Showing posts with label Soup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soup. Show all posts

Friday, March 20, 2015

Two Recipes with Dal! Dhokla and Mulligatawny Soup!

Did you guys know that World Water Day is around the corner? I, for one, have been in the water-wasters club for many years, with brushing my teeth leaving the tap on. While this is one of the major habits one needs to change in order to conserve water, there are many more (especially in the kitchen) which won't take much getting used to and will in turn impact our water conservation practices in a hugely positive manner. Here are a few:

1. You do not need to use a lot of water while boiling vegetables. The idea is for the water to just cover the vegetables in it. Instead of pouring out the water, you can use that flavourful Vegetable Stock in place of water while cooking your next meal!

2. Don't use water to defrost food. You can just leave the frozen food in the fridge overnight instead!

The good folks over at Tata I-Shakti have taken a great initiative during this #WorldWaterDay to make everybody aware of these little things, while also talking about their wholesome unpolished Dals. I have made the switch recently, and I could not be happier. Not only does 1 cup yield more Dal as compared to polished Dal, these Dals only require 2 cycles of rinsing as opposed to 4 times with the regular polished variety. Not to forget that the Polished Dals also are stripped off of their nutritional content.

On this blog post I will be sharing 2 recipes from my kitchen, that waste minimal amount of water. First one is a healthy take on the globally favourite Dhokla, which I have been making with Moong Dal off late. Not only is this healthier, I have used the soaking water to blend the soaked Dal, instead of pouring it down the drain and replacing with fresh water.

The second recipe has a story of its own. It is the world famous Mulligatawny soup. Mulligatawny soup comes from Mooluga Thanni, which literally translates to Pepper Water. It was served to the soldiers during the British Raj in India, just because they demanded there be a Soup course. Well, the British left, they took the recipe with them, and heavily anglicized it to suit their palate. They added meat to the soup, thickened it with Coconut Milk, but I am not complaining, for I am a huge fan of this dish! It may be a bit lengthy but it is really easy, and the final product will blow your socks off. I guarantee it.

So, without further ado, I present these two recipes to you, one by one!

Recipe: Moong Dal Dhokla
Serves 6
Takes 20 minutes plus 4 hours soaking time.


1 cup Tata I-Shakti Moong dal.
2 cups Water
An inch of ginger
2 Green Chilies
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
A pinch of Asafoetida (heeng)
1 tsp Oil plus some more for greasing
1 tsp Eno Fruit Salt or Baking Soda

For the Tempering:

1.5 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp White Sesame Seeds
2 Green Chilies, Chopped
6 Curry Leaves
A pinch of Asafoetida
3/4 Cup Water
1 tbsp Sugar (optional)

For Garnishing:

A handful of Coriander leaves, chopped.
A handful of Grated Fresh Coconut, scraped.


Soak the Moong Dal in 2 cups of water for 4 hours. Drain it but reserve the water.

Grind it in a blender with the Chili and Ginger. Use the reserved water (add more if desired) to get the pouring consistency like that of a Dosa.

Set up your steamer on the stove. Grease the steaming plate with Oil. I used 2 flat plates.

In the mean while, mix in the Turmeric, Red Chili, Asafoetida, Salt and Oil and give it a good stir. Just before adding into the steamer, add in the fruit salt and mix well with a steel spoon such that the batter is fluffy. Pour it into the two plates and set them in the steamer.

Steam for 12 to 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and let it stay for another 2 minutes. In the mean while, make the tempering.

Heat up a small pan with the Oil. Add in the mustard seeds, when they pop add the Asafoetida and the chopped chilies, followed by sesame seeds and then curry leaves. Let them splatter. Top this up with water and Sugar if desired, and let the mixture come to a boil. Turn the stove off and keep this aside. You can choose to skip the water soaking step, but I like my Dhoklas moist.

Remove the Dhokla from the steamer and cut them into desired shapes. Soak them with the water from the tempering, and add the tempered goodness all over them. Garnish with Coriander leaves and grated coconut. Serve with chutney!


