dinner soups : black carrot soup with walnuts and feta , making the most of the season
I absolutely believe in the theory of demand and supply. Although the market has now started manipulating the demand by creating a fake demand for marketing some cheap and faux foods, the faux foods are made desirable using the medium of advertising, sponsored research and peer reviewing.
In such a situation we as consumers have a bigger responsibility in ensuring the food and ingredients we get are real if not organically grown. We must start asking for foods and ingredients that we want and not fall for what is available, the market responds.
My experience is that when I started asking my neighborhood subziwalas to bring chane ka saag (chickpea shoots) they slowly started bringing and now I see many of them bring it more frequently. Likewise happened for many other greens, heirloom varieties of lime, cucumbers and many more native vegetables. Similar has happened to black carrots too and I am so glad to see them in abundance this year more than ever. That needs to be celebrated and I have been cooking with black carrots a lot this season.
And black carrots are cheaper than the last few years this time, almost half the price I must add. Good news.
And when I want to use a lot of one particular vegetable I normally soup it up. Imagine you consume about 300 gm black carrots in one meal. So much antioxidants and flavonoids in one meal and I do take care to supplement it with enough proteins and fats so the meal is balanced, nutrient absorption is taken care of.
(2 large, meal servings or 6 soup servings for a multi course meal)
500-600 gm black carrots cleaned and diced in irregular pieces
150 gm red shallots or baby onions quartered (use less or skip if you don't like their sweetness)
6-8 pods of garlic chopped roughly
few springs of marjoram or any herb you like (celery works or ad coriander greens)
2 tsp mustard or olive oil, I have been using more mustard oil lately
1 tbsp tahini or roasted sesame paste
2-3 tbsp thick cultured yogurt (whisked)
about 10 walnuts halves
some feta cheese, more the merrier
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker pan or a deep pan and tip in the garlic, onion and diced black carrots. Add salt and pepper and toss and stir till it all looks glazed and slightly browned at the edges.
Add marjoram or whatever herbs you are using, toss a little and add about 100 ml water. Fix the lid and cook till the first whistle blows. Take off the heat and let the cooker cool. I normally do this in the morning when I cook my breakfast and lunch and leave the pressure cooker undisturbed till required for the dinner.
If coking in a stock pot you need a little more water, cook covered till softened.
Now blend the contents when the soup needs to be served. Transfer the contents of the cooker to a blender along with tahini, yogurt and a little water if required. Blend till smooth.
Transfer to the pot and simmer, adjust seasoning and serve topped with broken walnuts and chunks of feta cheese.
This has been a satisfying delicious soup this season. We normally didn't need any breads with it but you can serve some garlic bread with it and make the meal even more interesting.
We keep some broken walnuts and feta chunks on the side for this soup and keep adding as we go. It does add a lot of texture and flavor to this thick and creamy soup.
Do try soon and let me know if you like. The soup can be made with beet root too but I think the flavours may need some fine tuning as black carrots and beets have very different flavour profile. If you use half red carrots and half beets it might be a better idea.
I crave for my soup dinners when I am traveling trust me. Just back from a long trip to Hyderabad where I was attending the National Permaculture Convergence and even presented 2 sessions about 'health, nutrition and it's correlation with soil' and another on 'native and wild foods'. More on that later, enjoy black carrot soup with walnuts and feta till then.