Destined for the soup pan | Photos by the writer
Destined for the soup pan | Photos by the writer

As temperatures fall and daylight hours shorten, it is time to put soup back on the seasonal menu. Soups are a treasure house of healthy nutrition, can be cheap to make and the basic recipes are meant to be played with and adjusted to meet personal tastes.

Soup can be served for lunch or dinner, especially if it is a seriously hearty soup accompanied by lots of delicious fresh bread, in chilly weather. Even as breakfast, soups are one of the oldest dishes known to man and will never lose their popularity.

Here are a few soup recipes to enjoy:

Spiced Pumpkin soup (Serves 6)

Ingredients

1kg cleaned, pumpkin, cubed
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 full bulb garlic, all the cloves peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons ginger paste
Handful of fresh green or red chillies, finely chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons white cumin seeds
Salt to taste
500ml milk
Fresh parsley/coriander for garnish

There’s nothing that quite compares to tucking into a warm bowl of soup — easy, nutritious and quick-cooking, it’s soul-food at its very best

Method

Put the cooking oil into a large soup pan.

Turn on the heat at low. Add the pumpkin, onion, garlic, ginger paste, chillies and potatoes and cook, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, for about 10 minutes, and then add the turmeric, zeera and salt. Cook, continuing to stir, for another 5 minutes and then add enough cold water to cover the ingredients fully. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring once in a while, until everything is thoroughly cooked.

Remove pan from heat and either mash the soup with a potato masher or put it through a blender and then return to the pan. Stir in the milk and heat the soup, slowly, for about 10 minutes, to allow all the flavours to blend and the milk to be absorbed. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh parsley or coriander or with croutons.

Accompany the soup with plain fresh bread and butter or with garlic and herb bread.

Thick pea soup
Thick pea soup

Thick Pea Soup (Serves 6)

Ingredients

500g dried peas
1 teaspoon baking powder/bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
4 tomatoes, chopped
3 teaspoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons ginger paste
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Place the peas in a large bowl pan, cover with at least twice their volume in water as they will swell up, stir in the baking powder/ bicarbonate of soda, cover and leave to soak overnight. The baking powder/ bicarbonate of soda helps to soften dried peas (beans and other dried pulses too), thus speeding up cooking time.

Rinse the peas in clean water and set aside.

Pour the oil into a large soup pan. Add onion, carrots, tomatoes, garlic and ginger paste and turmeric, stirring constantly on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the peas, salt and pepper to taste and enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until everything is thoroughly cooked through and the consistency of the soup is nice and thick. You may need to add more water during the cooking process, but be careful not to add too much or else the soup will become thin.

This hearty soup can be served in its chunky state or be put through a blender if you prefer your soup to be smooth. Serve piping hot with fresh bread and butter, garlic bread or croutons. You can garnish it with parsley if you like.

Spicy Fish Soup (Serves 6)

Ingredients

500g white fish, heera (red snapper) is perfect
1.5 litres water
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
4 green chillies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic paste
Salt and black pepper to taste
50g butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Fresh parsley or coriander to garnish

Method

Put the fish in a soup pan. Add water, and salt and pepper. Simmer until the fish is cooked. Remove the fish from the water and set it aside to cool. Keeping the pan of fishy water on the heat, add coriander, green chillies and garlic paste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, remove any bones from the fish, breaking up the flesh into small pieces as you do so. In a separate, small pan, melt the butter, stir in the flour and then add a little of the fishy water, stirring until a smooth sauce is formed. Next, add egg and then lemon juice to the sauce, stirring all the time to prevent lumps forming. If lumps do form, break them up by whisking the sauce. Put the deboned fish back into the soup pan and slowly pour in the sauce, stirring all the time. Simmer on a very low heat for 5 minutes and serve immediately, garnished with fresh parsley or coriander. Perfect served with hot fresh bread rolls or crunchy bread sticks.

Published in Dawn, EOS, November 7th, 2021

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