Category Archives: Soups

Creamy Spinach Soup with crunchy Croûtons

It’s been a long day, work has totally kicked your butt, you are cranky and hungry and tired. What do you throw together for dinner? What is easy and delicious and requires practically no effort on your part? And most importantly, makes you feel better? And while we’re at it, raise your hand if you’re like me and answer – ‘Soup!’, yeaaaaaah I like you. My love affair with Soups began when I was a little girl, still running around in a frock with a doll clutched in my hand. Amma tells me that I would eat my soup only if a restaurant ambience was created – dim lights, soft music, a neat table setting, good company, cheer and laughter…all of it! So does this mean I’ve been such a romantic fool right from the start? I’ll leave that to you to fathom ;)

Oh and btw, the bowl and plate in the pictures were gifts for my Birthday from a dear friend – Shubhada. Shubs, thanks so very much! As you can see, I’m putting them both to good use, and you bet CCN will see more of them with time!

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • Spinach/Palak – 1 bunch (cleaned and blanched)
  • Onions – 2 nos (medium-sized; diced)
  • Garlic – 2-3 pods (crushed with a knife)
  • Salt – to taste
  • White pepper – to taste
  • Water – as required
  • Oil – 1 tsp

For the Croûtons:

  • Whole wheat Bread – 1-2 slices (diced into 1/2″ pieces)
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp (for frying)

Procedure:

  • In a wok, heat the oil and saute the diced onions and crushed garlic till the onions are cooked nice and tender, and turn transparent.
  • Cool the blanched spinach and saute-ed onions and garlic.
  • Once cooled, blend to a smooth paste in the mixer.
  • Return the ground paste to the wok (no need to use any oil this time), add enough warm water and bring your soup to the desired consistency and let the soup boil for about 3-5 minutes on a medium flame. If you keep the consistency thick, you will have a nice, creamy soup. If you make it watery, it would make a ‘Punjabi Palak Shorba’; take your pick. I like mine a little thick b’cos soups are usually my dinner nowadays and I try to get in as much as can to fight those hunger pangs.
  • In the meanwhile, make your croûtons. Fry the diced bread pieces in the ghee till they turn golden brown. Remove from ghee and drain onto a tissue paper. Let it cool for a couple minutes. They will turn crunchy once they cool a bit.
  • Your soup should be ready by now. Add salt and pepper to taste, remove from flame, pour into bowls and serve hot with the crunchy croûtons. I served mine with croûton and home-made bread-sticks (which I will post soon).

All-in-all, this wouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to fix, and the weather is so conducive for soups, that I could eat them for every meal and feel so good about it. Slurrrrrrrrrrrrrppp!! Soups up!

I also have a little something else to share – a token from a friend and blogger, and you can read about it here. Deepa, thanks so much for making this special badge for me! I’m glad we were able to fight those plagiarists and that Facebook actually paid heed to our requests and blocked them out finally. Phew…it was a tough fight, and I’m glad we won in the end!

Here’s the badge Deepa made for me. Isn’t that sweet? -

Cabbage-Onion Soup

We tend to have soup-nights atleast 2-3 times a week so that we can eat light and healthy for dinner. Made this a few days back since a friend had requested for the recipe. Though I do add shredded cabbage in some soups, I had never tried just plain cabbage soup before this and when Sonia asked me for the recipe, I thought “What? Cabbage Soup? Cabbage?? Really??”. Nonetheless, I set out to try it and when I did taste it, I liked the soup. Will be a regular in my kitchen now on. The best part about the soup is, you cannot tell its made from cabbage! None of that stink from the cabbage; just a slurpy, creamy soup that would tickle your palate. I cannot deny that it is a little bland, so it might take some developing a taste for it.

Sonia this is for you. Try it soon and let me know if you liked it.

Ingredients:

  • Cabbage – 2 cups (chopped/diced)
  • Onions – 2 nos (medium-sized; diced)
  • Garlic – 6-7 pods (alter t suit your taste)
  • Barley (optional) – 4 tbsps (coarsely powdered) (I prefer using barley to cornstarch cos its healthier. Feel free to replace it with cornstarch powder if you wish)
  • Cornstarch powder – 1 tbsp, dissolved in 1/2 water (Use either barley or cornstarch, not both)
  • Salt – to taste
  • White pepper powder – to taste

Procedure:

  • Microwave the cabbage, onions and garlic with adequate water for about 10 minutes, on high. (Time taken to get done may vary with each microwave)
  • Allow to cool, drain the stock and blend the veggies to a smooth puree in the mixer (without much water). Do not thrown away the stock; we’d need to use it later.
  • If using Barley, boil it with 2 cups water in a deep pan, till it forms a starchy composition. If not using, skip this step.
  • Add the cabbage-onion puree to the wok (is using the barley, add the puree to the barley-water mixture).
  • Allow the puree to boil on a medium flame till it thickens a little. Add some of the stock if the consistency is too thick.
  • In the meanwhile, make a paste of the cornstarch powder with water and keep it ready.
  • Simmer the flame and add the cornstarch paste to the boiling soup. Ensure to simmer the flame, else the soup will thicken too quickly (and will end up like the starch you would prepare to stiffen your cotton sarees!).
  • Allow to boil on a sim for about 5 minutes, stirring in between.
  • Stir in some salt to taste and a wee bit of white pepper powder (They can always be adjusted by each individual as per their taste).
  • Pour into soup bowls, garnish with a blog of butter, some chives (optional) and enjoy it hot with some bread/bread-sticks to make it a wholesome meal.

