Mixed Vegetables in Tomato Based Soup:
Most of my posts of last year's was all about 'slow-cooking meals' and 'rich desserts'! I was cooking, cooking and cooking...all non-stop meals with extra care! What I liked about it...is yet another question! One fine day, I realized that I've been spending awful lot of time in cooking than actually eating. How ironical, right! That's when I decided to try 'Jiffy Cooking' league this year:) I would say...rather not a bad idea at all. It freed me from burdening myself with tedious slow-cooking episode. On the contrary...I could whip a salad and call it a d-a-y! Yeah, blame it on the 'mode' :) Well, things at least don't crop up and fright me anymore...I can handle even a dozen of my party freak friends!
Mixed Vegetables (fresh)
Mixed legumes (fresh)
Tomato based spaghetti sauce 1 can
Crushed tomatoes 1 can
Garlic-chili based seasoning few teaspoons
Basil powder /fresh - as per taste
Parsley powder / fresh - as per taste
Salt - as per taste
Extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tablespoon.
Vegetables: Carrot, beans, broccoli, baby corn, squash, cabbage etc
Legumes: Lima beans, butter beans, green peas etc.
Heat oil in a crock pot, add the vegetables and saute briefly. Further add the crushed tomatoes and followed by spaghetti sauce. Cover and cook till tender.
Later add the seasoning and herbs. Continue cooking till oil separates.
Meat-Green Onions Soup:
Other Names: Goat's meat and Spring onions Soup. Iraichi-Vengaya thaal Soup.
Meat with bones 1/4 kilo
Spring onions 1 large bunch
Red onions 1 medium sliced
Ginger 1" grated
Garlic 2 cloves minced (use 7-10 pods, if you like)
Soy sauce 1 tablespoon
White pepper powder 1-2 spoons
Oil few spoons.
Cook mutton till tender in a pressure cooker, set aside.
Heat oil in a wide vessel, add ginger-garlic and onions fry real good. Further add cooked meat along with its liquid.
Add enough salt, soy sauce, pepper powder. Allow this to boil well, finally add chopped spring onions and continue boiling briefly...maybe until the greens wilt.
Serve warm as a starter.
Kheema Kofta Soup:
Other Names: Mutton Kola Urundai Soup. Minced Meat Balls Soup. Mutton Keema Kofta Soup. Kaima Kofta Soup.
Oil few spoons
Onion 1 small bulb
Green chili 1
Garlic 1" grated
Garlic 1 clove minced
Tomato 1 crushed
Mutton broth 4-6 cups
Egg 1 number
Cilantro leaves few
Pepper powder to taste
In a wide wok, heat oil and fry the chilies, ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes. Then, blend and puree them...extract only the liquid and discard the fiber.
Now to this veg- broth plus mutton broth, add prepared koftas, further add an egg to it and scramble them up. Bring this to boil and garnish with cilantro leaves.
Chicken cut into small chunks 1 cup(with bone)
Green chilies 3 sliced
Garlic 5 sliced
Ginger 2" chopped
Mint leaves few
Cilantro leaves few
Onion 1 small sliced
Tomato 1 diced
Lemon juice few spoons
White pepper powder 1 spoon
Olive oil 2 spoons.
Heat oil and add all the sliced vegetable-spices and stir-fry briefly.
Followed by add chicken and stir-fry briefly, further add salt, if needed turmeric and pepper powder. Cover and cook till tender.
Finally add lemon juice and remove from heat.
Serve warm as a starter.
Carrot Cream Soup:
Carrots large 2 - diced
Whole milk 4 cups
All purpose flour 1/2 table spoon
Butter 1 cube
Pepper powder to taste.
Boil carrots in one cup of milk, and puree them. Set aside.
Melt butter, add salt and flour...stir-fry briefly and then add 3 cups of milk. Bring this to boil, further add the puree. Once it is bubbling hot, remove from heat.
Garnish with pepper, serve warm.
Bajra/pearl millet flour / Kambu Maavu 1 cup
Raw rice 1 fistful - cooked
Salt as per taste
Butter milk 2 cups
Pearl onion and Green chilies to taste.
