Posts Tagged 'soup'

Sambhar Lentil Soup

Sambhar

Occasionally, when I have leftover tadka dal I will convert it into a tasty soup using some vegetable stock and a handful or two of chopped vegetables. This is a cheat’s version of sambhar and as delicious as it is, it doesn’t compare to the real deal. This is my version.

Sambhar is prepared every day in South Indian homes and is eaten at all times of the day. Sambhar makes a tasty and filling lunch but can also be served as a more substantial main meal if served with some rice and homemade onion bhajis. I’d imagine it would make a great hangover “cure”, though of course I have no first-hand experience of this…

You can use any combination of vegetables you like – I used green beans, celery, courgette etc. because they’re easily available here in Ireland. You could also use aubergines, cauliflower, peas, broad beans or broccoli. You can use more authentic vegetables like okra and drumstick if you have an available supply. (Having tasted drumstick in restaurants, I am happy to leave out this most strange of vegetables!)

Ingredients

  • 225g toor dal
  • 750ml water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • thumb-sized piece of root ginger
  • a selection of mixed vegetables, chopped into small pieces (I used 1 red onion, 2 green chillies, 3 tomatoes, 2 carrots, 200g green beans, 1 stick of celery, 1 small courgette and a few pre-cooked baby potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
  • pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 15 curry leaves (fresh, if possible)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp sambhar powder (see below)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tamarind puree (or lemon juice)

Method

  1. First make the dal. Rinse the lentils and check for little stones. Rinse well using a sieve, then place in a large saucepan along with the water, turmeric and salt. Slice the root ginger into fine matchsticks.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off any scum that rises to the top of the cooking water. Reduce the heat and add the sliced root ginger. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally as the lentils will stick to the bottom of the pan as the liquid starts to evaporate. While the dal is cooking you can prepare the vegetables and spices.
  3. When the dal is cooked, heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the asafoetida, cumin and mustard seeds. Stir-fry until the seeds have started to pop, then add the curry leaves and chilli flakes. Fry for another few seconds before adding the vegetables.
  4. Stir-fry the raw vegetables for a few minutes then add the sambhar masala, stock and tamarind. Now add the cooked dal and stir to combine. Season with a little extra salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
  5. Taste for seasoning, then mix through a handful of chopped fresh coriander and serve.

Serves 6.

Notes

  • I use a commercial sambhar powder, available in any good Asian store. But you can make you own if you wish.
  • This is great recipe for using up any vegetables a little past their prime. You can also add leftover cooked vegetables. This is one of the first things I think of cooking when I have some leftover baby potatoes. Just add the cooked vegetables at the end to warm through.
  • You can add a little cooked basmati rice to make it more substantial or my favourite: a tin of cooked (and rinsed) chickpeas.
  • Needless to say, make sure you chop your vegetables according to cooking time. Carrots will take longer to cook than green beans, for example, so chop them smaller.

Salmon Ramen

Salmon Ramen

It’s always nice when you hit upon a recipe as quick and simple as this. It makes you wonder why you’ve never attempted it before. I marinated a salmon fillet with a couple of tablespoons of bottled teriyaki sauce. I then grilled the salmon on an oiled baking sheet for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, I made up two sachets of instant miso soup and added a few mange tout for a little crunch and colour. I ladled the miso soup on top of some cooked udon noodles and topped with the grilled salmon. I then garnished with some pickled red ginger.

I very much doubt the authenticity of this dish, but it worked exceptionally well. I’m not sure if the Japanese would ever put pickled ginger on top of a ramen dish. As for the mange tout, I’m sure some bean sprouts or shi-take mushrooms would work very well. Light and tasty, I’ll definitely do this again.

Serves 1.

Tom Kha Gai

Let’s just say there’s a lot of basil being used in the “Toasted Special” kitchen these days. I’m trying to cope with my first ever glut, and I’m not having a great deal of success. Like I said in a previous post, I sowed a generic variety of basil because it was too late in the year to sow the Genovese variety, at least according to the instructions on the packet. The basil I have is very different, probably closer in flavour to Thai basil, than Italian. It’s got a distinct citrus flavour, so I figured it would work nicely in some Thai influenced dishes. I’ve been making this soup for a few years now, it’s the classic example of how “hot, salty, sour and sweet” work together in South-East Asian cooking. It’s purely a matter of taste, so adjust the lime juice, sugar and fish sauce as you see fit.

I make no apology for using a bought Thai curry paste. I use an authentic brand from Thailand called “Mae Ploy”. If you’re in Dublin, you can get it the Asia Market or Fallon & Byrne. (No prizes for guessing where it’s cheaper!) They contain only natural ingredients and if it’s good enough for Thai people, it’s good enough for me!

