Friday, January 7, 2011

soup dinners : sweet n sour mixed vegetable clear soup with tofu

The magic of sweet n sour in a bowl of colorful soup. This one is not as quick as the previous ones as some time for chopping the vegetables is required but I don't mind handling these colorful ingredients, these are always a pleasure to work with ....


If you enjoy cooking food for your family as much as I do this soup will be a crowd pleaser I must tell you. So the chopping bit can be done smilingly even if you are scared of the knives and the board .... for me it is an indulgence ...anyone who is a foodie loves cooking generally but it can be therapeutic and please take notice if you are reading this just as an academic interest..

 See the colorful ingredients and save me from listing them here .....the bok choy, the bases slit lengthwise and the leaves chopped , beans and baby corns cut in a slanted manner , spring onions ...white parts slit and leaves chopped , mushrooms and carrots chopped in slices , tofu cubed and lots of garlic , ginger and green chillies very finely chopped .... Some soy sauce , tomato ketchup , pineapple juice and pine apple cubes will be used later in the process....


To proceed cooking , heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan and shallow fry the tofu cubes till pinkish brown and drain them . Flash fry all the vegetables in the same pan , adding the leafy green parts later while frying . The vegetables are fried just for a minute so they do not loose their color and crunch . Keep all these into a separate plate ....


Now add the chopped ginger garlic and green chillies in the same pan which is still greased after the previous frying ....keep the flame very low this time and stir fry the ginger-garlic-chilly till they are all fragrant , add a splash of soy sauce ( as much as you like ) and a tsp or two of white vinegar . Mix and add some tomato ketchup ( I add about 1/4 of a cup but it should be to taste and use fresh tomato puree if minding your sugars ) ...add a cup of pineapple juice and some cubed pineapple pieces too . Add enough water for the soup and let it come to a quick boil .


Add the stir fried vegetables and tofu and adjust seasonings .  There should a nice balance of sweet and sour and a bit of heat comfortable for your palate................ 


Serve immediately as you would like it hot . Tofu soaks the flavors like a sponge . You can see a similar recipe here which can be made into a soup if needed that way...



Every vegetable retains it's own character in this soup and the soup part is just so awesomely flavorful...

A complete meal as it has enough tofu to keep you full . Hard boiled egg cut into halves is also a nice addition if you are too hungry ...........


My smiley bowl wishes you again for a happy and healthy eating in the coming year.....

desi pumpkin soup with fennel.....

I like a certain saunfia kaddu ( fennel spiked pumpkin curry) very much and the husband loves it too. So i thought of converting it into a soup and it was great with the multi grain bread for dinner. Simple quick recipe and a comfort food ready to devour.


Just think of what all nutrients you are getting , lots of lycopene and carotenoids apart from the goodness of fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds too .

ingredients....

yellow fleshed pumpkin 250 gm
asafoetida a pinch
fennel seeds 2 tsp
fenugreek seeds 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp
a scant piece of seedless tamarind ( 1/4th of a pod )
mustard oil 2 tsp
salt to taste

procedure ...

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pan and throw in the asafoetida , fennel and fenugreek seeds . Wait till they turn fragrant , taking care not to burn them as the fragrance of these tow seeds is crucial to this soup.

Add the pumpkin pieces and toss to coat , add the turmeric and red chilly powders , toss again .... add the salt and the piece of tamarind . Add sufficient water for the soup and pressure cook for 5 minutes . Blend ( use hand blender if you have one ) and serve at once .

There is no need to sieve this soup as the seeds become quite soft after pressure cooking and get blended well. It is an aromatic soup and the first whiff of fennel gives way to a milder fenugreek . It is mildly tart and the flavors are balanced well to my taste and you would love it if you are like me .


The color of the soup is a bit dull , tamarind makes it so i guess but the flavors make a winning combination ..... make this if you don't care about the looks .... it is damn tasty and some pumpkin haters have found it yummy too.....
Two pumpkin soups back to back .... and both are terrific ... and quick ... 

Didn't i warn you there will be a hail of soups here ........

tomato and pumpkin soup .......



This soup is simpler than anything you do in the kitchen . The use of pressure cooker makes it quick and a hand blender saves your life when you are exhausted and need a warm soup before tucking into your cozy quilts . I am so missing my own bed and my quilt and of course the aroma of my own home cooked meals....

The recipe is so simple I don't feel like giving a list of ingredients separately . Just a fat slice of yellow pumpkin , a couple of tomatoes , 3-4 fat garlic cloves , two red tomatoes ( desi or heirloom will be the best ) , a fat fresh red chilly and a fat carrot ... some butter , salt and sugar to taste and you are sorted .... serves 2-3 persons .

Assuming you have already placed your pressure cooker on the gas stove ...

Keep the flame low and thrash 3-4 cloves of garlic with skin . Heat a tbsp or two butter in the cooker pan and throw in the garlic .

Slit a fat red chilly ( I used the one used for stuffed pickles in the north of India ) and throw into the pan ... red chilly flakes will be equally great .