Recipe: MulliGatawany Soup
Serves 4 to 5
Takes 1 hour

An inch of ginger
6 cloves of Garlic, finely minced
1 large Onion, finely chopped
1 Green Apple, peeled and diced.
½ Jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp flour
½ tbsp. Coriander Powder (Dhania Powder)
1 tsp. Cumin Powder (Jeera Powder)
 ¾ tsp. Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (You can use 4 cups of normal water, and add a stock cube to the masala while cooking, or you can also use plain water)
¾ cup Tata I-Shakti Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)
A handful of Coriander leaves, chopped.
½ cup Coconut Milk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
4 tbsp Oil
A cup of cooked Basmati Rice (You can substitute with Brown Rice for a healthier alternative)
A dollop of Yogurt, to garnish.

Soup: Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a deep pan over medium high heat. Sauté the Ginger, Garlic, Onion and Jalapeño until the Onions are translucent. Add in the Apples and give them a minute, then add Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder and Turmeric Powder and stir till the masala blooms. At this point, also add in the Stock Cube if you're planning to use one. Top up with Water/Stock and pour in the Red Lentils. Let this come to a boil.

Turn the heat to medium low, cover the pan and let this go for 30-45 minutes, until the Dal gets cooked. Throw in the chopped Coriander leaves. Purée 75% of the ingredients to a smooth velvety goodness, while letting the remaining 25% be chunky, for a superb textural contrast. You'll thank me later!

Return the soup to the pan on a low heat, and add in the Coconut Milk. Give it 3-4 minutes, then season with Salt and a generous cracking of Pepper.

To Serve: Place a small handful of boiled/cooked Rice in each bowl, and top it up with Soup. Garnish with a dollop of Plain Yogurt. You can also add a squeeze of Lemon Juice. People also serve this 'best-soup-they've-ever-had' with pan fried/roasted Cashews or Almond slivers. I'm salivating already.

Note: You can make this recipe with Chicken as well (traditionally it is made with Chicken), in which case you will need 200 gm of Chicken sliced into cubes. Pan fry them before you start the Soup process, for 90 seconds on each side, and remove them. Continue with the Soup recipe as above. Throw the Chicken pieces in along with the Coconut Milk at a later stage and cook for 6 minutes instead of 3! I made mine with Chicken :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: Asparagus Festival at Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai.

Image Courtesy: Google Images (
Every year, on the 1st of January, I write a check list. It consists of 10 items. I evaluate myself on the basis of the same, on the 1st of January next year, which is when I make a new check list. One item that has been on my check list for the past 3 years is wanting to learn a new language and finally this year I took it off my list, giving up hope that I will ever get around to learn a new language. In my universe, things have a funny way of finding me when I give up on them, and just yesterday I attended my first class for learning conversational French language. I am so excited! The class was fun and interactive, and I got to learn so many new things! I am lucky that I got the company of my two beautiful friends, Anita and Ramya. We have been spamming each other's messages with Bonjour/Bonsoir and counting numbers from Zéro to Trente!

I could not have asked for a better day to visit the Sofitel chain of hotels, and be greeted with 'Bonsoir, mademoiselle' every place I went. I have always been a fan of their modern decor, and their brand new addition of a mini walk way with potted herbs is a fragrant and beautiful idea, which will grow into a quaint al fresco area for Sunday brunches, what with freshly picked herbs going into omelets! Quelle magnifique!

The Herb Garden
 We arrived early for our dinner reservations, so we could take our time and try out as much as we can of their new Asparagus festival menu, which is said to be an Asparagus celebration. I am a huge fan of this spring vegetable, and I love the beautiful stems with poached Lobsters to scrambled Eggs to being blanched and served au naturel, as a salad with some salt, pepper and a dash of Olive oil. The Asparagus used for the Sofitel festival is imported from Peru and costs upto an exorbitant Rs. 2,000 per kg, but I fail to understand why is the local produce not celebrated more. I guess the imported goods is why the menu looks quite expensive too.

The Menu

A good meal was started with a great Italian Wine, the 2011 Allegrini Corte Giara Soave. My rookie wine drinking date for the night also loved the bright aromatic flavours, as did I. Lovely recommendation from the restaurant manager, Sagar.

