Bliss in a bowl. Really. Creamy, packed full of nutrients and filling besides, especially when paired with roti, salad and a fulfilling dal dish, this soup is a gem on any menu. Suggested menu to share with guests would be Besan Rotis, Cracked Black Pepper Rice, a leafy green salad and Toor Dal Palak. You simply cannot go wrong with hot vegetable soup, especially when the wind is blowing directly into your work space. I need my fresh air, but oh, I am not especially smitten with the cold blast that envelopes me. I adapted this recipe from Yamuna Devi’s extensive and informative cookbook, “Lord Krishna’s Cuisine – The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking”. Do use any combination of seasonal vegetables in place of the ones I have used here if desired.
This is also my submission to this month’s No Croutons Required. The theme for February is to come up with a creamy soup or salad. You have until the 20th to come up with a vegetarian dish suitable for the challenge.
Indian Mixed Vegetable Soup
3 – 4 hot green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into thin strips
1 tablespoon of black mustard seeds
1/2 cup of dry roasted unsalted cashews
4 cups of vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of jaggery or brown sugar
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 tablespoon of ghee or a combination of butter and oil
1 1/2 – 2 pounds of vegetables (I used 2 large potatoes, diced, 1 small turnip, diced, 3 carrots, thinly sliced, dried mushrooms – soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and drained and chopped – 1 large stalk of celery, chopped, and a small handful of green beans, chopped)
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon of black onion seeds
a small handful of dried curry leaves
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a combination of butter and oil
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
juice from one lemon
a generous handful of fresh parsley, chopped
a sprinkle of garam masala
In a blender or food processor, combine the chilies, ginger, mustard seeds and cashews and pulse until the mixture is coarse. Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock or water, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, Dijon mustard, sugar and salt and process until smooth.
In a large pot, add the remaining 3 cups of stock or water, the mustard water, vegetables, butter and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more stock or water if necessary. Remove from the heat.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee or butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. When hot, toss in the cumin seeds, fennel, black onion seeds and curry leaves. Stir and fry for a few minutes. Pour the spices into the soup, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Partially blend the soup with a hand mixer or in batches in a blender. Add the black pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Sprinkle with a bit of garam masala and serve hot.
Serves 6 – 8.
On the top of the reading stack: Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey by Najmieh Batmanglij
Audio Accompaniment: 1981 : Guentner;Markus by Markus Guentner