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Soulful Soups

Thick, clear, light, rich, hot or cold – soups come in a myriad of colours and flavours to tickle taste buds and satiate rousing appetites. Kanika Aggarwal presents her diverse selection.

French Onion Soup

• 2 tbsp butter
• 5 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 3½ cups beef stock
• 5 cups water
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 4 slices French bread, toasted
• 4 tbsp shredded Gruyere cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
2.  In a large saucepan, melt butter over moderately high heat.
3. Add the onions and sugar and increase the heat to high. Sauté until the onions are lightly golden (about 10 minutes).
4. Reduce the heat to moderately low and sauté 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
5. Add stock and water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
6. Then, reduce heat to moderately low and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
7. Add salt and pepper and increase the heat to high returning the soup to a boil.
8. Place four ovenproof soup bowls on a heavy-duty baking sheet or metal tray. Ladle the soup into the bowls, equally.
9. Place one slice of French bread and one tablespoon of cheese on top of each portion of soup.
10.   Bake uncovered, until the cheese melts (about 5 minutes). Serve.




Potato & Cheese Soup

• 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
• ½ small onion, chopped
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 cup water
• 2 cups milk
• Pepper, according to taste
• 1½ cups cheddar cheese
• ½ tblsp parsley, chopped


1. Place potatoes, onion, salt, and water in a pressure cooker.
2. Bring to full pressure on high heat. Reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Remove cooker from heat. Allow to cool naturally.
4. Use a blender or a sieve to make a smooth paste of the potato-mixture.
5. Return soup to cooker. Add milk and pepper.
6. Place cooker on medium heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Add cheese and stir until cheese melts. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley.




Lentil Soup




• 1 cup dried yellow/mixed lentils, rinsed & soaked
• 6 cups chicken stock
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 2 cups chopped onion
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2½ cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
• 1 cup sliced carrots
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• ¼ tsp dried marjoram
1. In a large saucepan, combine the lentils and the stock over moderately high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil
2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender (about 5 minutes).
4. Pour the onion mixture into the saucepan with lentils.
5. Add in the tomatoes, carrots, thyme, and marjoram.
6. Cook the soup until the lentils and vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes). Serve.





Spicy Indian Chicken Soup




• 1 whole chicken (approx 2 kgs, cut into pieces)
• 8 cups water
• 1 tbsp salt
• 2 medium onions cut into quartered slices
• 6 garlic cloves, crushed
• ½ cup fresh ginger, coarsely chopped + 3 thin slices
• 2 tsp vegetable oil
• 1¼ tsp coriander seeds
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
• 6 whole canned/fresh tomatoes, peeled
• 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
• 1 serrano/green chilles, thinly sliced
• Coriander leaves to garnish

1. In a large stockpot, bring chicken, water, and salt to a boil. Skim off any foam.
2.  Add onions, garlic, and chopped ginger.
3. Reduce heat once it starts to boil. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the chicken breast and set aside and continue to simmer, partially covered.
5. Strain soup through a sieve after 30 minutes. Discard all solids except legs and thighs.
6. Once the chicken has cooled slightly, remove meat from bones and slice.
7. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook spices for about one minute or until mustard seeds start popping.
8. Stir in the whole tomatoes. Keep stirring for four minutes or until all liquid has evaporated.
9. Add reserved soup, chillies, and ginger slices. Simmer for 5 minutes.
10. Season with salt and stir the chicken back into the soup. Garnish with finely chopped tomatoes and coriander leaves.





Kanika Aggarwal has a diploma in Indian Cooking and offers classes in Indian Cuisine in Chicagoland Area. Through her cooking classes, she teaches women the secrets of using Indian spices and techniques to cook all their Indian restaurant favourites. www.learnindiancooking.com




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