Potato and Corn Chowder

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Honestly, I cannot believe that I completed the Mega Marathon in time. It was a challenging month with the moving in to the new house and settling down and blogging daily. Of course, in my mother’s words -“You could simply have done it next month.” But it is hard to explain as to why doing my first mega marathon is important. It is Very Important and I did it!!!

I have two thank yous to give out – one to my blender which worked tirelessly the whole month blending my soups and secondly to my new maid who just could not understand why the blender needed to be used everyday. In her (translated) words – “Didi, you are just three of you in the house. How do you come up with so many vessels and why is the blender used daily?” After I explained food blogging to her, her daily comment was “Aaj phir se photo? (Clicking food pics again?)” Well well.

I had so many recipes bookmarked for the soup edition. I wanted to do at least one pasta soup, one in a bread bowl and one chocolate too. But I couldn’t manage them. Hopefully I will get to these soon. All in all, I had a fabulous time making and savoring these soups and clicking and blogging about them with some truly amazing people around the world.  So here is my final soup of this Mega Marathon –

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here.

WHAT WE NEED

Olive oil                          1 tbsp

Onion, medium            1

Garlic cloves                  3

Potatoes, medium       3

Corn, shelled                 1 cup

Vegetable stock            3 cups

Salt & Pepper

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat the oil. Chop and add the onion and garlic cloves
  • Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.
  • Add the potatoes once the onion is translucent and saute for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the corn, salt, pepper and vegetable stock and cook till the potatoes are fully cooked
  • Let the mixture cool and then blend it to a smooth puree
  • Transfer it back to the pan and bring to a boil
  • Serve hot
  • Enjoy with some bread or crackers!

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This post is part of the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

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Moroccon Style Chickpea Soup

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When I started the soup theme this month, my plan was to make more lentil, bean and grain soup so that I could replace my meals with them and spend lesser time in the kitchen. But I saw so many varieties of soups with different veggie combinations that I sidelined the grains and lentils and went after the veggies. So when I came across this recipe, I simply had to make it, especially since today is the penultimate day of the month long marathon.

This recipe is very similar to the Indian chole which is a regular accompaniment to rotis or puris or rice. It is a lot less spicy version and can be enjoyed with any flat bread of your choice. Mine was roti.

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Chickpeas                                                         1 1/2 cups

Olive oil                                                             2 tbsp

Onion, finely chopped                                  1

Garlic, minced                                                 1 tsp

Freshly ground toasted cumin                  1 tsp

Chilly powder                                                  1/2 tsp

Sugar                                                                  1/2 tsp

Tomatoes, chopped                                       2

Vegetable stock                                              2 cups

Salt

Coriander leaves                                            to garnish

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight and pressure cook them the next morning for 2-3 whistles till they are completely cooked
  • Heat the oil and add the garlic and onion and saute on low flame till the onion turns soft
  • Add powdered cumin and chilly powder and mix well
  • Add salt and vegetable stock and 1 cup of the chickpeas and bring to a boil
  • Mash the balance 1/2 cup of chickpeas with a potato masher or with your fingers to form a mushy mix
  • Add the balance chickpeas to the pan and mix well
  • Simmer for 12-15 minutes till the soup becomes slightly thick
  • Turn off the heat and adjust seasoning, if required
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with any flatbread
  • Enjoy!

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This post is part of the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Clear Onion Soup

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I am not a huge fan of clear soups. Therefore the logical conclusion is that the husband is. He does not understand why soups need to be creamy, rich purees as against light soups with lots of flavour and I fail to comprehend why I need such clear soups when water will do the trick. Plus I don’t like straining out all the veggies. I feel super guilty about wasting them. Chalk and cheese!

Since he was travelling most of the month, I indulged myself with all the creamy soups to my liking. He returned and has been cribbing for the past three days about not having clear soup. So today’s soup is for the husband.

Serves 2

Recipe adapted from here.

WHAT WE NEED

Olive oil                                    1 tbsp

Onion, medium                      1

Garlic cloves                            2

Carrot, medium                      1

Soy sauce                                  1-2 tsp

Chilly sauce                             1/2 tsp

Vegetable stock                      3 cups

Salt & Pepper

Button mushroom                1

Spring onion, chopped        2 tsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Dice the onion, garlic and carrot
  • Heat oil and add the onion and garlic
  • Once the onion starts browning, add the carrot and fry for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the soy sauce and chilly sauce and mix well
  • Add the vegetable stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil
  • Simmer for 12-15 minutes
  • Turn off the heat and strain the vegetables
  • Thinly slice the mushroom
  • Add mushroom slices and spring onion and serve hot
  • Enjoy!

 

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This post is part of the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Manchow Soup

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Manchow soup is yet another staple item on restaurant menu cards along with sweet corn as tomato soups. Whenever my family and I ate out, my dad always went for sweet corn while my brother chose tomato and my mother always had manchow soup. She is a spicy food lover chained to blandness because dad has almost a visceral hatred to spicy dishes. So mom broke free when we ate out and stoked her tastebuds with all the spice she got.

