Savoury soups: bowls full of health

Try these delectable soups that nourish the body even as they delight your taste buds

Soups evoke satiety in just about every way a food can. When you start your meal with a cup of soup, you feel full by the time you are ready for main course. That’s because as the soup reaches your stomach, it activates the stomach’s stretch receptors, which sends out satiety messages to the brain. So, having soup as a first course thus helps you to eat less and lose weight

I know of a lot of people who think that soups are dull to offer to guests. But a well-made vegetable soup that has been properly boiled and is fresh, can never be dull. Here, I’m talking about home-made soups.

The making of a good soup like is quite an art. And, not many people possess the right know-how for a successful preparation of a soup. Either they overcomplicate the composition of the dish or they attach minor importance to it. And so, it frequently happens that the soup does not correspond in quality to the rest of the dishes. Nevertheless, the soup should foretell the quality of an entire meal.

Matar ka Shorba

Soup of peasI tried this shorba as I simply love green peas. Restaurants, generally serve the ‘cream of green peas soup’, which is not only bland, but also has a lot of corn starch as a thickening agent.

This shorba is naturally thick making it a meal in itself with subtle Indian spices adding flavour to it. It’s best enjoyed during cooler months.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Peas [matar] 400 gm
  • Garlic cloves 8 – 10
  • Milk ½ cup
  • Onions [medium] 2
  • Butter 1 tbsp
  • Ginger paste 3 tbsp
  • Green chillies 2 – 3
  • Bay leaves 2
  • Cumin seeds ½ tsp
  • Water 3 cups
  • Salt to taste

Preparation method

  1. Finely chop onions. Make a paste of garlic, green chillies and ginger. Boil green peas in adequate water. Allow it to cool down. Make a smooth paste in a blender.
  2. Heat butter in a pan. Add cumin seeds and bay leaves when it melts. Sauté for a few seconds and add onions.
  3. Cook till onions become light brown in colour. Add ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Sauté for a minute.
  4. Add green peas purée. Cook for a few more minutes. Stir continuously. Add water. Let it boil. Add salt. Discard bay leaves. Simmer and cook for 5 – 7 minutes. Add milk and mix well. Serve hot.

Health Tip

Green peas are rich in proteins and carbohydrates but low in fats. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin C and B9.

Broccoli aur Badam ka Shorba

Broccoli and Badam soupI made this during winter, when broccoli is in season. Roasted almond slivers enhance the flavour of this soup. Broccoli is rich in dietary fibre and is also beneficial in the prevention of various heart diseases. Almonds have monounsaturated fats, which can help in reducing the level of LDL cholesterol. They are also a good source of dietary fibre as well as protein, both of which are good for the calorie conscious.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Broccoli [large] 1
  • Butter ¾ tbsp
  • Onion 1
  • Garam masala powder ¾ tsp
  • Milk ½ cup
  • Water 4 ½ cups
  • Almonds [badam] slivers 4 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Green chillies 2-3
  • Lemon juice 1 ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste

Preparation method

  1. Place almond slivers in a baking tray and lightly roast them in the grill for 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. Cut small florets of broccoli. Finely cut onion and green chillies. Heat butter in a saucepan.
  3. When it starts to melt, add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds begin to change colour, add onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes before adding garam masala powder. Stir fry for a minute.
  4. Add broccoli florets along with water and salt. Bring it to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the flame and let it cool down.
  5. Sieve and set vegetable stock aside. Place cooked broccoli in a blender. Blend well. Pour it in the pan along with the vegetable stock. Allow to boil. Add milk. Remove from heat.
  6. Add lemon juice. Pour into 4 serving bowls. Garnish with roasted almonds. Serve hot.

Health Tip

Broccoli is a good source of calcium, a mineral that is important for strong bones and teeth. Calcium helps in muscle contraction, transmitting signals, blood clotting and blood vessels contraction and expansion.

Taaze Dhaniye aur Gajar ka Shorba

An unusual combination of carrots and fresh coriander leaves with onion, garlic, and a subtle flavour of bay leaves makes this soup wholesome and enjoyable. It has a high content of beta carotene [courtesy carrots], making it an important source in strengthening the immune system, thus promoting healthy cell growth.

Carrot and coriander leaves soupServes 4

Ingredients

  • Fresh coriander leaves [dhaniya] ½ cup
  • Garlic cloves 3 – 4
  • Bay leaves 2
  • Water 600ml
  • Carrots [gajar], long 3 – 4
  • Onion [medium] 1
  • Heart-friendly oil 1tsp
  • Black peppercorns ¾tsp
  • White pepper powder ¼tsp
  • Salt to taste

Preparation method

  1. Peel and roughly chop carrots. Finely cut onion, garlic and coriander leaves.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add bay leaves, black peppercorns, onion and garlic. Saute for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Add carrots, half of coriander leaves and water. Allow it to come to a boil.
  4. When carrots are completely cooked, allow the stock to cool. Puree it. Pour it back in the pan. Let it boil till it reduces a bit and becomes thick.
  5. Add white pepper powder, remaining coriander leaves and salt. Simmer for 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Health Tip

A couple of raw garlic cloves if consumed daily can bring blood cholesterol levels down.

Taazi Makai aur Gajar ka Shorba

Fresh corn and carrot soupI had this preparation some years ago at a small time simple Indian restaurant in Interlaken, Switzerland. For the same recipe, I have cut down on quite a few spices while keeping the taste same. It has a perfect blend of fresh corn, carrots, whole garam masala [which lends it a curry-like flavour] with some dried spices. An awesome treat for the entire family!

Ingredients

  • Fresh corn kernels [makai] 1 ¼ cup
  • Cloves 2
  • Black peppercorns 6 – 8
  • Onion 1
  • Carrot [gajar], large 1
  • Cumin seed powder ½ tsp
  • Milk 2 cups
  • Coriander leaves 2 tbsp
  • Green chillies 2
  • Water 3 ½ cups
  • Cinnamon 2” stick
  • Bay leaf 1
  • Garlic paste 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
  • Butter ¾ tbsp
  • Salt to taste

Preparation method

  1. Finely chop onion, carrot, green chillies and coriander leaves. Heat butter in a pan.
  2. When it melts, add onion, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns and bay leaf. Saute over low flame till onions become golden brown in colour.
  3. Add cumin seeds powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Mix well and keep stirring.
  4. Add carrots and corn kernels. Saute for another 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Add water and salt. Bring it to a boil. Cover, simmer and cook for 12 – 15 minutes till the corn is cooked. Allow it to cool.
  6. Place the contents of the pan into a blender and blend well. Return the same to the pan and add milk. Let it come to a boil. Adjust seasonings. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Health Tip

Corn is a good source of many nutrients including vitamins B1 and vitamin B5, folate, dietary fibre, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese.

Excerpted with permission from The Heart of The Matter: Eating healthy Indian Vegetarian Food by Gitanjali Gurbaxani; published by Times Group Books.

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