Add enough luke warm water to the flour and make a thick paste. Allow this to ferment, maybe 5-7 hours will do.
Now, to the boiling water...add the paste. Cook them over medium heat, constantly stir the mix. Further add cooked rice as well, plus salt.
Use wooden spatula to check whether it is done. The semi-cooked paste will always be sticky. Make sure that it is not sticky, if so...continue further cooking.
Bring this to room temperature or even cold. Increase the volume by adding well-beaten buttermilk.
Further garnish with chilies and pearl onions.
When my Dad visited here, he had a different outlook at American way of life' especially, how we act towards food! Well, Mississippi has highest rate of obesity, he was going on like this...Oh boy, the people who are considered over weight and fat in India will be very fit and normal here:( 'Eating' is the only entertainment people have here! When many people shrink their social interaction and sit in the couch with lot of free time, they eat! And moreover all the advertisements are all highlighted with 'how one can save so much time, using this n that product'. Just a simple question, what you want to do with all that free time? Play solitaire in computer or watch a terrible movie, surf aimlessly, scroll the clickers and not to mention - snack again! Oxford is a small town, once in a blue moon...we can catch up on Southern Music, plan trekking / cycling or go to a Cinema theatre...otherwise its always restricted with 'Eating Entertainment'...exploring new restaurants and various cuisines:) So, going out is synonymous with food, here:) He genuinely asked me' who the hell needs vending machines in the rest room!!! I felt like as if I was reading Michael Pollan's 'Omnivore dilemma' book, once again! Come on Dad...no one could be that happy with your style of 'simple food'. My Pappa is very content with so little food! He can go hungry for days, without complaining...at the same time, he is also very active, dynamic, energetic, hard working (both physical and mental)'...quite charismatic too:) So, how could he be active without concentrating on his diet, he calls that stamina and will power! Which I completely lack:( Anyhow, I simply pull his leg saying 'he is solar powered' and that is how his friends tease him, as well. So for today's story, this is my Dad's recipe. He fixes this porridge quite often and both my Mom and Dad love it:)
Broken Red rice 1 cup
Water 5-7 cups
Almonds - exactly 2, and definitely not more than that!
Ginger 1" grated
Mint leaves 4 - chopped
Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
Soak the almonds in warm water and wet-grind the same. Set aside.
In a wide vessel, boil water. Add all the ingredients to it...continue boiling, till its done to the consistency of a porridge.
Serve warm. Enjoy, I mean try to enjoy:)
Though personally I never appreciate the meatless version of Nombu Kanji, this was prepared for my relatives...who overwhelmingly asked me for a vegetarian version. I am glad that they liked it. So, here you go...
Basmati rice 1/2 cup
Mung dal 1/4 cup
Fenugreek seeds 2 spoons
Green chilies 6 sliced
Onion 1 sliced
Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
Tomato 1 chopped
Mint leaves few
Cilantro leaves few
Cinnamon 1 stick
Cardamom 3 crushed
Bay leaves 2
Ghee few spoons.
In a pressure cooker, heat ghee. Add the whole spices followed by chilies, wait till they crackle.
Add onions and ginger-garlic paste...fry till the raw odor leaves the pan.
Further add tomatoes, mint and cilantro leaves.
Add rice, lentil and fenugreek seeds. Add 2-4 cups of water plus salt, cover and cook till tender.
Serve warm as a hearty soup.
Egg Drop Soup:(Indo-Chinese Style)
I am happy to share my brother's recipe, today.
When I was in college, myself and Pari(my brother)used to bump into each other, only during long weekends. So, whenever I head home, the first few days will be lot fun with my brother...gossiping, shopping, teasing, playing cards, carom etc. But somehow, we both will end up fighting for any stupid reason!! We hardly ever recalled the actual issue that we were mad about...but anyhow, we kept uptight though!! The day before my departure (each time), used to be my favorite moment, you know! Yeah, you guessed it right...he will try to finesse with me.:) He will rush to the stores to get me something.:) Oh boy, those were days! So, this was one kind of soup, he fixed for me, back then. He made it so perfect and that's why am damn good in remembering it till today.:)
Chicken broth 1 cup
Warm water 1 cup
Salt if needed
Green onions 2 stalk
I used a spoon of oil, not a good idea...regret it:(
Heat the chicken broth, add salt if necessary. As we used to already salt the broth in my home. Now add warm water too.
