Mulligatawny soup

20160111_140328Brimming with luscious flavours, spiked with healing spices, you will fall in love with my variation on this anglo-indian soup. Muliga (pepper) + thanni (water) are the origins for this british soup that the brits borrowed from my rich tamil heritage 🙂

Last night I happened to rear end a car while driving home on the blusteriest of winter days.. My car buffeted, I was on the streetcar tracks, it was icy, my car screeched to a halt trying to not ram into the car in front that was trying to turn left. But, the elements, the road conditions got out of my hand. I lost control. After a long night of getting towed to the collision center, when I reached home, I kept reliving the episode, quite shaken at the turn of events. Still grateful that I was spared and only the car was a write off. This morning 20160111_140427when I woke up, I felt as if I had gone through a big fever or something, I felt the need to heal. I had made this batch of mulligatawny soup the night before for a friend with a fever and had some left over. Just the perfect soothing, nurturing, spicy, healing soup my mind and body needed. I remembered my grandmother making a variation of this soup and recalled the ingredients from memory. It was finger lickin good!

You need
¼ cup toor dal or pigeon peas (optional)
½ cup tomatoes
1 cm fresh ginger crushed

 

 

Spice paste
1 tsp yellow split peas
½ tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp curry leaves
2 dry red chilies
Salt to taste
Spice oil
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp curry leaves
Pinch hing

Garnish
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro

How to

• Cook toor dal if using with ½ cup water. I like to use it to add some protein into this soup. Puree and set aside.
• Heat pan for spice paste. Dry sauté(no oil) the spice paste ingredients. When roasted light brown grind to a thick spice paste with 2 tbsp water. Set aside.

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• Heat pan. Add coconut oil. Add mustard seeds, when they splutter toss in curry leaves, hing and turmeric powder. Add tomatoes & lightly sauté till cooked.
• Now add in the toor dal, 1 cup water, fresh ginger & tamarind paste.
• Let everything boil together.

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• Add in the spice paste & allow to come to another boil so there are no raw spice smells.
• Garnish with fresh cilantro.
• Serve with rice. I like to use sona masoori rice that is short grained & not sticky for this soup..

Oh!. The comfort of mulligatawny soup. For a few minutes I was transported to my grandma’s kitchen. Nurtured and healed through my car adventure. Hope you enjoy this well kept secret recipe. Doesn’t the broth look pretty and nourishing? I’d love to hear how you enjoyed it. What do you eat when you need nurturing? What’s your favourite go-to comfort food ?

20160111_140427–charuyoga–

Roasted butternut squash, pear, apple soup in turmeric & garlic spice oil

IMG_0004I’m so excited. I got a new dslr camera. After a long time of wishing I could post blogs daily. But unable to as my smart phone while does a pretty good job, can’t really capture the yumminess of meals I’m making daily.

Hence the canon dslr. I’m an absolute novice when it comes to devices. Yes, I often get asked by friends when I visit them. Oh you are a techie instructor. My printer isn’t working. Can you take a look at it? Never one to step away from help. I’ll gladly look at your printers, but there’s not much else I can do about it, I’m afraid. I teach software so if there’s a computer language out there that you need help with, I’ll gladly roll up my sleeves & find the answer for you, but appliances, devices, cars can be a tad frightening for this techie girl 🙂  

Speaking of which, you are absolutely going to love today’s post. I’m sure you’ve had butternut squash soup. Its not a newcomer to the world of soups.

IMG_0008But wait till you try my variation. An apple, a pear, a full head of garlic, and of course my special spice oil will really bring a fresh take on an old classic.

You need

1 medium butternut squash
1 medium cripps apple
1 red bartlett pear
1 whole head garlic

 

Spice Mix

½ tsp turmeric powder
2 dry red chilies
¼ tsp cumin
Salt to taste

Serves 4

How to
Wash butternut squash thoroughly. Cut into big chunks. Place in baking pan.
• Wash apple and pear, remove seeds and cut into chunks. Place in baking pan together with whole head of garlic.
• Brush 2 tbsp oil on the squash, apple, pear and garlic & toss veggies in pan till everything is nicely coated with oil.
• Bake in 3500C oven for 1 hour or till veggies are nicely roasted.
• Let cool and remove peel from squash. Some people think its ok to keep the peel on. I’m never sure. Since my food handling certification, I learnt how squash is not always grown in the most sanitary of conditions & can come in contact with contaminated soil. So wash thoroughly if you are not using certified organic. And because its tough to peel when raw , peel comes away easily after roasting. Peel roasted garlic.
• Keep skin on roasted apple and pear.
• Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan. Add cumin, turmeric, red chili & roasted garlic & sauté lightly.
• Now add the roasted squash, apple and pear. Add in 2 cups water and heat lightly for spices to integrate into the soup.
• Turn off heat. Puree soup in food processor.
• Serve warm with roasted chickpeas as garnish. Yum !

