Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup – An Aromatic Revelation!

Just the other day, was my lucky day as I was being treated to a delicious Indian feast made by my hubby, Graeme. I knew that he went to a special Indian grocery store and was grinding up his own garam masala spices, but I did not know that he was going to make one of his best soups ever! When he started to heat up the spices for the soup, I was amazed at the aroma in our house – seriously good and the best I ever smelt. I felt like I have been transported somewhere in the world where I never have been…perhaps it was India. This recipe Graeme followed is one of Jamie Olivers. And now after the fact, I read the recipe in the book and Jamie mentioned in the introduction that the spices being used have amazing smells once you heat them up. Jamie was not joking at all.

The Verdict of Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup?

So how did the soup smell? OMG, so buttery and a very unique earthy smell that makes your tastebuds salivate on the spot. Never smelt aroma like it nor do I think I can ever guess what are the spices floating around in our abode. And then when my mouth had the liberty of the soup to swirl around, I experienced a very wonderful exotic, rich, earthy, and elegant dish. The white fish and rice with the spices also gave it a very delicate property as well. It seems to have many dimensions. One can also say that it is an Indian Risotto without the labour of all of the stirring.  The cod goes so well. and oh so buttery. I cannot stop saying buttery and there is no butter in this dish! My hips are thanking me on that part. Love the random curry leaves. And now we have this wonderful masala ground up for future dishes. By the time I reached my third spoonful of goodness, I told my husband that it was his best ever soup even though he has made some very scrumptious soups in the past.

The only thing I would change to this soup, is to put less rice or more water. The original recipe measurement for rice says “2 handfuls” and it can be quite relative to the person making the soup. When my husband made it, it was a tad too thick. Perhaps Jamie has smaller hands? :)

I sure hope Graeme makes this soup again in the future. This soup was a perfect accompaniment to the Onion Tomato Chutney and Cucumber Raita (made with cashew cream) with Papadums!

Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • a handful of fresh curry leaves, picked off stalks
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (or we ground up our own from:
    coriander, cumin, fennel, clove,clove leaf, nay leaves, black pepper, star anise, mace, black cardamon, cinnamon)
  • 1.5 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced.
  • 2 large thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of basmati rice
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1lb fish, skinned cod, filtered and cut into 2-3 inch chunks
  • 2 14oz cans of coconut milk
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of 2 limes
  • a handful of fresh cilantro roughly chopped, keep some to garnish

Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup Instructions:

  • Heat oil up in a big pan, then add the mustard seeds, curry leafs, cumin seeds, garam masala, chili powder and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes and you’ll get the most amazing smells filling the room from all of these spices.
  • Then add the chillies, ginger, garlic and onions. Continue cooking slowly until the garlic and onions are soft.
  • The add the rice and water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Add your fish and the coconut milk with a pitch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then stir well to break up the pieces of fish.
  • Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, then just before you serve it squeeze in the lime juice and stir in half the cilantro.
  • Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle a tad more of cilantro on top. Enjoy!

Source for Original Recipe:  Jamie’s Dinners, The Essential Family Cookbook. Jamie Oliver, Recipe: Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup, Page 153

What Was Changed From Original Recipe: Nothing really, my husband follows recipes pretty bang on. He went the extra mile and ground up his own garam masala

Soup Mistress Rating For Southern Indian Rice and Seafood Soup:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5) 
Presentation: (3.75/5 )
Taste: (5/5) 

Not many soups will ever get a 5/5 for taste, but this one deserves it!

Vegetarian or Pescatarian Curry Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

 Above is a Pescatarian version with grilled shrimp and eggplant that I made a month later – what a mighty fine addition indeed! Below is the vegetarian version:

So what is Laksa? Well, let me share with you on Wikipedia says:

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). It can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.

The Verdict of Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:

Over a year ago, I was blessed with visiting Singapore, Malaysia for 5 weeks and had a chance to try a few Laksa soups to appreciate it from where it originated. All versions I tried had either chicken or seafood in it when I was there. I did not see any vegetarian versions. For my version below, I decided to make a vegetarian Laksa (with egg) and I really LOVED the result, taste and healthiness.

I am sold on this very authentic soup base recipe. If I closed my eyes and smelt the aroma of the soup I made, I truly felt like I was back in Asia!!