Add eggs...gently scramble them. Bring this to boil. Once the eggs are done, garnish with green onions.
Broken Par-boiled Rice Kanji:
Conjee – is a staple comfort food in India, which has a long history. In a tropical climate like south India, semi-solid liquid food is the most preferred form of diet among rural folks. There are various versions of congee prepared both cold and warm, using wide range of grains. The basic conjee is prepared using rice, which is boiled in many times its weight of water for a long time until the rice breaks down and becomes a fairly viscous white porridge. Seeds like tymol and cumins are added as flavoring agents. It is served warm along with stir-fried vegetables or grilled fish or with just plain sliced onions and green chilies.
However the best kanji is usually made with 'noi arisi' ( broken parboiled rice)...when rice is manually hulled, it results in wastage (more broken rice grains). In ancient culture, they don't waste anything because of poverty. Conjee requires very less rice than plain boiled rice to feed the same number of people. That is why, it is still considered as a poor man’s meal in India. And often associated with 'famine food' .
Chicken Broth & Chicken Stock: (Totally Indian Way)Chicken Clear Soup. Chicken Broth. Chicken Stock.
What is the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock? Do you'll know! Not that two are entirely different. Broth and Stock call for the same vegetables, spices and herbs...just the simmering time is less and more respectively. This is one of my kitchen essentials. Its not that hard to make at home. Better than the store bought one, believe me. Absolutely no MSG, heavy salt or any form of preservatives added.
As the rainy season is already here...I was looking for chicken broth in the fridge and thought, have I blogged about it! I was scrolling through my blog up and down to find the recipe...oh it appears I didn't post it at all! I took this picture almost 3 years before and totally forgot. Well, the picture may look dull and unpleasant, but recipe was a grand success. Here you go...
One whole hen (I used Cornish hen tho')
Carrots 4 chopped
Beans/ Cabbage can be used (but I don't prefer them)
Celery 4-6 stems with leaves
Ginger 4" chopped
Garlic 1/2 head, peeled & chopped
Tomato 1 (optional)
Bay leaves 4
Peppercorns 4 spoons
Cumin 4 spoons
Coriander seeds 4 spoons
Cilantro 1/2 bunch (if yours is mostly Indian food)
Parsley 1/2 bunch (if yous is mostly International food like Italian, American)
Wild rice 1 fistful
Simmer everything together for 15-20 minutes. And decant the broth and store in the fridge for later use.
It can be invariably used for you pilaf, biriyani, korma, stew, soup etc.
Continue boiling for at least 4-6 hours. Hmmm, remove the vegetables in between...probably at the end of first hour, as they tend to loose their aroma and shape.
Stock is bit rich and dense in my opinion makes great addition to the thick gravies, sauces and I also sneak them in stir-fries.
Restaurant Style Sweet Corn Soup:
Sweet Corn Soup. Corn Kernels Soup. Vegetable-Sweet Corn Soup.
I am talking about the unique recipe, that found on Indian restaurant menu(in India)! The true restaurant style, 'Sweet Corn Soup'! Although its not an authentic food...restaurant's custom created (catered) to suit the needs of Indian palate! What I wonder is, we grow lots of field corns in India...rather sweet corn! But somehow...restaurants manage to get them through out the year!! Sounds nice huh!
I never payed attention to vegetarian food on the menu! My friend Balaji introduced me to this dish. As per the un written law...we always go for that 1 by 2, when we order soup! (Its hard to hang out with vegetarians,you know...ha ha). Anyways...I am glad that I tried it! Wow...another veggie delight, that took my heart away.
I really struggled a lot to find the exact recipe for this. Since its totally a restaurant food...not many home chefs were aware of it. So...with minimum idea, I kept trying and trying...to perfect the recipe. Finally my Auntie helped me to figure out, the mistake I am doing (that's where chili sauce comes in...its our little secret, okay)!!!
