Indian Sweetcorn Soup

There are two types of soups in India -those that are more like Western soups, full flavoured and hearty and eaten by the bowlful, and subtle, almost bland soups served in small amounts almost like a hot vegetable beverage or healthy shot of goodness. I am really interested in the latter, and they are still quite controversial. Although being around for at least 100 years, they are not common but also not rare. Being fairly regional, there are many who deny their existence. But there you go – even Meenakshi Ammal has soups in her classic Cook and See volumes.

So I collect a range of them – they are delicious even though they are relatively bland (ie unspiced) compared to other Indian food, although they are still full of flavour. Subtle. Well cooked. Healthy. (I sip and sip them.) Reading the very simple recipes for these soups, I think “no way will this work” but the results are always wonderful.

This one is interesting in that it is based on a “white sauce” – not the western flour-roux sauce, but a puree of potato, cabbage, onion and white pumpkin or yam. On this is layered corn kernels. It is flavoured with only salt and pepper! A real shot of vegetable goodness without the distraction of spices. The base is one that you could use for different soup varieties. The sweet crunch of the corn against this base is delightful.

Similar recipes include Indo Chinese Sweetcorn Soup, Baby Sweetcorn Soup, and Roasted Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and our Sweetcorn Soups. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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100 Vegetables (and fruits): #2 Apples

Apples, the fruit of Winter. While we think of them as dessert fruit, they also make amazing salads and savoury baked dishes.

Today we have brought together our 2 dozen or so favourite apple recipes.  Salads, Pickles, Chutneys, Jams, Breakfasts, Juices and Desserts. We love them, and you will find something here that is just for you.

You can browse all of our Apple recipes here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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100 Vegetables: #1 Amaranth Leaves

Amaranth Leaves are the leaves of the varieties of edible amaranth plants. They are very easy to grow, and come up year after year, so keen gardeners are never without this vegetable in their gardens. The leaves can vary from green to red, and you will often see bunches in Asian green groceries.

I cook them in Indian dishes, as the leaves are quite common in India so there is a great variety of recipes. However, Amaranth varieties are used in Asian cooking too. Known as Chinese Sinach or Een choi, it is often sold as whole plants with roots. It is exceptionally high in protein.

You can also browse these (and any new recipes) here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Pumpkin Soup with Lentils

I have numerous Pumpkin Soups that I love, including this definite favourite. But today, as I am on a Clean-out-the-pantry drive, and because I am restricting shopping trips because of COVID-19 (as I write this), and because there are lentils wanting to be used up – it is a day for a soup with pumpkin and lentils.

Use any lentils in this soup. Toor dal, channa dal, chickpeas and split peas are all good candidates. You could use the small split fava beans too. Brown lentils, puy lentils, beluga lentils, whole red lentils (masoor dal), horsegram, matki beans – all are good. I am using some end-of-the-packet beluga today. They make for a dark soup – if this is difficult for you, just add plenty of chopped herbs as a garnish.

Some lentil types will break down and make a thick broth for the soup, others are more likely to hold their shape. Either will work well with this soup.

In the recipe I specify chopped tomatoes – but more often than not I use a tomato puree from the freezer. In Autumn I usually stock up with a variety of cooked and raw tomato purees, pastes etc, for use over Winter when tomatoes are at their least flavoursome. Feel free to use good quality tinned, chopped tomatoes too.

Similar recipes include a French Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and a Special Pumpkin Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, Pumpkin Soups, and Tomato recipes.

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Cumquat Mango Chutney with Kalonji

I make a cumquat chutney which is quite divine and these Pickled Cumquats, but this year I wanted to make something a little different. So I took the ideas from the pickle to make this chutney that is sweetened with mango puree. Not only is it mango puree, it is alphonso mango puree, the king of mangoes. You can use any mango puree of course, but I saw some alphonso at my local Asian shop for the first time the other day, so I had to grab some.

If you want to make your own mango puree, please go ahead. There are still plenty of ripe mangoes in the shops if you know where to look (try good Asian groceries). The delight of using mango puree is that it adds a sweet element against the tartness of the cumquats. Add chilli, and you have a hot-sweet-sour chutney which is incredibly additive.

It takes about 45 cumquats to make this chutney, and can be made in 30 mins once you have sliced and seeded the cumquats. We really adore it.