The Wine!
  I do believe that Asparagus is highly underrated, and a true celebration for me would be inculcating it into Indian dishes too. On that note, I must try out an Asparagus Korma. Anyway, on to the meal!

Green and White Asparagus Soup

We started with an Asparagus soup that was served with pieces of chopped Asparagus and the croutons were replaced by little bits of Goat's Cheese deep fried to crispy perfection. I loved that the soup was the perfect beginning to our meal, and the White Asparagus soup was unbelievably creamy yet light at the same time. The portion size was just the right amount to set the tone for the meal to come.

Asparagus and Prawn Salad

Next was the Asparagus and Prawn Salad. Tender Asparagus stems were served along side plump prawns tossed in a tartar-like sauce, and served with a Red Pepper Puree and some Alfalfa sprouts. Simple and clean flavors that all came together, albeit I did feel that the portion size could have been larger.

Poached Quail Eggs with Asparagus, Fennel and Pancetta.

What followed was the dish that I would pay the price for. Quail Eggs gently poached to perfection, served over a row of White Asparagus, served with Rocket leaves and Fennel shavings and a mound of Pancetta, all finished with a drizzle of Honey. I know you can imagine it. I know you can taste it. This dish was pure genius. Highly recommended!

Sous-vide Chicken with Asparagus and Mashed Potato Foie Gras Puree.

The main course was a bit of a disappointment. We started with a Chicken Sous-vide that was finished in a frying pan with thyme, and served over a medley of Asparagus and a Pomme et Foie Gras Purée. Please don't blame my judgment on my loyalty towards Master Chef Australia, but I do not get why a sous-vide chicken had to be finished in a frying pan. The meat was overcooked. The purpose of a sous-vide is to cook the chicken to tender perfection so that your knife would glide along the meat, but I did have to work on the Chicken Breast, quite a bit. On the contrary, the Asparagus medley and the Pomme et Foie Gras Purée was so fantastic, that the plate went back with nothing but the two Chicken Breast pieces... Okay, one and a half.

Pan Seared Salmon with Asparagus and Red Wine Butter.

We went on to trying the Pan Seared Salmon which was served over... you guessed it right, a row of Asparagus, and Red Wine Butter. I honestly did not care for this dish. I would give this a miss.

Gnocchi with Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes and Burnt Sage Butter.

I requested the chef to send me a portion of Gnocchi with Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes and a burnt Sage butter sauce. Now, I am not a Gnocchi connoisseur but I do know that something is horribly wrong if the Gnochhi bits are sticking to the roof of my mouth, let alone it melting completely at the first bite. It was too doughy, and I did not care for anything on the plate except the blanched Cherry Tomatoes.

Asparagus Panna Cotta with Saffron Ice Cream.
Dessert was an Asparagus Panna Cotta served with a Saffron Ice Cream and a Chocolate cookie dust. The Saffron Ice Cream was pure genius, with just the right amount of sweetness and a great satiny texture. It was also visually appealing with the sensual black specks of Vanilla laced all through it. I wish I could say the same about the Asparagus Panna Cotta. It was overtly gelatinous. Next to the Saffron Ice Cream, it tasted like nothing. If you have to chew a Panna Cotta, you know there is something not so right about it. Requesting their team to fix this as soon as possible.

I wish the Sofitel team could have been more innovative about Asparagus than just placing rows of it on to the plate. To celebrate an ingredient in all its glory is to provide your diners with a unique experience (especially at that price) right from roasting to blanching to trying to incorporate it into some other ingredient. I have watched the Chef movie, and I do sympathize with the Chefs if their hands are tied thanks to the management, but I just wanna say that diners, at least from Mumbai, are always up to trying something new, with a WOW factor. This is strictly my opinion.

I congratulate the team at Sofitel who did manage to come up with a great spread nonetheless, and hope to see better execution! Thank you so much for the invitation, I am truly honored! I shall forever remain a fan of your lunch buffet as well as the Sunday brunch!

