Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mix-Vegetable and Coconut Milk Soup (Healthy and Wholesome)

When it comes to soup recipes, we tend to go after the tried and tested combinations more often than not. Even I used to do the same, because some recipes and flavors just stick with us and we don't feel the urge to try something new. But this time around, as I mulled over the idea of a wholesome vegetarian soup, there were quite a few ideas that played in my head. I wanted it to be thick and creamy, yet without all the fat that heavy cream brings with it, and I wanted it to be flavorful as well as healthy. So guess what! I decided to try a mix-vegetable soup (a nice way to throw in all the veggies that you love!:)) combined with coconut milk. To give it that distinct flavor, I decided to roast/saute the ingredients and flavor them with spices which infused a higher taste and aroma. The boiled and cooked veggies also leave water which eliminates the need to add artificial broth, and the addition of coconut milk gave it the thick texture and consistency that I was looking for!

I have used quite a few vegetables in this recipe; but you are free to omit or change these to suit your taste. Though I would recommend using cauliflower, carrots and beetroot as they impart a nice flavor and color, as well as provide healthy antioxidants and fiber.

Ingredients
1/2 small cauliflower - florets separated
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 large tomato
1/2 cup carrots - chopped
1/2 cup beetroot - chopped
3/4 cup green peas
1/2 cup onions - chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water (as needed)
2 tbsp olive oil or margarine
1 tsp garlic paste
salt and black pepper - to taste
lemon juice - if needed
2 tsp red chilli powder or paprika
1-2 bay leaves
2 tsp coriander powder
3-4 cloves

Method
Take all the vegetables except tomato and onions and pressure cook them.

now take a frying pan, heat the olive oil, then add the garlic paste, cloves, bay leaves and saute the chopped onions until light golden. Add the boiled vegetables, along with the water, to the pan and season with all the spices. Chop the tomato and add it to this mixture. Cover and let them simmer for 8-10 minutes. Finally add half of the coconut milk and cook for another 5 mins.

Once done, remove from flame and let it cool a little. Remove the bay leaves and the cloves with your hand (do not grind these). Then take all the mixture and blend it in a grinder to form a smooth paste. Add the remaining coconut milk and check for taste. Add salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Puree everything again adding water as needed till you achieve the desired consistency.

Your healthy soup is ready to be relished! You can allow it to cool and store in a dry air-tight container and it'll stay fresh for a few days in the fridge. But it is best served hot and fresh, so boil it a little again before serving. Garnish with croutons if desired and enjoy! This goes to Lisa's Monthly event which celebrates Veg Soups this month, and also to Margot's Wholesome Lunchbox Series!

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