Chennai Journal
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Soup's On....

Leela makes the best soups. All of them are vegetarian, since I don't eat meat here, and all of them are delicious. It seemed a shame not to capture and share her secrets, so I invited a couple of friends over to join the lessons--and help eat the proceeds....

Leela uses a pressure cooker for her soups, which I'm convinced contributes to the rich and intense flavors, despite the lack of meat. It took me a bit to get past my fear of these--I was raised in an era when pressure cookers were rather tricky and dangerous, and my mother used to make me leave the kitchen whenever she used hers.

During yesterday's lesson, Leela showed us how to make two soups, Vegetarian Vegetable and Dal (lentil) with rosemary.

Veggie Soup à la Leela

1 T olive oil
2 small onions – chopped
1 spring onion – chopped
2 carrots – chopped
1 handful green beans – chopped
1 potato – chopped
1 handful peas
1 stock celery – chopped small

Sauté onions in oil in pressure cooker until golden brown
Stir in the rest of the veggies
Add ½ litre water
Pressure cooker – bring to boil and 3 whistles
Open cooker and apply potato masher (see below!) for 1 minute
Set aside until ready to heat, may be reheated.

Note that there is no seasoning in this soup. You can add salt & pepper to taste.

Dal Soup

For this recipe, you need Mysore dal, shown below.

1 small tomato – skinned, chopped
½ C mysore dal (soaked 1 hour)
1/3 litre water
Put ingredients in pressure cooker, boil, 3 whistles

While the dal is cooking, saute a clove of garlic and half teaspoon of dried rosemary in olive oil. Stir into dal.

This soup is very simple, but delicious. Sauteeing the rosemary helps produce a very nice, aromatic quality in the soup.

Both soups give about 4 servings.

I really enjoy reading your posts. Good work.

BTW, is it Masoor Dal that you are referring to? Is Mysore Dal - spelling accurate?
Masoor dal, as far as I know, is the orange/red small dal that doesn't require any soaking. As shown in the picture, this is a different type and I have seen it noted in some websites as Mysore (as indeed the tin also says). Having said this, not sure I'm correct.....but this dal definitely needs at least a short soaking.
Thanks nred. You're right Masoor Dal is a redddish colored one. Next time I goto the grocery store I need to look for this Mysore Dal. - Sukumar
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