The Asparagus Festival is on till August 10, 2014.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Borscht is the Boss. Pretty Red Soup for Wellness.

No, don't cringe like that, I know most of you hate Beetroots but this soup is a game changer. I have been trying to eat healthy (now that's one race I will be running forever) and I have to keep mixing things up so that I stay amused and intrigued towards what I am eating, much like a stubborn kid.

I was watching Fox Traveller on TV this morning and one of my most favorite shows to watch is Food Safari, and in the Poland special they showed the recipe for this soup and I knew I just had to try it out. Don't you just love it when you have all the ingredients from the list in your pantry?

Source : Food Safari on Fox Traveller
Serves 4
Ingredients :
300 gm Beetroots, peeled with trimmed ends
1 small Potato
1 small Onion/1 Shallot
1 Zucchini
1 Cup of Yogurt
Juice of one small Lemon (4 tsp)
Salt to taste
Sour Cream/Hung Curd for topping
Dill Leaves/Coriander for garnish


Boil/Pressure cook Beetroots and Potatoes in some water until tender.

Blitz them in the blender along with the water, and all the other ingredients roughly chopped, except the ones for topping and garnish. (You may roughly chop the Cucumber with skin on).

Pour into a bowl and top with a dollop of Sour Cream and sprinkle Dill or Coriander leaves over the top. Easy? Healthy?
Enjoy! :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrating the 50th post with a bowl of Awesome. Ramen at it's quickest.

I have not been keeping well this past week. And weeks before that, have been spent making recipes that got me so excited about  posting them but eventually curbing it since it was, you know, my 50th post, call it a half milestone if you will, and I wanted to do something special. I am 66.66% done with it. But I have been playing the role of the Queen of Procrastination and been lazy on working on the last part of it. Soon, soon, and I promise that it will be worth the wait.

While everything else that I made has been a little on the advanced side and some of which had me in tears of pride and joy when I tasted the resulting outcome, this gave me the necessary push to go ahead and make it my special post. Why? Because this has been making my day everyday through my sickness. The brother has been loving his unwell time at home while slurping on bowlfuls of this awesomeness.

I have to thank Krytie from Food Mantras for mentioning that if there was a movie that described her, that would be 'The Ramen Girl' starring Brittany Murphy. I just knew I had to watch the movie when I saw this poster.

That scene where she walks into the Ramen shop for the very first time, on a cold rainy night, that one bowl manages to make her smile and give her hope. Something similar could have happened with me. There is something about eating the medley of soup and noodles and all those veggies with an Egg in a bowl, with a chopstick, gulping down hot soup and heaving that sigh of satisfaction while immediately strongly pulling in all the moisture in your nose with that next breath, it's an experience one would never forget. No they won't. And then every single time they feel low or unwell, they will lean on that bowl of awesome for comfort. I promise you this much.

While in the movie the broth simmered away for hours at end and so much more was going on, I tried to make it quick and as easy as possible. If this is so tasty, I cannot even imagine how amazing the real Ramen would taste. I would have to make a trip to Tokyo for that. *starts looking for the bucket list*

Okay enough banter, the recipe is easy to put together, and I strongly recommend for all of you to try it. You may or may not thank me later but do send me a happy thought or two :)

Quickfix Ramen
Serves 2
Recipe : Self


2 packets Maggi Noodles (You can use any kind of noodles)
1 tbsp Oil
4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
5-6 sprigs of Spring Onion, half chopped and some cut into 2 inch stalks for decoration.
1 Egg.
1 tbsp Schezuan Sauce/Sriracha/Red Chili paste
4 tbsp Hot and Sweet Sauce
A couple of dashes of Tabasco
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Pepper Powder
4 cups Water
Extra Water for boiling Noodles.


Get the Ingredients ready.

Boil an Egg as per your preference and cut it into two.

In a deep pan heat up the Oil, Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, add in the Spring Onion (Save the decorating stalks) and stir well. Add in the taste makers from packet noodles and all other ingredients along with water, except Salt. Let this come to the boil. Turn the heat to simmer and let it cook for 15 minutes. Check for Salt and add it if necessary.