Sweet corn 2 ears
Corn kernels 1 table spoon
Corn flour 2-4 spoons
Vinegar cap full
Chili sauce 2 spoons
Soy sauce 2 spoons
Vegetables sliced (carrots, string beans, Green Onions)
Shred the kernels alone...cook them using vegetable broth. Once then are tender. Blend them coarsely, set aside.
In a wide pot, heat oil. Add flour, sugar, salt, vinegar, soy sauce and chili sauce...fry for 2 minutes.
Then add blended corn puree. Cover and cook for a while. Let it consolidate.
Now, add vegetables too. Let it come to boil.
Tomato Cream Soup:
Never been a big fan of 'Tomato Soup'...all until, I discovered that Chinese restaurant near my Hostel, Delhi. During cold winters, myself and my roomie Poorani used to sneak out, to have this soup...with unique Delhi walas croutons, called 'Fans'!
That particular Chinese restaurant has an unique set of menu plan. All liquids, just slurp and drink kind of stuff! Broth based soup, creamy ones, hearty soup varieties and to finish hot cocoa coffee(their speciality, will post about it later)and much more!!
Anyways...we were crazy for this particular tomato soup, back then. They make it too good and rich!! Although I could never bring that taste, in my method...kind of satisfied with the result! I didn't use any croutons or fresh cream to garnish(you guessed it right, I never had them in my pantry). So please excuse me!
Tomato puree 1 cup
Farm fresh organic whole milk 1 cup
Sugar 1 spoon
Corn starch 1-2 spoons
MSG 1 pinch(optional)
Butter 1 cube
White pepper 1 spoon
Black pepper to garnish
Croutons 4-6 per bowl
Fresh cream 1 spoon full to garnish
Mint leaves to garnish(optional).
Melt butter in a wide vessel. Add corn starch, salt, sugar and white pepper + MSG. Stir them slowly over low heat...until they turn color.
Now add silkened tomato puree...bring them to bubly level. Now add milk and bring them to boil too.
Add croutons and cream just before serving. Serve warm.
Shrimps & Drumsticks Soup:
Shrimps and Drumsticks Stew. Murungaikkai-Eral Soup. Murungaikkai-Iral Thanni Kuzhambu.
Shrimps: Shrimps contain a sleep promoting amino acid - Tryptopan, in it! So if you're suffering from insomnia, fix shrimps for dinner! Or any sea food namely, cod, tuna and trout are also abundant in this amino acid! Better balance your sea food with enough carbohydrate diet. When we balance it with good carbohydrate diet, we fall asleep and also stay asleep(not tossing and turning in the middle of the night). Well...why I am raving about this sleep so much!! Yeah, for most of the illness, good nights sleep is a solution! Than the perfect 6 hours shut-eye mode...if a person plans for 8 hours routine, it can even prevent them from getting a stroke!
Besides, Tryptopan also revitalises one's brain cells! Helps to remember better. It solves questions and queries. You would have noticed people say...sleep over it(to solve a problem). Sleep sorts out queries. When we are asleep, our brain chemicals still function! Various synapses breaks, releases chemicals, sort out using past experiences and things we studied from subconscious! Most of our problems could be solved by mere sleeping it over! Tryptopan helps to retrieve even a long lost memories!!!
Drumsticks: The Botanical name of this tree is 'Moringa oleifera'! Both Leaves and pods are edible here. While talking about its pod, we call it as 'Murungai kai' in Tamil. Which literally means 'Twisted vegetable'. Yeah...the pod is so slender and looks twisted. The common English name is 'Drumsticks', since the vegetable looks like one! They also call it as 'Horse Radish' at some places.
The tree is called 'Brahma Viruksham' in Sanskrit! As the name implies, it is used in the treatment of fertility problems in Sidhha and Ayurveda medicines. The leaves, flowers, slender twigs and pods are all edible here and its good for overall fertility(for both men & women).
Drumsticks 2-3 chopped
Shrimps 200 grams (small)
Chilies 3 chopped
Ginger 2" grated
Garlic 6 cloves chopped
Onion 1 chopped
Tomato 1 chopped
Turmeric 1 pinch
Curry leaves few
Cumin seeds few
Cilantro leaves few
Oil few spoons.
