed them and didn’t care much for them. I could never have them for a meal; I tolerated them enough to have them soups as an appetizer before a big buffet lunch. I could have never foreseen that I would be making soups regularly at home for dinner and ENJOY eating them. Oh! how we all change with time 🙂
When I was perusing the cooking section @ my local library, this book – Love Soup – seemed interesting enough to pick. I glanced through this book and found quite a few interesting recipes – some old, some new and some wild. I have earmarked quite a few of them to try and this was the first one that I made. If I can make a judgment call on 160 recipes based on just 1, then this book is a keeper. There are some recipes that sounds really exotic but you know it won’t work for various reasons and some that sounds exotic and plausible but doesn’t turn out as good. This one sounds exotic (the soup is named “Indonesian”, for crying out loud 🙂 ), downright practical, comes together in a jiffy and tastes delicious. So, now tell me, whats not to like about this soup and this book?
I picked this soup out of the scores of others that I had earmarked as I had all the ingredients needed for this soup handy – yes, I am cheap and lazy 🙂 But don’t ask me, why I bought parsnip, for the first time, during my previous grocery run – I have no clue either. It was there, sitting fresh and pretty in a parsnip-y way and I couldn’t resist buying it. Most often, I buy things out of a whim and scurry around for a recipe to use them but this time somehow, everything came together ever so correctly.
Not sure how many of you out there are true recipe followers but I am not. Almost always, I cannot stay 100% true to a recipe, I always add a little something of my own to it, and in a weird way, feel that it completes my cooking experience. The little twist that I added to the recipe makes it mine and personal. This recipe has my twist as well and I have made a note of it, so that you can omit it, if you are not upto it.
Spicy Indonesian Peanut Soup
1 Parsnip – peeled & cubed
2 Sweet potato – peeled & cubed
1 Carrot – peeled & cubed
1/2 radish – peeled & cubed (this is my addition, omit it if you are not a radish fan)
1 onion – chopped finely
4-5 Garlic cloves – chopped finely
3-4″ ginger piece – chopped finely
2 green chillies
1 Tbsp – Tamarind paste
1 tsp coriander-cumin-red chillies powder (original recipe called for curry powder, and I don’t use this, just like most Indians)
A handful of curry leaves (original recipe called for coriander, since I didn’t have it @ home, substituted with curry leaves)
2 tsp – Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp – Lemon Juice
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients except peanut butter & lemon juice, add sufficient quantity of water, close the lid and let it cook for about 30 mins. Alternatively, you can pressure cook this too. (Note: as per the original recipe, you have to boil the vegetables & saute onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind & the curry powder and then add the sauteed mixture to the vegetables. I just boiled everything together so I can make it in a single pot.)
Once the veggies are fork tender, blend them well, preferably using a hand-blender.
Now add the peanut butter & lemon juice and let it simmer for about 5-10 mins. Believe it or not, that’s it and the soup is ready to devour!
Optionally, you can toast some peanuts and use it for garnishing the soup.
As with every Diwali, I started out with Mysore pak this diwali too. I overestimated the amount of mysore pak I made, so ended up pouring it onto a bigger plate resulting in anorexic-looking mysore pak, instead of healthy-looking ones 🙂
Followed this with thenkuzhal, a savory murukku without the spikes and spice; thenguzhal is fairly easy to make, provided you have the murukku mould.
Mix 4 parts of rice flour to one part of urad (black gram) dhal flour, add a tsp of cumin seeds, salt (~tsp), a dollop of butter with water to make a dough that is almost like a pizza or chappathi dough.
Fill the dough into the murukku mould, and press it into the oil, in a circular motion. Fry them till they are done – as soon as you press them into the oil, it bubbles up and then it subsides. Wait for a few seconds after the bubble stops, turn it and let it cook for a few seconds (a minute maximum) and then take it out using a slotted spoon.
Take care not to brown it and also, do a taste test for crunchiness so you can adjust the cooking time accordingly.
And finally, inspired by Soma, I also made a dried fruit & nut burfi. Picture & recipe to follow soon.
We are well into November and there is no doubt that Fall has arrived unlike the hide-and-seek that Summer played, at least in this part of the world. The evenings are dark and gloomy, especially so after the time change. It is so cold, even inside the house, that I don’t feel like spending long hours in the kitchen to cook. Time for one pot dishes (are you listening?) and more specifically, soups. Nothing feels more comfortable than snuggling over a warm bowl of soup and to make it more luxurious, some garlic bread.
Fall is the season for squashes and melon, and my local produce store has an abundance of these. These beauties look very tempting; it takes a lot of self-control to not splurge and buy lot more than the two of us can possibly consume. Over the years, I have devised a system whereby I don’t buy more than one variety of squash every week, lest I end up wasting them. Anyway, it was time to buy butternut squash last week, which, to me, is easily the best among equals. They have a vibrant orange color with a deep nutty, sweet taste that is amplified when roasted. I have made pasta with these occasionally but the soups are easily the best.
Roasted Butternut Squash – Apple Soup
1/2 Butter nut squash (cut vertically)
1 Apple – cored and cubed
1/2 Onion – chopped coarsely
1 Tomato – quartered
2 Green Chillies – split length-wise
1/2 cup Black (kala) Channa – soaked for about 8 hrs
Seeds from 1 Pomegranate
1 Tbsp Almond Butter
1 Tsp Tamarind paste
1 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt (more or less, based on your taste buds)
1 Tbsp – roasted and powedered coriander, cumin & redchillies
2 Tsp Oil
Chop the butternut squash into 4 big pieces, brush them with oil and roast them till they are fork-tender. Scoop the roasted squash using a spoon, while leaving the skin intact. Alternatively, you can peel the skin before roasting the squash.
In a thick-bottomed vessel or a cast iron pot, add a tsp of oil, followed by onion, tomato, green chillies, apple and salt; close the lid and let it sweat for a while.
After about 10 minutes, add the roasted squash, kala channa, tamarind and the coriander-cumin-red chilly powder. Let this cook for another 10-15 minutes. Do *not* add any water.
Add a cup of water and puree this concoction either in a blender or using a hand-held blender. Add the almond butter and pomegrante seeds, not before saving a couple of spoonfuls for garnishing, and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Ladle it into soup bowls, garnish with the reserved seeds and serve. Perfect meal for Fall evenings.
For those of you who are wondering at the unconventional list of ingredients: I did not follow any recipe for this soup, that I made yesterday and improvised as I went along. I craved for something that is spicy but sweet, nutty and tangy, which resulted in this soup. So, be creative and feel free to add or omit ingredients that you prefer (or not) and believe me, you will not go wrong 🙂
More Thursday Challenge pictures.
Given that this blog has remained more inactive than active, I never thought that the blog would hit the 100 mark, post-wise. So, having reached the century mark, I feel more relieved than happy that the blog has survived, atleast so far. Knowing me, I don’t know if I would still be blogging next month leave alone next year, so celebrating my blog when I can, in the now!
Thank you all for your encouragement and support, for without you, I would not be here.
More Thursday Challenge pictures.