In the mean time, Boil the noodles separately in water until almost done. Drain and set aside.

To Assemble:

Add half of the noodles in each bowl, top it up with the Broth and decorate with Spring Onion Stalks and Egg. You can use Spinach, Pork, Chicken, anything you like!

Enjoy yourself :) 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creamy Green Peas and Cilantro Soup with Roasted Cumin Powder

It's been quite long since I posted something here. I have been trying to be eating healthier, while not starving myself in the name of "diet". I made myself this soup today. Healthy, hearty, and so full of flavor, if you ever experienced a feeling of lightness and at the same time experienced a sense of fulfillment, that's the feeling you get when you have a spoon, or a bowlful of this. And then you might consider getting some extras too.

Creamy Green Peas and Cilantro Soup with Roasted Cumin Powder
Source: Self Serves 4


2 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 1/2 cup Green Peas
A handful of Cilantro/Coriander (Stem and all)
1/2 cup Milk (I used low fat milk, you can use cream too)
1 medium sized Onion, roughly cut into 4
4 big cloves of Garlic
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup Water
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Pepper to taste


In a dry pan, roast the Cumin seeds till they change color to a dark brown and give out it's aroma. Let them cool for few minutes, then grind them into a powder. I actually made it in bulk and stored it in an air tight bottle for further use. This powder is seriously good, and can save many-a-meals go downhill.

In a pan, heat the oil, and while it's still heating toss in the Garlic and Onions, and sauté them for a minute. Toss in the Green Peas, Cilantro, and give it a stir and add the Water. At this point I lightly salted my broth, and made adjustments later. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Blend the boiled broth along with the milk, until it forms a smooth, silky mixture. Then pour it back to the pan and re-heat it, adjusting for Salt and Pepper. Garnish with the Roasted Cumin Powder. It makes all the difference!

I thought I'd need a salad to go along with this, but it satisfied me enough to have considered it a complete meal in itself. Enjoy :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nick's Italian Pasta and Bean Soup

or as my bro calls it, The Chunkey Pandey Soup... lol

This soup is quick, healthy, hearty, and easy to make. AND delicious! It's pretty much a meal on it's own :) The moment I saw it on Macheesmo I knew I had to try it one of these days. I am trying to eat healthy more often and this one is definitely a keeper!

Nick's Italian Pasta and Bean Soup
Serves 4
Recipe adapted from Macheesmo.


3 small Onions or 1 large onion
1 Large Carrot
1 Green Pepper/Capsicum
4 Medium Sized Tomatoes
1/2 cup Tomato Paste (Or Ketchup)
1/2 cup soaked and steamed Beans of choice (I used pressure cooked White Beans)
A handful of Spinach Leaves (I did not use any)
1 teaspoon minced Garlic
4 cups Vegetable Stock (You can use water + 1 vegetable cube, or water by itself)
1 cup Water
1 Bayleaf
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dried Italian Herbs (I used Oregano and Thyme)
Parmesan Cheese for garnish (I did not use any)
2 tbsp Olive Oil


Roughly dice the Onions, Carrots and Green Peppers almost the same size. Coarsely grind the Tomatoes + Tomato Paste/Ketchup. I used this because honestly the Tomatoes out here are quite tasteless and sometimes the canned stuff is way better.
Heat Olive Oil + Garlic in a large skillet. I add the Garlic to the Oil before it gets too hot so it prevents itself from burning. When the Garlic starts to sizzle, add the Onions, Carrots and Green Peppers. Sauté them on medium high for about 5 minutes till the vegetables get soft. Then add in the Bay leaf, Vegetable Stock, Tomatoes and 1 cup water. Bring it to a simmer.
Throw in the beans and the Pasta, and cook on medium low for another 15 minutes till the pasta is cooked. Then add in the Spinach Leaves, and give it a quick stir, for 30 seconds or so. Then turn off the heat and serve with a garnish of grated Parmesan. I just served it plain, with no Garnishes. This one's really, really good!!

Older Posts Home