Similar recipes include Cumquat Chutney, Easy Pickled Cumquats, and Cumquats in Gin.

Browse all of our Cumquat recipes and all of our Chutneys. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Poritha Kootu with Beans

Here is another Poritha Kootu to add to our list of about a dozen recipes.  It is a delicious way to serve a range of vegetables (or make it without vegetables), with the health benefits of lentils as well. A Vegetarians dream!

Today I am using Green Beans and Italian Flat Beans – they are readily available here and quite delicious. They make an excellent kootu.

I find mung is one of my favourite dals, one that nourishes and makes me feel relaxed and comfortable. I tend to use split, hulled (yellow) mung in Summer and whole or split, unhulled (green) mung in Winter, in various dishes.

Similar dishes include Poritha Kootu with Snake Gourd, Ridge Gourd Masiyal, and Eggplant Kothsu.

Browse all of our Poritha Kootu recipes and all of our Green Bean dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Curry Leaf Kuzhambu | Karuveppilai Kuzhambu

Kuzhambu is made daily in Tamil households, and has hundreds of varieties. It is basically a spicy broth that can but might not include vegetables and it is spooned or poured over rice as it is eaten.

This Kuzhambu is one that is tamarind based and is strongly flavoured with curry leaves.  There are many different recipes for this dish – I hope you enjoy this one.

Similar recipes include Rasam with Curry Leaves, Green Tomato Sambar with Crushed Curry Leaves, and Lemon and Curry Leaf Rice.

Browse all of our Curry Leaf dishes and all of our Kuzhambu recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Sweet and Sour Tomato “Soup”

There is a thing about some of the soups of South India – they can be like hot drinks rather than the way we might think of soups. We treat them as hearty, warming dishes to be eaten by the bowlful. Contrast this with flavoursome but not highly spiced hot  beverages. There is nothing like them anywhere else – they are neither like the tangy and highly spiced rasam, nor like the North Indian shorba. Some of the soups take influence from other parts of Asia, some from the English and French lighter soups and some from the soups of Portugal. These type of Indian soups are not common, but are also not rare.

I like to call it a “shot” of soup, often no more than a quarter of a cup. And it is often served after the meal, in a way that we might serve coffee. Relaxing over a shot of soup. What a delightful way to include more vegetables in our lives!

This recipe is a quick and easy tomato soup, in the Indian style. A hot beverage if you like. And totally delicious. While sugar is added to give the sweet-sour taste, it can be omitted and we often leave it out.

Also note that more Western style soups are becoming more and more popular across India as people turn their hand to cooking other cuisines.

This is such a delightful accompaniment to Fried Upma.

Similar recipes include Indian Sweetcorn Soup, Tamatar Shorba, South Indian Vegetable Soup, and Indian Potato and Tomato Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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White Bean, Basil, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Turmeric Spread

You know we like our spreads and dips, especially classic Italian ones. Here is a simple recipe for pureed beans seasoned with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and fresh basil that can be made mostly out of cupboard ingredients. It is divine in flavour and texture, with a multitude of uses. It is difficult to get fresh ingredients during this CV-19 lockdown, I know. If you don’t have basil, use parsley, coriander or chives. I have even used rocket and baby spinach (use a little less). Or simply leave the basil out.

The optional tomatoes and fennel seeds is an idea from one of the Moosewood cookbooks of long ago – we adopted it and use that combination in all sorts of things now.

Similar dishes include White Bean Puree with Harissa and Rosemary, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and White Bean Soup.

Or browse all of our White Bean recipes and all of our Spreads.

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Mushrooms and Peas | Khumbe Matar

A classic Indian dish – mushrooms and peas in a tomato gravy. This recipe is a classic one but I often make it with a range of mushrooms – brown mushrooms, baby mushrooms, sliced king oyster mushrooms and even shimeji mushrooms. It gives a mix of textures and flavours.

Today I have also topped the dish with finely sliced snow peas. It adds crunch and freshness to the dish without confusing the  “pea” taste.

Similar dishes include Mushrooms in Terracotta, Marinated Roasted Mushrooms, and Mushroom Curry With Yoghurt Tomato Sauce.

Browse all of our Mushroom dishes and all of our Pea dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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