In a wide vessel, heat oil. Add cumin and curry leaves. Wait till it splutters.
Add chilies, ginger and garlic. Fry till fragrant.
Add onions and tomatoes, cover and cook for a while.
Then add drumsticks, salt and turmeric. Add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook.
When the veggie is 3/4th done, add shrimps. Cook over medium heat for another 7-10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
This could be taken as soup or as stew with plain steamed rice.
Neer + Aagaram = Water based Food.
This is the simple man's food, now forgotten by this convenient driven world. In a Tropical country like India and especially South India...to beat the heat, people often practice all sorts of things. And food habits becomes a culture after considerable period! The availability of sources and weather conditions also play a significant role in it.
When a predominant society was in agriculture...which had tedious working hours. Early morning breakfast preparation is duly avoided. Since they have to work under the scorching sun, with parched throat during the day and get back home in the evening and fix something...they intentionally cooked more rice! Need not to say, paddy is their main produce! Well...also Tamil Nadu culture says, a women should cook more food than the family requires. Maybe this could be the reason...in a primitive society, cooking was a long procedure...no power stove, gas cylinders, microwave, fridge or electric rice cooker, pressure cooker....etc. Another point that could be added here is...primitive society didn't have Eat areas, like restaurants, hotel, shops. And once again not even the processed or semi-processed food! So the culture of cooking in excess would have come into practice, to greet their sudden guests. Also to feed the infants.
Anyways...the excess rice is soaked in water, overnight and well covered. As a way to prevent wasting food & also a storage style! The next day morning, before the rice is actually fermented...they beat it to make a watery porridge like this. Well...if you allow it to ferment, this leads to something called 'Tappa Kanji'!
Well...this may not be a fancy breakfast, but sure it left them to fight hunger whole day long. And it is an excellent thirst quencher. As rice based starch and excess water gave a cooling effect, it would have been okay to work under the sun!
Caution: Make sure that you don't ferment it. You know...its illegal to ferment your own drink(alcohol)like this. As we can't predict what it had turned into...ethyl alcohol or methyl alcohol!
Left over rice 1 cup
Soak rice over night with water. Probably 1 cup of rice can be soaked with 2 cups of water.
The next day morning, add rock salt and butter milk to this. Give a quick blend and chill it.
Creamy Saffron Chicken Soup:
Saffron/Zaffron is one of the costliest spice/herb in the world. It costs more than Gold! These are actually flower's anthers.....a fine strand that holds up the pollen grains! So....if one needs a gram of saffron, he needs to pluck at least 10,000 flowers. Now you know....why it is so expensive! These fragile strands has an amazing aroma and it gives rich yellow color to the food! It was used by our ancestors to bring good color to the food! And also it has several medicinal properties.....like it stops nausea, dizziness, clears bronchitis, treated for stomach ailments....etc. Royal cooks kept the secret for several years about this Zaffron! While commoners used 'Turmeric' in their dishes to bring color. Oh yeah......it does give the same color and of course turmeric has its own set of goodness in it. Since its very affordable....turmeric was/is still in practice to make any Indian dishes/curry. Historians and Anthropologist did a good job, releasing all the facts of royal cuisine....now though saffron is pricy, hope everyone could afford it! Maybe not every single day but atleast once in a while! I appreciate Saffron for its distinct flavour! Guess thats it is why Pregnant ladies are advised to have saffron infused milk....it stops nauseating feelings! Anyways....I do use saffron in my Biriyanis, pilaf, soup, tea and cold beverages.
Well.....as usual I was experimenting in my kitchen, it was another rainy afternoon and got so bored! Thought hearty soup could be a healthy choice! Chicken is all time charm for me....threw few spices, kept it simple today, guess what, it turned out great!!!
Kashmir Saffron/ Spanish Saffron 1 teaspoon
Chicken breast cubed/chunks 1 cup
Veg or chicken broth 1 cup
Corn Starch 2-4 spoons
All purpose flour 2 spoon
Half n Half(in India - tetra pack milk)4 cups
Butter 1-2 cubes
Salt as per taste
White/black pepper ground to sprinkle .