Cube a 250 gm piece of yellow fleshed pumpkin ans a fat carrot quickly as you go on adding these to the pan . Toss well to coat and let these brown a bit on the edges as you chop 2 tomatoes in quarters .

Toss again and add salt while the tomatoes get mushy . Add water and a little sugar ( 1 tsp) and pressure cook for 5 minutes.

Blend the soup as soon as the pressure releases , pass through the soup quickly through a strainer and heat once more if needed . I do not need it normally as there are no other things added after this .

Serve at once with the choice of your bread , we had it with ghee toasted oatmeal bread , yes... homemade as always . A sandwich will be good if you are very hungry at the end of the day....


The soup is thin as no thickeners are used , almost a drinking consistency .....bursting with flavors as you sip . Garlic and fresh red chilly do a lot of good to this soup . Simple flavors and a lot of carotenoids making a splash of colors on your dinner table . These pictures are taken in the light of a CFL bulb and still I like the bright color .....

What about you ???

creamy garlicky spinach soup .. low fat version...

Green is the master healer , the sight of green conspires with the universe somewhere to make you feel better... and a green soup with hints of garlic makes me feel great in the winter nights .....another star of my winter soup dinners ...


Winters are going great , foggy evenings and gulabi dhoop ( light sunshine which we Indians so relish after the scorching summer sun ) .... mornings are dark and foggy as well but that is something i love to miss .... being in my bed till late...

Making this soup is quite easy and the flavors are quite predictable ... the reason why i wanted to share this soup here is the awesome taste , even the spinach haters have been found slurping this soup happily .... the nose chilling winters obviously help in making you like this soup :) ... garlic is one major reason for me.

A burst of green on my screen right now ...  I am definitely liking posting it here ...



ingredients....
( for two servings )
spinach chopped 250 gm
potato chopped 1/2 cup
onion diced 1/2 cup
garlic chopped 1 tbsp
green chillies ( preferable the bigger varieties for less heat n more flavor ) 3-4
fresh cream 1 tbsp
butter 2 tsp
salt n pepper to taste

procedure....

Heat the butter in a pan and throw in the garlic , onions and green chillies in that order .... keeping gaps of a few seconds . Toss after each addition.

Add the potatoes , salt n pepper , toss again and keep covered on low heat so that the potatoes are cooked through . Do not brown any of the ingredients and sprinkle water if needed.

Add the spinach and let it wilt while stirring . Add water or diluted milk ( i prefer water ) and let it boil lightly .

Take the soup off heat and blend with a hand held stick blender , you may need to cool it down if you are using a food processor .

Heat the soup again , add the cream and let it blend well before serving it piping hot with your choice of bread or bread sticks .... we loved it with lightly toasted whole wheat bread with garlic again...


Winters are just an excuse , the soup is great and you know it is going to heal you inside out ......it does that to me .....

turnip and tomatoes in a soup ...


Here i am wishing all my health concious friends a happy new year . I hope you are still sticking to your new year resolution to keep fit although i have lost my track to healthy eating  . Right now i am in Chennai gorging on the food of this land voraciously and i am not regreting being on these high calorie hearty meals here. I needed this treat for myself and i know i will be on my healthy eating routine once i am back home.

I had some nice winter soups in my drafts and decided to post some of them as i am kinda missing my home cooked soup dinners here , as much as I am missing the Delhi winter . Don't be surprised if my soup dinners come in a series here ..... overindulgence in the good things is always good ....


And this soup makes me feel hungry , we had it with toasted garlic bread and with a bit of white butter on top and it was awesome , I can still smell it ....

Anyone who likes turnip will be making this soup again and again and those who hate turnips may want to try it once as the inclusuion of tomatoes , celery and peas makes the taset really tempting .

ingredients...

two samll blushing turnips
2 stalks of celery , stems and leaves
4-5 cloves of garlic
2-3 green chillies
2 medium tomatoes
one cup of peas
1.5 tbsp of oatmeal
salt n pepper to taste
butter or ghee or any other oil of your choice 2 tsp

procedure.... 

The recipe becomes very quick if you use a convenient chopper or food processor . I chopped the turnips , celery stalks and green chillies together in my chopper and then in the second batch the tomatoes were chopped to make a slush ...

Heat butter in a kadai or pan and add the finelt chopped garlic to it , wait till the garlic is a bit transluscent . Add the chopped turnips , celery stalks and green chillies at once and stir fry on very low flame . Microwave the peas in the meanwhile , or steam them.


Add the finely chopped tomatoes , salt and mix well . Add the cooked peas and water , enough to submerge everything and some more .


Chop the celery leaves and add to the cooking mixture , add the oatmeal too and let it boil for a couple of minutes ...


Adjust salt and pepper ...and serve immediately with some white or yellow butter ....


There is a lot of texture in this soup but it can be blended before adding the peas if you like it smooth . And the soup does not need any breads along with it as it has a bit of oatmeal in it . Homemade whole wheat bread toasted with garlic butter makes a nice accompaniment if you are ravenously hungry...


The foggy winters demand a warm comfort and all the things your body needs in this season is there in this soup.... I assume a chikki and nuts overload during the day ...this dinner balances out that indulgence ...

Enjoy...