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soup's on

soup’s on

This bout of bronchitis is still hanging on. I haven’t been able to do much so I’ve been filling my time with culinary endeavors and working on the cookbook manuscript. I’ve been pretty much a homebody during this illness but late Friday morning I managed to get out on a little adventure to the Brantford Farmers’ Market.

I bought six pounds of fresh local carrots, a few sweet potatoes, cooking onions, and garlic. It was the perfect selection for the soup I decided to make today. This also gave me a chance to take my new Caphalon immersion blender for a spin. I purchased it a few weeks ago with some of my Air Miles so that I could replace the one my husband accidentally melted a few years ago. I forgot how convenient an immersion blender is.

I served the soup with thick slices of Artisan Potato Scallion Bread from the bakery at Sobey’s grocery store.

curried carrot and sweet potato soup

makes 8 servings

My dear friend, Laurie Moniz, loves to pop over for coffee and some days even lunch. One day she arrived bearing a pot of carrot and sweet potato soup and there were leftovers. My husband devoured what was left which was pretty surprising because he usually won’t even try carrot soup. I was impressed so I asked Laurie for her recipe. She’s much like me in that her personal recipes are more like guidelines than recipes. This is my version of her scrumptious soup. 

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 medium sized onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 litres beef or vegetable stock
2 medium to large sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 pounds carrots, chopped
2 teaspooons medium curry powder
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onions until they start to become translucent and soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer, being careful not to brown it. Add the stock, sweet potatoes, carrots, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Optional: garnish with your choice of goat cheese, sour cream, crème fraîche, or Greek yogurt. Top with a little fresh cilantro.

Vegan option: use veggie stock and skip the optional dairy suggestion.

chana masala

chana masala

Bryan occasionally brings home Chana (Chole) and Bhatura for supper when he is working at the office near Toronto. Right now, he is on vacation and asked if I could make it for him. I could not find an exact recipe for this spicy vegetarian dish so I did my best to recreate it.

He loved it. The only difference he found was that I used a bit more potato than what he gets from his favorite Indian restaurant. Sadly, I forgot my plan to garnish with the fresh cilantro.

chana masala

© 2008 Laurie Ann March
makes 4 – 6 servings

This is best served with bhatura, chapati, naan bread or basmati rice.

3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon kolonji or onion seeds (see note)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 green chili pepper, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, pureed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, pureed
1 1/4 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3 medium potatoes, washed and peeled
1 cup water
3 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (coriander), chopped
1/2 cup water, if necessary

adding the potatoes

adding the potatoes

It is helpful to prepare and measure all the ingredients before you start. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and kolonji (onion seeds) and once they start popping, about 25 seconds, add the onion. Sauté the onion until it starts to brown slightly. Then add the chili pepper, garlic and ginger and stir well. Quickly add the tomatoes and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Reduce the heat to medium.

Add the salt, coriander, garam masala and turmeric and stir well. Then add the potatoes stirring to coat with the onion, tomato, spice mixture. Add 1 cup of water and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Add the chickpeas and more water if necessary and let simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove the chana masala from the heat and add the cilantro. Let the mixture sit with the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Note: Kolonji seeds are also known as black onion seeds, charnushka nigella or black cumin.