Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Serious Soup - More like a stew of tomatoes, kale, beans and broccoli

Serious Soup - More like a stew of tomatoes, kale, beans and broccoli

Who am I to be grumping about our weather when people on our east coast are dealing with Hurricane Sandy?  My electricity is on, trees are standing, and dry snow covers the grass.  Yet, the sky is a pale grey that perfectly blends with the snow, and there is a bleak chill in the air that blurs the distance.  It’s a perfect time for a soup that warms through and through.
This vegan vegetable soup can be assembled quickly, and it’s ready to serve after just an hour from hauling out the soup pot. 

1 teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon black cumin seed
1 stick cinnamon or cassia
½ teaspoon fennel seed
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seed
20 grates of fresh black pepper
1 tablespoon mustard oil (perhaps more)
1 teaspoon dark mustard seed
10 curry leaves
1 red onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, matchsticked
4 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
4 to 8 chillies, finely chopped
1 generous teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves

3 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 leek, cleaned, quartered and diced
2 quarter inch thick slices of red cabbage, diced
10 leaves kale
2 cans stewed tomatoes 796g
1 can mixed beans, kidney, red, channa, pinto 540g
1 stalk broccoli, peeled and chopped

Using the non-stick pot you will be making the soup in, turn the heat to high and dry roast the whole spices and black pepper listed first.  As soon as they are a bit smoky and fragrant, add the oil, and the mustard seeds and curry leaves.  Add the onion and ginger, stirring to cool the pot, and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook till the onion becomes translucent and a bit golden, then add the garlic.  Depending on how spicy you want this, add as many chopped chillies as you dare.

Cook and stir for maybe two or three minutes, then add the turmeric, coriander and dried fenugreek leaves.  Good old Dr. Oz was telling us we need to be eating fresh turmeric, and I would have grated a couple of tablespoons and added that at the stage with the ginger, but alas, it’s not in season.

You may need to add a bit more oil at this point; you’ll know for sure once the mushrooms are added.  Turn the heat a little higher and stir to release the moisture from the mushrooms, letting them caramelise a bit. 
They will look quite golden from the turmeric, but actual caramelising will make them even more tasty.
  When the mushrooms are slightly browned, add the leek, then the cabbage and kale.  The kale will stuff the pot, but be assured it will shrink soon.  Pour in the canned tomatoes and beans, and cover the pot.  Let it simmer on medium low heat for thirty minutes.  Stir from time to time.

It bugs me when the sky matches the ground.
A couple of weeks ago I chopped a zillion vegetables for a Quan Yin festival, and I had two Chinese men in stitches because I’d never “peeled” broccoli.  Finally they showed me how to scrape the sides of each stalk to remove the tough green exterior and nubs and bumps.  Who knew?  With the broccoli peeled, you then chop it as usual, and throw it all into the cooking pot at the same time.  The stalk pieces are more flavourful and tender when they’re prepared this way.  So, about ten minutes before serving time, peel your broccoli, chop it, and add it to the pot.
(This was another occasion when I regret not having bought those lacha paranthas I spotted in the frozen section of a certain big box store.  They would have been fabulous with this soup.)  

Regardless, this soup warmed me up just fine, and now I have no complaints.  I’d like to ask you all to send your best intentions, however you do it, to our folks on the east coast.  May they be warmed and comforted.


  1. I think I'll enjoy this serious soup! :) Is it possible to add more turmeric/curcumin powder?

  2. Turmeric is so healthy that more is always better. But it has a sharp taste when there's too much, so I suggest you add a little extra and then taste, then a bit more, and taste. I find that I really miss this flavour when it's not there, and now I'm adding it to just about everything that's savoury. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!