Manchow soup is also one of the cornerstones in Indo Chinese cuisine for vegetarians. Back in the nineties, when a vegetarian family ate Indo Chinese the items ordered were always – fried rice, Hakka noodles, vegetable manchurian and the manchow soup. So this one is for all my growing up memories in Mumbai which I have been missing terribly.

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Olive oil                            2 tbsp

Garlic cloves                    2

Ginger                                1″

Green chillies                  2

Onion, finely chopped   1

Shredded cabbage         1/4 cup

Grated carrot                   1/4 cup

Button mushrooms        3-4

French beans                    4-5

Soy sauce                            3 tsp

Vegetable stock                3 cups

Cornstarch                         2 tbsp

Water                                    2 tbsp

Vinegar                                 1 tsp

Salt & Pepper

Spring onion                       2 tsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Finely chop the garlic, ginger and green chillies
  • Heat oil and add these to it
  • Once the raw smell of the garlic reduces add the onion and fry
  • Finely chop the mushrooms and French beans
  • Once the onion is translucent, add the mushroom,a beans, cabbage and carrot and fry for 3-4 minutes
  • Add soy sauce and pepper and mix well
  • Add vegetable stock and salt and let it simmer on medium flame
  • Mix the water and cornstarch to a paste and add it to the mixture
  • Once the soups thickens, add the vinegar
  • Turn off heat and taste to check if you need more soy sauce or vinegar
  • Garnish with finely chopped spring onions and serve hot
  • Enjoy!

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Corn and Capsicum Soup

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I believe this is the longest I have gone in my blog without a recipe including cheese. And how could we let that happen? Though this one doesn’t have cheese as a main ingredient, it does lend a lovely flavour to the soup and though it is optional, I would recommend it wholeheartedly.

This soup has curry powder as its main flavour. I did not have it in my kitchen and figured that it shares a lot of ingredients with our very own garam masala and so the substitution was made with delicious results. I have used only green capsicum but you could use a combination of green and red. Usually I wouldn’t mind if the vegetable stock is substituted with water but I would not recommend that here because the garam masala and stock blend well to flavour the capsicum and corn. So do take time to make or buy the stock.

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Serves 2

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Olive oil                                    1 tbsp

Capsicum, large                    1

Onion, medium                     1

Garam masala                        1 tsp

Shelled corn                           1 1/2 cups

Vegetable stock                    1 cup

Milk                                          1 cup

Salt & Pepper

Cheddar cheese, grated      to garnish

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat oil in a saucepan
  • Chop and add the capsicum and fry for 2-3 minutes
  • Chop and add the onion and fry for 2 minutes
  • Add the garam masala and salt and mix well
  • Add the corn, pepper and vegetable stock and bring to a boil
  • Simmer for 5 minutes till the vegetables are cooked tender
  • Let the mixture cool and then blend it to a smooth puree
  • Add milk  and the puree to the saucepan and mix well
  • Bring to a boil and turn off the heat
  • Garnish with grated cheddar cheese
  • Enjoy!

 

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This post is part of the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Carrot Soup

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Carrot soup has been on my list since the beginning of this mega marathon but I kept postponing it. I would buy carrots with the intention to make the soup but I would end up using it for upma or pulao and postpone it yet again. If nothing else, my daughter would eat up the carrots leaving me staring at the empty fridge tray. Finally, the time has come for this delightful carrot soup and it is a testament to the saying – ‘Best things come to those who wait’.

The original recipe is titled Moroccan Carrot Soup but since the spices I used do not resemble Moroccon in any way, I dropped it from the title. It is a completely Indianized soup complete with sambhar powder and red chilly powder. Trust me, it works. If you don’t believe me, ask my daughter who is sitting beside me slurping away happily.

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Serves 2

Recipe adapted from here.

WHAT WE NEED

Carrots, medium                   4

Vegetable stock                      2 cups

Cinnamon powder                  1/2 tsp

Sambhar powder                     1/2 tsp

Red chilly powder                   1/4 tsp

Salt

Toasted sunflower seeds      to garnish

Freshly ground pepper         to garnish

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Peel and chop carrots and cook them until soft. they can be cooked in a pressure cooker or in a covered vessel with water
  • Let the carrots cool
  • Then blend them with 1/2 cup of vegetable stock to form a smooth puree
  • Add the puree and the remaining stock to a saucepan and turn on the heat
  • Add the spices and salt and mix well
  • Simmer for 6-8 minutes
  • If the soup is too thick, add little water to bring it to desired consistency
  • Turn off the heat
  • Garnish with toasted sunflower seeds and freshly ground pepper
  • Enjoy!

 

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This post is part of the Septembe Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Lemon Coriander Soup

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Some soups are delightfully simple and flavoursome. Lemon coriander is one such. It is made with ingredients which are usually available at all times at home. It makes a wonderful start to a meal by teasing your taste buds but at the same time not killing your appetite.