Tom Kha Gai

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range chicken breasts
  • 750ml chicken stock (cube is fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 red chilli pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh basil

Method

  1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil, then add the chicken breasts. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat and leave to simmer very gently for about 10 minutes while you get on with making the rest of the soup.
  2. Heat some oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the onion until it’s just starting to colour. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the green curry paste and stir-fry for a minute or two to coat the vegetables in the paste.
  4. Remove the chicken breasts from the hot stock and add the stock to the spicy vegetables. Slice the chicken breasts thinly and add to the soup along with the coconut milk.
  5. Add the red chilli, lime juice sugar and fish sauce then simmer for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You probably won’t need any salt because the curry paste will be salty enough.
  6. Chop a handful of fresh coriander and basil and mix into the soup, then serve.

Serves 2.

Rasam Soup

Rasam Soup

Thinking about it, you’d probably never guess from the recipes on my blog that I’m a huge fan of Indian food. I’ve been experimenting with soups recently, trying to find a way of working the great flavours of Indian food into a soup. I’ve consulted lots of websites and recipe books and none of them came up to the mark. After a couple of attempts, I’ve abandoned the idea of sambhar; I just can’t seem to get good results from red lentils.

Somewhere along the way, I came across rasam. It’s a spicy Indian soup, tempered with the usual suspects like cumin, coriander and tamarind. I was keen to try it, but I decided not to adopt any of the recipes I’d read. Instead, I adapted the recipe for my favourite soup, Moroccan Chickpea, and introduced ginger and some Indian spicing. I figured I could keep the lemon juice as a replacement for the more authentic tamarind. It works just as well I’m sure, creating a nice sour note.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • root ginger, a thumb-sized piece, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 8 curry leaves, chopped, or broken if dried
  • 600 ml vegetable stock (Marigold is good)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • large handful chopped fresh coriander

Method

  1. Heat some olive oil in a large pot and gently fry onion, courgette, celery, ginger and garlic for 10 ten minutes until the onions are coloured and the celery is almost tender. Add the spices and curry leaves and fry for another minute.
  2. Turn up the heat and add the stock, tomatoes, chickpeas, and some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 8 mins.
  3. Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute.
  4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the chopped fresh coriander, then serve.

Serves 3-4.

Bacon & Bean Soup

Right, I know I’m overdosing on soups at the moment. Must be the sudden change in the weather. This is tasty stuff. You could add any vegetables you like to this; some pasta would be nice too.

soup_3

Ingredients

  • 8 rashers smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 leeks, halved and sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400g can mixed beans
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  1. Dry-fry the streaky bacon in a non-stick pan, no need to add oil, until it’s golden.
  2. Add the leek and celery and fry on a moderate heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, beans, tomato purée, season well, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Before serving, season with freshly ground black pepper then mix in some chopped parsley and some grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 3-4.

Caldo Verde – Portuguese Green Soup

Granted, the so-called “Portuguese  Green Soup” in the photo here looks more red than green. But you get the idea.

Caldo Verde

Ingredients

  • chorizo, 150g-200g, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 head savoy cabbage, finely shredded

Method

  1. Fry the chorizo in a little oil until it starts to brown.
  2. Add the onion, celery & garlic and fry until the onions have coloured.
  3. Fry the chilli flakes and the paprika for a minute more.
  4. Add the stock, tomatoes, chickpeas and cabbage and simmer for about 8 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a handful of chopped parsley.

Serves 2-3.

Moroccan Chickpea Soup

soup_1

I’m not sure how authentically ‘Moroccan’ this is, but it’s quite possibly the most delicious soup I’ve ever made; and that includes my potato and leek effort which requires a pint of cream. It’s hot, spicy, sweet and sour. I’d imagine this would be a fantastic soup to cure a hangover; protein, Vitamin C, chilli-heat. Like a Moroccan Alka-Seltzer.

The lemon juice and fresh coriander lift this soup into a different dimension so don’t be tempted to omit either. You can substitute the vegetables and pulses as you wish.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 600 ml vegetable stock (Marigold is good)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp harissa (this will make the soup quite hot, so use less if you want)
  • 100g fine beans, chopped into 2cm lengths (or 100g frozen broad beans)
  • zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • large handful chopped fresh coriander

Method

  1. Heat some olive oil in a large pot and fry onion, celery and garlic for 10 ten minutes until the onions are coloured and the celery is almost tender. Add the ground cumin and fry for another minute.
  2. Turn up the heat and add the stock, tomatoes, green beans, chickpeas, harissa and some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 8 mins.
  3. Add the lemon juice and cook for another minute.
  4. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the lemon zest and fresh coriander, then serve.

Serves 3-4.