These days I’ve been cooking a lot of Thai or Thai-influenced food. Maybe my Thai visa could have something to do with it! Yes yes I shall soon be heading there to taste the authentic stuff but till then, I have to make do with what I can cook at home.
I love the balance of flavours found in the cuisine. The harmony so perfect, no element overpowering the other. Tom Yum Soup is one of my all-time favourites and I make it often for lunch or dinner. But, instead of the usual ingredients, I like to play around sometimes with the unusual. Carrots instead of prawns? Why not I say!
It’s still slightly chilly in Delhi so why not make the most of it, right? So, a simple lunch I did make — Tom Yum soup with carrots accompanied by chicken and basil brown bread sandwiches…
Soup (Serves 4)
1 medium size carrot (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped finely)
1 lemon grass (the tender stalk, chopped)
4 kaffir lime leaves (chopped finely)
1 red chilly (deseeded and chopped finely)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
3 tsp Tom Yum paste
1 lemon (juice)
1 litre chicken/vegetable stock
Coriander to garnish
(I’ve started keeping roasted/grilled chicken in the freezer. I can shred it and use it where ever I fancy)
12 slices brown bread (for the health conscious)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Handful chicken (roasted or grilled but shredded)
8 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
1 cube processed cheese (grated)
Salt to taste
In a deep pot with a cover, add all the ingredients (except coriander) for the soup and put it on the heat. Once the stock comes to a boil, simmer it till a gorgeous smell envelopes your kitchen. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.
While the soup is boiling away, mix the mayo, chicken, basil, cheese and salt. Spread evenly on six bread slices and cover with the remaining six. Cut into triangles. An easy lunch under 15 minutes!
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.