"This is a journey of my life since I was all of 12 yrs when I started my hand in cooking to now with displays of my learning and creations of recipes from around the world. My inspiration and role model has always been my Mum who has always created dishes from around the world and excellently well. I do not believe I would ever match to her culinary skills. I remember the times she could cook and bake almost 4-5 dishes in one go without ever letting one go under cooked or burnt! I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and recently moved to India for family reasons. Kitchenette just means that over the decades, my kitchen has changed from that of my mum's to my uncle and aunt's, to my home in UAE and now in India. Pala't'te, describes both global cuisines ('Palatte'-diverse flavours) and pleasing diverse 'Palates'."

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Celebrating Life.... Creamy Vegetable Soup

No excuses this time for being late on my recipe posts. I am thankful that I have a full life, filled with multitude of things to do. One such wonderful opportunity that came my way again was to cook at my little girl's school. They have started a new cooking lab and I had the opportunity to impart some cooking learning to a bunch of wonderful second graders.

The thing I love about my girl's school is how they inspire the kids to inquire and learn. Kids are curious by nature and to mould them into thinking out of the box is something I simply love. I love that I have a creative, excited little girl who is always willing to explore, learn and better herself.

The Lead Ma'am and I chose a soup to make this time owing to the end of monsoons. Also since there have been a couple of rains off and on causing the temperature to lower. A lot of kids had been falling ill too with cold, cough or flu. So a soup seemed apt.

This soup is a Thai inspired one. But since kids come from different households where either they are vegetarians or cannot eat onions, eggs, etc. or where the kid has peanut allergies or generally don't like things  like ginger, I avoided using them. Kids are also picky on things like bell peppers, etc. So although it is Thai inspired requiring the use of galangal, bell pepper, peanuts, etc I avoided using any of it.

Carrots are liked by most kids and I know many kids who prefer broccoli these days to cauliflower. So a small portion of brocolli, chopped finely was used. Each kid was asked to bring 1-2 ingredients. I loved the excitement of the kids as each ingredient went into the wok. In fact because of all the beta carotene (through carrots), the soup got a nice orangish colour and coupled with the coriander leaves, the kids who had just celebrated their Indian Independence day celebrations were inspired to tell me what the colour of the soup reminded them of, which was the Indian Flag.

Apart from maybe one or two kids who wanted chicken in their soup, the rest even though non-vegetarians liked the soup for its creaminess. I chose to use two homemade coconut milks, the 2nd milk to cook the vegetables in and the 1st milk to add at the end just warmed up and not boiled which added to its creaminess. How to freshly extract the coconut milk is explained here.

That's me by the way. Extra happy with the kids :)

If you want to make the full version, you can used crushed ginger or galangal, lemongrass, either sriracha chili or green chili, bell peppers finely diced and yellow onion. You can also take a non vegetarian option by adding boneless chicken diced small or boneless fish diced small.

You need:

  • 2 cups of grated carrots (about 4-6 carrots depending on size)
  • 1 cup of broccoli, florets separated into tiny florets
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, grated using a hand grater
  • White pepper preferred (if not available you can use regular black pepper) powder - 1-2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 medium coconut gratings (extract two milks)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro or coriander leaves, diced well
  • 1 cup of sweet corn
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup of drinking water (set aside some more if required)

The Make:
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes | Cook time: approx. 20 minutes | Makes about 4-6 medium sized bowls 

1. In a large wok, heat about 2 tbsp of coconut oil and add the carrot gratings. Saute for about 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat.
2. Next add the broccoli  and sweet corn. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt and the pepper. Mix well. Add 1 cup of drinking water.
3. Add the second (thin) milk and half cover the wok. If you have a wok with a glass lid containing a steam hole, then cover fully and keep the heat at medium-low heat. Allow the vegetables to cook for 10 minutes. Add the water and if required add more than 1 cup. Do not overdo it else it will not turn out as creamy.
4. Grate the garlic over the uncovered wok and stir well. Add half of the chopped cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes.
5.  Lower the heat and then add the first coconut milk. Add the remaining coriander leaves and watch over the pot to allow to heat up. Do not boil. Do a salt check and add more if required.

It is better to add just a sprinkle of salt at first as adding to taste levels at first may not balance the dish as the coconut milk tends to sweeten the soup. So you may end up adding much more salt than is required for the soup. You could also cook the vegetables with just the water at first, blend it with a hand held or regular blender and then return it to the wok to cook in the coconut milk and finish off with the first thick coconut milk. Since there was no blender available, I had opted for the non-blending option.

Hope your kids and you enjoy this soup. Do let me know how it turns out. You can also mail me on gginazkitchenette@gmail or visit my Facebook page or Twitter page. We are also on Pinterest and Instagram now.

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