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Spicy Indonesian Peanut Soup

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.

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9 Comments

Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Cooking, One-pot Dish, Soup

 

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Fall Soup

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.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Cooking, General, Soup

 

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Methi Malai Matar Paneer

Uff! I know, just reading that is tiring; au contraire, the dish is really easy and quick to prepare and yumilicious to taste. There are some dishes that you grow up with and some are introduced to you through eating out @ restaurants, friend’s houses etc. But this was a recipe, I was introduced through the blog world and I had never tried or tasted this, till I made it. This is a dish that is super easy to prepare, but will taste as though it is a lot complicated with the methi and malai add distinctly different dimensions to it. A perfect party dish!

1 onion
7-8 green chillies
1/2″ ginger
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 Tbsp cashews
1/2″ cinnamon

Grind the above ingredients into a smooth paste.

Saute about a cup of cubed paneer in a tsp of oil, till they are golden on all sides. Keep this aside.

Saute the ground paste in a tsp oil, till the paste is rid of raw onion smell. (If you are really sensitive to raw onion smell, boil the onions in water for about 5 mins before you grind it). Now add

1 cup fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves (1/2 cup if you are using kasoori or dried methi leaves)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Cook this well for about 10 mins. Add 1/2 cup cream (or whole fat milk) to this boiling mixture and let it simmer for about 10 mins. That is it.

As I said, this is really easy to prepare and tastes well with rotis or parathas.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2010 in Cooking, Desi, General

 

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Three ways to Chutney heaven

Chutneys are the Indian equivalent of dips or spreads.  Usually, it contains one main ingredient ground with complimenting spices. There are a few blueprints for making chutneys and once you know this, you can whip up any kind of chutney, by simply switching the main component with something else that you like. In this post, I am going to write about 3 basic ways to make chutney. Once you master these 3 ways, you can replace the methi (Fenugreek) leaves with chayote squash peels, or coriander leaves with mint or any other herb and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2010 in General

 

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Garlicky Peppery Delicious… Rasam

The weather has definitely gone cold here and I can feel Winter fast approaching. Well, with the way temperatures have gone south, it already feels like Winter. These days, it is almost like we have only 2 seasons these days – summer and winter, whatever happened to spring and fall, I wonder! All I want to do these days is to snuggle on the couch with a throw thrown over me and vegetate like a couch potato. For a Wintery day, what is better than having lip-smacking good, peppery rasam!

Rasam is a light lentil-tamarind-tomato based South Indian dish that can be eaten as is like a soup or with rice accompanied with pappadum or a dry veggie side-dish. Rasam is usually a sour dish and its sourness mainly comes from tomato with a little help from tamarind or lemon. Rasam is the go-to dish when you are under a bout of cold or fever, as it is not as lentil-heavy as sambhar and very soothing for the throat.

Pepper Rasam

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Posted by on November 5, 2008 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

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Go green with spinach

Circa 2003. Those were early days of blogging and Route 79 was one of those early blogs that I use to read regularly. Written by a second generation Indian from Britain, he used to write about myriad topics including food. He chronicled a lot of authentic Punjabi recipes coming straight from his kitchen and were not as oil-masala loaded as the restaurant dishes. Given our love for spinach (spinach masiyal, the South Indian preparation of spinach is a staple in our house), it is no wonder that we love Saag and I never quite mastered the art of making it, till I found the fool-proof way in Route 79’s kitchen. I have made this recipe several times and it has turned out well every single time without any mishaps. This is my entry for Your Recipe Rocks event started by Madhu for this month.

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Posted by on June 6, 2008 in Cooking, Desi

 

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Asparagus soup

First off, apologies for not posting regularly for a while – there are phases in your life, when the mundane everyday grind takes control of your life so much that you have little time for anything else – even for things that you enjoy doing. The last couple or may be even three weeks was such a period in my life. Hope this doesn’t happen again and thanks a ton for all those folks who dropped a note to check on me. I am really touched. I am back (and hopefully, with a bang 🙂 ).

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Posted by on May 22, 2008 in Cooking, Italian

 

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