Alternately, you could even prepare a clear soup i.e., sans the barley/cornstarch powder and that would taste better maybe! Give it a try.

Creamy Corn-Onion-Barley Soup

The minute I saw the post for the Monthly Mingle for Soups on Meeta’s lovely site, I knew I was gonna be a part of it. Added to it, we had gorged on some really rich food over the weekend and me and hubby were on a guilt trip since this morning…we wanted to bring down the guilt and what best to do it with than some healthy soup?!! Two birds in one stone I say! ;)

I learnt this recipe from my Husband’s Aunt sometime back. Thank you Bhama Aunty! The original recipe did not have barley in it. However, I added it since Im an ardent lover of Barley, simply because of its health benefits. Feel free to try this out either with or without the barley.

Ingredients:

  • American sweet corn kernels (off the cob) – 1 cup (cooked with salt, till soft and cooled)
  • Onions – 2 nos (medium sized, julienned)
  • Garlic – 5-6 pods (vary to suit your taste)
  • Barley – 3 tbsps (coarsely powdered)
  • Milk (optional) – 1/2 cup (need not use if making a vegan version)
  • Fresh Cream (optional) – 2 tsps (need not use if making a vegan version)
  • Cooking Oil – 1 tsp
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Pepper powder – to taste
  • Salt – to taste

Procedure:

  • Sauté the onions and garlic with oil on a low flame, till the onions are cooked well and tender. Allow to cool.
  • In the meanwhile, boil the coarsely powdered barley with 2 cups of water on a low flame. Since barley has a starchy composition, the result is a thick and starchy, milky liquid. (It should not have lumps).
  • Now, blend together the cooked corn kernels, sautéed onions and garlic in a mixer, to form a smooth paste.
  • Once the barley has cooked, add the corn-onion-garlic mixture to the barley. Stir well.
  • Add the milk and fresh cream. If you are making a vegan version, you could skip this step.
  • Allow the soup to boil on a low flame for 10-15 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh cream, and serve hot with bread/soup sticks! I served mine with Methi (fenugreek) flavoured bread sticks and it was simply yummy! :D

This soup finds its way to Monthly Mingle – Soups, conceptualized by Meeta and hosted this month by Harini of Tongue Ticklers.

Thank you Meeta and Harini for giving us all an opportunity to mingle! :)

Spinach-Corn-Barley Soup with Garlic Bread

The weather has been so chill right from the time I woke up this morning. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed with a nice book and some popcorn! I decided to make something hot and yummy for dinner. And so, after the rich moong daal halwa yesterday, I thought it was time for something healthy. Hubby and I decided to skip dinner and just have some barley soup. I dug into my refrigerator and found some spinach and corn and decided to use these with the barley.

For those who dont know about barley, it is a type of whole grain. The benefits of barley are many! It contains high levels of dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble) and selenium (a type of antioxidant). It also helps lower blood LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Barley also helps stabilize blood glucose levels, which may benefit people with Diabetes.

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Ingredients for Soup:

  • Barley seeds – 4 tbsps (coarsely powdered)
  • Spinach – 1 bunch (washed, dried and finely chopped)
  • Baby Corn – 1 cup (chopped into thin rings) (I normally use shelled american sweet corn kernels, but today, since I dint have any, Im using baby corn)
  • Garlic – 2-3 pods (or to taste)
  • Water – 2 to 3 cups
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper – to taste

Serves: 4 persons

Method:

I recommend using a flat, non-stick pan (slightly deep) to prepare this soup because the barley can get very messy otherwise.

  • Boil the coarse powdered barley with 2-3 cups of water on a low flame. Since barley has a starchy composition, the result is a thick and starchy, milky liquid.
  • In the meanwhile, cook the baby corn (or american sweet corn) with salt, drain water and keep aside.
  • To the barley-water mixture, add the finely chopped spinach and salt. Continue to cook on a low flame till the spinach is cooked.
  • Add the cooked baby corn and pepper powder. Allow to boil on a low flame for about 10-15 minutes. You may want to add some warm water to adjust the consistency of the soup.
  • Remove from flame and serve hot with choice of sauces and/or accompaniments like garlic bread. I made some garlic bread to go with the soup…perfect for a winter night :-D

You could try this barley soup with other veggies too!

Ingredients for the Garlic Bread:

  • French bread loaf – 1 long loaf or 2-3 small ones (like the ones they use for hotdogs)
  • Butter – 50 gms (softened, to make spreading on the bread easy)
  • Garlic pods – 5-6 (pounded or crushed to a paste)
  • Oregano herbs – 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro/Coriander (optional) – a small fistful (finely chopped)
  • Grated Mozzarella Cheese (if you’re in an indulgent mood :)) – 3 to 4 tbsps

I dint add any cheese to my garlic bread since it would make my dinner too rich.

Method:

  • Slit the french bread horizontally and keep aside.
  • Now, mix together the rest of the ingredients except the cheese (if you are using some) to get your spread ready.
  • Apply the spread on each cut slice of the bread.
  • If you are using cheese, sprinkle some on the bread once you have applied the spread on the bread.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 deg C (390 deg F) for about 6-8 minutes or until each slice is toasted to a light and crisp golden yellow. The time needed for the garlic bread to get done varies in each microwave oven since each has a different power. Adjust the time according to your oven.
  • Allow to stand for a minute before you take them out of the oven and enjoy the hot and crisp garlic bread.