Of coriander and winter
I love winter. The nip in the air, the warm jackets and feel of soft woolens, long long walks just before sunset, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, four-hour long brunches where you eat more than your stomach can hold really… there’s something about this season which makes me feel so nostalgic. Joyous that after long summers and drenched monsoons, the cold chill (in the good way of course) will make everything alright. It also helps that Christmas recipes, cards and decorations can be found everywhere.
I love food, especially in winters when jackets and over-sized, but sexy, sweaters hide the bloated stomach after long brunch sessions. And come 25th, I’ll be gorging on roasts but during the few months that Delhi succumbs to winter, my favourite meal is soup. Be it a light broth or heavy with cream, I can eat soup all day long. (I go with the traditional eat rather than drink, the intensity of the debate has gone beyond imagination really.)
Walking by the vegetable market recently, I came across a seller displaying only greens and gorgeous herbs. Of course I stopped because when fresh mint, coriander (cilantro, dhania), parsley and spinach call out your name, what other choice do you have? Anyway I bought a lot of coriander among many other things because I love the smell. The freshness it adds to dishes just takes them beyond the realm of ordinary. Sprinkle some over salads or lentils (dal), or give it a starring role, everything just tastes that much better.
So here I was with a LOT of coriander and winter engulfing me. The only sensible thing to do was to make soup! So, I made lemon-coriander soup to tickle my tastebuds with, but of course, a twist.
Lemon coriander soup (for those wonderful winter days)
Handful of coriander (stalk et al, chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Stock cube (You can make your stock from scratch if you have the time)
1 litre water (heated)
In a pot heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add onions and garlic and saute till translucent. Add the stock (handmade or stock cube mixed with hot water). Add salt and chilli flakes and bring the liquid to a boil. Throw in 3/4 of the chopped coriander and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon. Simmer for 1 minute and take the pot of the heat. Garnish each bowl with fresh coriander, pour the lemony liquid over and serve hot. A treat for the cold winter days or nights.
PS: Feel free to add vegetables like corn, mushrooms, capsicum or herbs such as oregano, basil and thyme. I often make this soup adding dried basil flakes with corn and extra lemon to make it more zingy.