Soak saffron in 1-2 tea spoons of milk for about an hour or two. Then grind them using mortar and pestle(marble one)....when the milk turns deep yellow, set aside.
In a shallow pan, melt butter. Add flour and corn starch to it. Saute' them for 2 minutes or maybe till they turn to golden color.
Now add chicken and stir-fry them for 2 minutes. Then add chicken or veg broth to this. Bring it to boil. When it is almost half the way reduced....add half and half plus saffron to it. Continue boiling, stir continuously.
Let this achieve to rich creamy soup like consistency. See whether chicken is done, if not...continue cooking for few more minutes.
Serve warm with melted cheese on it. Sprinkle salt and pepper before serving. Enjoy!
Country Chicken Soup:
Naatu Kozhi Soup. Naatu Kozhi/ Desi ka Murg Soup.
I could never match the taste of country chicken.....with any kind of chicken I find here. Whether its corn fed or herb fed....nothing beats up the flavour the native chicken gives. Raising country chicken is not uncommon in India....but it seldom hits the market. The availability of broilers, much meatier breeds, affordable prices....has pushed this little ones,so undesirable. But still common in the villages, I suppose.
If you decide to cook country chicken for the first time....I recommend you to go through my article about 'how to procure, clean, marinate and cook country chicken'. Please take a look here.
I cooked this soup....while I was in India. I could consider soup has wholesome food.I also thought it could be useful to some of us at this time of the season. Its winter here.....even though Oxford is in deep south....outside weather is -7 degree. I could imagine....how North must be! Its common to get affected with 'flu' during winter. Its highly contagious viral infection...that spreads thro' coughing and sneezing.
So lots of garlic in the soup, which is a natural antibiotic can help. Ginger, which promotes good digestion (on less sunshine days) has some powerful effects. The tomatoes and lemon will help to leach away enough calcium from the bones to the broth. (Yeah...please use bone-in chicken or just bones alone too for this recipe) Soup could also be a treat, when we have less appetite, nasal blockage...
Besides soup menu.....I recommend to avoid sugars during 'flu' infected days. As sweets will decrease the activity of WBC(white blood corpuscles - the fighter cells). The sugar molecules will be docking the sites...from where the vitamin C has to gain its entry!
Hope my brother will be happy now....as he was the one who is bugging me for Home Remedies and stuff. Although not an expert...guess it works for some of us.
Country Chicken 1/2 kilo
Green chilies 2-3 slitted
Curry leaves few
Garlic 1 whole head peeled and semi crushed
Ginger 2" chopped and slightly crushed
Purple onions 1-2 chopped
Country tomatoes 2 chopped roughly
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Cumin seeds 1 spoons - toasted n hand pounded coarsely
Whole peppercorns - toasted n hand pounded coarsely
Lemon juice 1-2 spoons
Sesame oil few spoons
Cumin & Peppercorns (each 1/4 spoon)
Cilantro leaves few.
Clean the chicken and wash several times in running water. Add salt and turmeric to it. Make it to sit for a while. Then pressure cook for about 3-6 whistles. Use limited water. Set aside.
Heat oil in a deep wok. Add peppercorns, cumin, curry leaves and chilies. Wait til they splutter.
Then add ginger, garlic and onions....fry real good. Maybe till its raw odour leaves the pan.
Now stir-in tomatoes, cover and cook for 2 minutes. When the tomatoes wilt....add salt and turmeric.
Now stir-in cooked chicken along with its water. Then the powdered spices. Bring them to aromatic stage...see whether chicken is done soft and all the spices infused enough.
Now add lemon juice and cilantro to it.
Mushroom Thin Soup. Mushroom Soy Soup.
Mushroom 6-8 pieces
Soy sauce thin 4 spoons
Black pepper 2-5 turns in pepper mill
Salt as per taste
Olive oil 1 spoon.
Slice the mushrooms, stir-fry them..using 1 spoon of oil.
Add soy sauce and vegetable broth. Cover and cook till tender.
Sprinkle pepper finally and serve to go as an appetizer!