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

 

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When life gives you tomatoes…

A basketful of tomatoes that was sitting on my counter-top for a while. Tired of the typical dishes with tomato, I wanted to try something that I have not with tomato. This unassuming vegetable, which serves as the base for most of Indian dishes hardly takes the center-stage. Au contraire, Tomato Bhartha is all about tomato and just tomato. The sour and sweet taste of tomato is unmistakable and if you like tomatoes, you will fall in love with this simple yet satisfying dish.

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Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Cooking, Desi

 

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Thai Peanut Sauce

May be due to the use of similar spices or an abundance of coconut and peanut in the food – whatever it be, most Indians especially South Indians really like Thai Food. I have made Pad Thai at home and when I saw this recipe, I knew I had a perfect recipe for a peanut sauce. Thanks Susan. This sauce is perfect with tofu and veggies on brown rice for dinner or as a side to tofu for hors d’ oeuvres.

Thai Sauce

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Posted by on June 15, 2008 in Cooking, Thai

 

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Twin paths to a delectable tofu

Tofu, a food that resembles paneer or cheese, is formed by curdling soy milk with a coagulant, usually edible gypsum or nigari. Tofu has been in use from 200 B.C. when a zealous cook stumbled upon tofu by chance when he added nigari (magnesium chloride, found in ocean water) to flavor the soy milk. This reminded me of the origin of dulce de leche – seems to me that a lot of tasty foods were created more by accident than design 🙂

Tofu is available in soft(silken) and firm varieties. Soft tofu is easy to blend, and is used in a lot of vegan desserts and soups, whereas firm tofu retains shapes well, and is used in stir-fry, grilling and baking. Tofu is rich in protein, and hence a good source of protein for vegetarians and more so for vegans. It is also widely believed that the spread of Buddhism, which preached strict vegetarianism helped the spread and popularity of tofu. The health benefits of tofu are enormous, including but not limited to its cardiovascular protection and anti-cancer properties. While there are a lot of benefits to tofu, it contains goitrogens which interfere with the functioning of thyroid glands. You might want to go easy on tofu, if you have (or suspect) thyroid issues.

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Posted by on April 9, 2008 in Chinese, Cooking

 

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