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Oil                                        1 tbsp

Ginger                                1″

Garlic cloves                     2-3

Spring onion white        2 tbsp

Onion, small                    1

Carrot, small                    1

Cabbage                            5-6 tbsp

Gram flour                       1 tbsp

Vegetable stock              3 cups

Coriander leaves            2 tbsp

Lemon juice                     2 tbsp

Salt & Pepper

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat oil. Finely chop the ginger, garlic, spring onion and onion and add to the oil
  • Once the onion is translucent, finely chop and add carrot and cabbage
  • Add gram flour and mix well
  • Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil
  • Add salt and pepper and simmer for 3-4 minutes
  • Turn off the heat and strain the vegetables
  • Put the soup back on the heat
  • Add lemon juice and coriander leaves and bring to a boil
  • Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Ajo Blanco

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There are many types of cooks. Some are slow, other fast. Some follow the recipe to the T while others go with the flavour. Some measure diligently while others go with their estimate. I always wanted to be the latter but my estimates are so off the actual number that it is not funny. I keep trying to improve my estimation skills but there is a long way to go.

For this recipe, I picked a handful of almonds and estimated (nay, assumed) it to be 100 gms. It was 50. True story. Then I had to blanch another set of almonds and then make the soup but the extra time and effort to blanch the almonds is extremely worth it. The wonderful medley of almonds, bread and garlic chilled is a perfect meal for the evening.

Serves 3

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Almonds                            100 gms

Slightly stale bread        75 gms

Milk                                     1/2 cup

Cold water                         500 ml

Garlic cloves                     4-5

Cucumber, medium       1/2

Extra virgin olive oil      2 tbsp

Vinegar                               2 tbsp

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Blanch and peel almonds
  • Roast the almonds on low heat till it just starts browning. It is an optional step but totally recommended
  • Remove the crust and soak the bread in milk for 10 minutes
  • Blend the almonds and bread in a blender to a near smooth paste
  • Chop and add garlic, cucumber, olive oil and vinegar
  • Add the water and blend well
  • Chill for around 2 hours
  • Garnish with olive oil and serve chilled
  • Enjoy!

 

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This post is part of the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68

Oats Soup

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There are days when you run around with a million things to do with no time for a coffee or a meal and then there are days when things miraculously work out and you finish hours worth of work in minutes and actually have time to sit back and relax. When you chance upon such a day, I suggest you make this ridiculously easy oats soup and put up your feet with a book or watch the birds go by.

This is, again, like some of the other soups in this series, adding a pinch of this and a dash of that and transforming a simple daily affair to food for the soul. To be honest, I am not a fan of oatmeal and eat oats only when I bake something with it. But this soup is definitely becoming a staple at my home. Do try especially if you like the flavour of garlic –

Serves 2 (or just a greedy me)

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Olive oil                         2 tsp

Garlic cloves                2-3

Ginger                            1″

Onion, small                1

Carrot, small                1

Quick cooking oats     1/3 cup

Water                              1 cup

Milk                                 1 cup

Salt & Pepper

Coriander leaves          for garnish

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Heat the oil. Chop the ginger and garlic finely and add to the oil
  • Once the garlic starts browning, finely chop and add the onions
  • After the onions turn translucent, add finely chopped carrot
  • Stir for 1-2 minutes on simmer and add oats
  • Fry for 2-3 minutes and then add water
  • Cover and cook for a minute
  • The oats should be cooked. If needed add 1/4 cup water
  • Add milk, salt and pepper and mix well
  • Turn off the heat after 1 minute
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot
  • If it is kept for longer time, the soup tends to thicken. Add water or milk to dilute it to soup consistency
  • Enjoy!

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This post is for the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68


Spinach Soup

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I am actually surprised that I could do over 15 soups before I came to spinach. Spinach is an integral part of many mixed veg soups which I have been postponing because I never went to the store in time to get fresh spinach. In the evenings, they would look so worn out and sad, that I would postpone my purchase for the next day and on it would go. Finally I bought some fresh spinach today and set out to fulfill the near certain mandatory soup in a soup marathon.

I was anemic for a brief period during my teenage. But my over cautious mom fed me so much spinach that dad teased me about having green blood. Then when I finally got my ‘over the minimum limit’ hemoglobin report, I rebelled and stopped eating spinach for a long time. Most of my spinach consumption was soup and hence this post is for my mother who takes all the credit for me never being anemic again.

Serves 2

Recipe adapted from here.

WHAT WE NEED

Spinach                                 1 bunch

Olive oil                                 1 tbsp

Onion, large                         1

Garlic cloves                        2-3

Gram flour                           1 tbsp

Water                                    2 cups

Cumin seeds, roasted       1 tsp

Salt & Pepper

Fresh cream (optional)   to garnish

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Remove the stems, wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and chop them
  • Heat oil. Chop and add the garlic and onion and saute till onion becomes translucent
  • Add the spinach leaves, salt and pepper. Saute for a minute
  • Add water and let it come to a boil
  • Simmer for 5 minutes
  • Take off the heat, add cumin seeds and let it cool
  • Once sufficiently cooled, blend the mixture to a smooth puree
  • Return it to the pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes
  • Take off the heat and garnish with cream
  • Serve hot
  • Enjoy!

 

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This is my post for the September Mega Marathon under the theme – Soups.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 68