Health Benefits
Butternut squash is fantastic in anti-oxidants. Its one of the richest sources of plant based anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3s and beta-carotene. These are important for a strong immune system to help protect against colds and flu.
Apples are great for you. Though they don’t contain a lot of iron, they do help in iron absorption.
Garlic’s key ingredient, Allicin. is responsible for lipid-lowering, anti-blood coagulation, anti-hypertension, anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-microbial effects.
Pears are a good source of fiber.
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory.
Cumin is a digestive.

With this whopping list of goodies for your health, plus an amazing taste explosion with my take on butternut squash, what are you waiting for? Hurry, get yourself a squash & make this soup soon so you too can taste this divine goodness and all the health that goes with it.

Please send along advice, tips n tricks to make my photos pop. I would greatly appreciate anything you can share with me re taking the best pix of food.

What do you think. Do you like the dslr pix? Do they come out clearer than my previous smart phone pix?

–charuyoga–

Tomato Lentil Soup

The crunch of mustard seeds, the fragrance of a spice mix that has endured centuries, the broth of juicy tomatoes and lentils, this colourful soup will lift your spirits, captivate your soul and nourish your body.

Today’s post is for my friend Alison who asked- Your posts are nice and I try out your recipes . But I want more—can you post a full south Indian meal? I want to be able to make that and I have no idea how.

Here then is a typical meal for a southerner.

a. Rasam(or tomato lentil soup, today’s featured post)
b. Cauliflower curry
c. Steamed rice
d. Lentil crackers

I have to confess that Rasam(or tomato lentil soup) has been my favourite for years. Light, crisp & bursting with flavours its never heavy. It can be fiery hot depending on how much red hot pepper you add. But its a nice kind of heat, the kind that gets you breathing & alive again. It can be made in many different ways. I like the way my grandmother used to make it the best. For years I’ve been trying to duplicate her fragrant rasam. A tamil proverb talks about the cook’s hand making all the difference and I had sort of given up on ever getting it perfect.

To my pleasant surprise, today this rasam somehow became the best I’ve ever made. I’m not kidding: the fragrance, the texture & the appearance were ditto the original. It may have something to do with the heirloom tomatoes that I grew from seed & harvested from my yard. I wish there was some way for me to send over some of this fragrance wafting over my entire house. But this is the written word, so I’ll have to satisfy myself with writing about it.

Ingredients

Spice mix
(SOS – you could use a store bought mix but I like freshly ground best
• 1 dry red hot pepper
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• ¼ tsp fenugreek seed
• ¼ tsp cumin seed

Seasoning mix
• 1/3 tsp mustard seeds
• 1 tsp ghee( butter will do)
• 4 curry leaves
• 1 tsp fresh ginger, crushed
• 3 juicy tomatoes- medium
• ¼ cup yellow split lentils
•½ tsp lemon juice (optional)
• ½ tsp fresh cilantro leaves
Prep time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Pots n pans
• Pressure cooker
• Food processor
• Saucepan

Method
1. Wash and rinse lentils. Cover with water and add turmeric
2. Pressure cook till well cooked or you can cook in a crock pot.
3. Meanwhile in saucepan, dry roast spice mix. Let cool and then grind in food processor to a powder.
4. Chop tomatoes and set aside.(SOS – peeling tomatoes makes for a tastier soup. Dip tomatoes in hot water & then plunge into cold so peel comes off easily)
5. Heat ghee in saucepan. Add mustard seeds, let splutter and then add ginger and curry leaves. Toss once.
6. Add chopped tomatoes and salt and some water to cook. When tomatoes are cooked, add the powdered spice mix to saucepan. Let everything come to a boil so any raw smells vanish.
7. Add the cooked lentils, let come to a boil. Turn off stove. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
8. Serve with steamed rice.(SOS-l load the cooker with rice & lentils at the same time, to cut down cooking time)

Health benefits
You’ll find that the judicious mix of spice helps clear sinuses and relieve congestion in cool weather. The lentils add a protein punch, and tomatoes a well known anti-oxidant.

Fun facts
This soup is called name of Mulligatawny and was featured in Seinfeld, episode 116 entitled The Soup Nazi. Jerry, George and Elaine go out to a new soup stand Kramer has been raving about; its owner is referred to as the “Soup Nazi,” due to his temperament and insistence on strict discipline while ordering. The episode repeatedly describes mulligatawny as one of the Soup Nazi’s tastiest soups.

I hope you enjoyed this dish just as much as I did preparing it and writing about it. There are so many good spices in it that’s its hard to pick one as the main spice. I’ll leave it to you to tell me what you liked about this soup……