An easy soup to rejuvenate the soul!
Recently I have had visitors- my parents 🙂 and have been on a trip that begs the question-when are we returning? And thus the silence. But our blue moon has been out and Akkta’s contributions have been refreshingly summer.
Where have I been? To the Canadian prairies and the Rockies. Two stunning geographical regions with natural beauty and bounties unique to them. Did you know that farms in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan are producing a large portion of the world’s pulses? I learnt this last year and this time I got to see the endless miles of farms and ranches that fuel Saskatchewan and Alberta’s economy in addition to oil and gas. More of the history lesson later!
After so much traveling and eating out, often grab and go sandwiches, the palate and stomach were craving simplicity of taste. Soup was the answer! Lentil at that, a break from chicken noodle.
Dals or Lentils are an old Soup Ingredient
And then I found that the Swedish make soup with split pea lentils. Indians in the north are familiar with Lauki-Chane ki dal, made with split chick pea lentils and bottle gourd. I modified the soup by adding to it zucchini- an ode to lauki chane ki dal but without the Indian tadka and made with split pea lentils which is toor dal- the main constituent of sambhar.
Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour, 15 prep & 30 active.
Serves: 2-4 persons.
1 cup split pea lentils (Toor dal),
1 tbsp olive oil,
1 carrot (finely chopped),
1/2 zuchhini (diced),
1 tomato (broiled and chopped),
1/2 to 1 red onion (sliced),
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped),
1″ piece of ginger (finely chopped/grated),
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock),
1/4 cup fresh coriander (chopped),
Salt, pepper and red chili powder to taste.
1. First measure and wash the lentils, at least thrice in running water. Then soak them while you prep the vegetables.
2. I broiled the tomato. I find that helps break down the skin and of course adds flavour. You can do this in an oven broiler, in a countertop oven toaster grill or on the flame.
3. Chop the vegetables. I keep the skin on gourds like zucchini but if you would rather not then peel it off. But I always peel carrots. The photograph shows the size I use. The onions are sliced thin and then halved. So they aren’t too small.
- Rule of thumb: finely chopped vegetables take longer to dissolve. With onions, if caramelizing is the aim then keep them thick. Try it and see.
4.I used a pressure cooker to cook. If you don’t have one, use a deep pot with a heavy lid, a Dutch oven is great. In the utensil heat oil on medium high heat. Add garlic to it.Cook until you start smelling the garlic, don’t brown it. Reduce the heat to medium. Next throw in the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes . Add salt, pepper and chili powder. Finally add the rest of the vegetables and sauté.
5. After 5 to 7 minutes add the stock, close the lid and steam on high until you get two whistles, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat and let it simmer for another 10 minutes, turn off and open once the steam has escaped.
6. If you are in a hurry, raise the whistle with a fork or spoon to allow the vapour to escape. Keep hands away from the steam-it can burn you!
7. Split peas cook quickly. In 15 minutes they will be soft and between al-dente and well done. I likes thick soup. If you cook longer the pulse starts dissolving and thickens the soup.
8.Garnish with coriander and serve with soup sticks or bread.
Here are some other soulful recipes you might enjoy: