Addicted as I am to cookbooks, my most recent obsession is Silk Road Cooking by Najmieh Batmanglij. Such a lovely gift to receive from my dear friend Susan. Absolutely stunning pictures and commentary, along with 150 recipes that vegetarians will be drooling over. I have already bookmarked several dishes to try and I am sure this will become a treasured addition to my collection. I know my dining friends have been wowed by the results so far.
Surely this could be a coffee table book, but most importantly, the recipes are top notch and a visual feast adorned with artworks and extensive history. From China to the Middle East, this wonderful book compiles unique but accessible creations that will have you craving for more. A book to sit down with and read and a trusty book to cook from. Salads, soups, eggs, rice, fruit and vegetables, pasta, pizza, breads, pastries, desserts, beverages and preserves will certainly make your vegetarian tummy happy and also the tummies of your more carnivorous friends. Good energy certainly goes into the selections contained in this book. Definitely an enchanting experience in so many ways. Highly recommended from my vegetarian kitchen.
This soup was adapted by me, as I can never resist adding my own touches. I used carrots instead of the squash and included some green beans that I did not want to go to waste and also added some sun-dried tomatoes. I suggest you use the soaking liquid from the sun-dried tomatoes as it is like gold and imparts a nice flavor to this creamy and healthy soup. Serve with rice for a balanced meal.
Indian Tamarind, Carrot and Coconut Soup
4 tablespoons of butter, ghee, or oil
2 teaspoons of black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
a generous handful of dried curry leaves
2 teaspoons of sambar masala
1 tablespoon of curry powder (or a dash of asafetida, 1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds, 2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1/4 cup of ground cardamom, a pinch of saffron, freshly cracked black pepper and 3 tablespoons of dried fenugreek leaves)
2 – 3 hot green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound of carrots, diced
handful of green beans, chopped
1 cup of brown lentils, well washed and picked over for debris
6 – 7 cups of vegetable stock or water
1 – 2 tablespoons of sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
6 dried sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and drained and chopped
2 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup of rice flour, diluted in 1 1/2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of tamarind paste
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups of cilantro, chopped
In a large pot, heat the oil, butter or ghee over medium heat. When hot add the mustard seeds and stir and fry until they turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and stir and fry for another 30 seconds. Now add the onion, and stir and fry for another 5 minutes. Toss in the curry leaves, curry powder, sambar masala, chilies, carrots, green beans and lentils and stir and fry for another few minutes. Add the stock or water, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Add more stock or water as desired to achieve your desired consistency.
Partially blend the soup with a hand blender or in batches in a blender or food processor. Mix in the coconut milk, rice flour mixture, tamarind paste and sugar. Cover and simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve hot.
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