Friday, October 31, 2008

Eating in Vs Eating out: Easy Vegetarian Soup

Eating out is more of hobby for most people these days, and then after relentless pursuing of this hobby for years it becomes a habit. I used to belong to one of these ‘eating out bandwagons’ till I almost caved in to the agony of bad taste and started cooking. I have had months when I would eat out at least 25 days, its Grosse, unhealthy, and ridiculously expensive…not that I have actually spent my whole bank balance on those eat out sessions – it used to be mostly apples, fresh juice , lassi, fruit platter from the juice corner and a vegetarian sandwich from the deli counter…but now as I look back, I know that I’m really sick of the salad sandwich at the deli section, salad (in my sandwich) meant roundels of raw cucumber, onion and tomato, sprinkled with some salt and oregano spice, trapped between two innocuous slices of brown bread. Trust me, if was like swallowing torture, by the time I would finish the slices would have gotten damp and the vegetables limp. The cheese grilled was no better either; it used to be nice when hot but then again, If I were to be a few minutes late, chewing would be a struggle. It got so Cheeeewy that even my molars hurt. Not to mention, the effect it had on my waistline. My jeans’ refused to hold my belly and butt together and if did force them to obey me, ‘POP’ would go my buttons! So I knew I had to stop.
So, yeah, I've been making a lot of soups lately – best part is you slurp on it as a warm starter and freeze the leftover(if any!), and later use it to add flavour and nutrition to curried dishes for an elaborate meal. It's easy to portion out.
Today I used Bottle gourd. For me everyday it’s a different vegetable for a different flavour, but I used bottle gourd all the more due to its health benefits , which I came to know courtesy Baba Ramdev and his sermons regarding Lauki. Cooking becomes all the more better if it promises to add that extra dash of vitality to your and your family’s health. Isn’t it?

What I used:
1 small bottle gourd (lauki) or 2 large cups chopped in large chunks.
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger and 1 tsp garlic (freshly pounded or roughly chopped)
1 onion
2 tomatoes
Salt and green chillies to taste
2 tsp corn flour mixed in cold water
For garnishing: 1 onion fried, ½ cup roasted croutons and freshly chopped coriander leaves
Fill the pressure pan with a beer mug's worth of bottle gourd, 1 onion, tomato, green chillies, ginger, garlic into with 2 cups of water, cook until soft and mushy approx 4 whistles.
Cool and grind the above mixer along with all masalas and salt in the mixer. Now strain to remove all big seeds and ginger juliennes. Oh, don't run the blender for more than a minute.
Fry the onions till pink and add the above. Whisk the corn flour in water till its lump free and add to the boiling lauki soup, to thicken it. Stirring continuously. Remove from fire once you are happy with the consistency of the soup.
Pour in individual bowls and garnish with croutons and coriander. Serve piping hot! With a dollop of butter on top (if you pleaseJ).
Freeze the rest of the untarnished soup, and add it to thicken and spike your curries.
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