I had great fun making my version of the soup for two reasons:

  1. I had an opportunity to use my fancy spiralizr to replace rice noodles with healthy veggie zuchinni noodles. They worked very well.
  2. I attempted to make a perfectly soft-boiled egg to put in the soup and will be trying it in the future with a ramen version I am sure. It added a velvety goodness to the soup!

Laksa Paste Ingredients:

  • 4 red chilies (If you are using dried ones, you need to presoak them)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, chopped
  • 3 cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped
  • 5 cashew nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Laksa Paste Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a food Processor. Process until finely chopped. Add oil. Process until a smooth paste forms.

Laksa Soup Ingredients:

  •  Laksa paste (above)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2½ tsp brown or raw sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1.5 cup tofu, cubed small to medium sized
  • 2½ cups bean sprouts
  • 3 cups fresh zucchini noodles, spiralized from whole zucchini
  • 1/2 pund shrimp (optional/added)
  • 1 cup diced eggplant (optional/added)

Garnish/Fixings Ingredients:

  • 2 soft boiled eggs (7 minute egg: boil water, softly immerse 2 cold eggs in boiling water, simmer water for exactly 7 minutes, immerse eggs in cold ice water bath, peel and slice the egg just right before placed in the bowls for serving)
  • Fried shallots (in peanut oil)
  • Fresh Thai Basil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Lime wedges in quarters

Laksa Soup Instructions:

  • Optional: grill shrimp until almost cooked pink/white. Put aside on plate.
  • Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add Laksa paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add stock and sugar. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer.
  • Add carrots, cabbage, and eggplant return to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Separately, in a frying pan, sauté the zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to make them to soft and mushy. Divide these noodles among bowls for serving.
  • Add coconut milk, tofu and beansprouts. Stir gently to combine, then bring almost to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes or until beansprouts are wilted and tofu are heated through.
  • Ladle Laksa soup among bowls. Drop in a few grilled shrimps (optional), scatter over fried shallots, basil leaves, Sriricha sauce, and lime wedges.

Original Soup Recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/malay-curry-laksa-laksa-lemak

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added cabbage
  • Added carrots
  • Added soft boiled eggs
  • Omitted prawns, chicken and fish balls
  • Replaced chicken stock with vegetarian stock
  • Replaced thin rice noodles with zucchini noodles
  • Replaced tofu puffs with sprouted organic tofu
  • Replaced mint with basil for garnish

Soup Mistress Rating For Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup – A Road Bikers Delight To End The Day With!

Just this last weekend, I was treated to a very nice soup.  After biking a 41 miler through Red Rock all the way to Blue Diamond and up the highway, Graeme (Soup Mister himself) decided to make us this very healthy Coconut Curry Lentil Soup. It was very healthy PLUS blog worthy to share. A true road bikers delight to end the day with!

The Verdict of Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

When Graeme said that he was going to make a very simple soup, it sounded like nothing special, but YUM YUM YUM, I was wrong! This soup was buttery without butter and very curry-delicious! I would lap this up again in a heartbeat *hint* *hint*!

This soup is very versatile as a soup or I’d even consider thickening it like a stew. Perhaps scooping papadums in the thicker version to pick up the buttery lentils and tomatoes. or put it over some nice white fluffy rice!

This soup was very good the next day, I had a spoonful right out of the fridge before heating up and it was awesome even cold! I wouldn’t change anything in the recipe.

Graeme used famous Vij’s Masala spice in the soup that I purchased up in Vancouver. Vij’s Restaurant is a must go to restaurant if you are ever in Vancouver, Canada.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (I think Graeme may have added a tad more)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (Graeme used Viji’s Masala spice (pic above))
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups dry red lentils (Graeme used brownish/green lentils)
  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach (Oops, this was left off, perhaps next time we will add in)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) and/or vegan sour cream (we used my homemade cashew cream)

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Instructions:
  1. In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir-fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onion is translucent, a couple minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are very tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Before serving, stir in the kale/spinach.
  5.  Ladle out in serving bowls.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and/or cashew cream.
  7. Enjoy!

Graeme followed this recipe here from Vegangela’s Blog (Funny just realized Angela is from my hometown Winnipeg as well – nice stuff Angela!): http://vegangela.com/2014/01/09/coconut-curry-lentil-soup/

Soup Mistress Rating For Black Bean Soup With A Myriad of Fixings:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.8/5
Presentation: (3.85/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Thai Curry Soup With Silver Sillago Fish For Brave Hearts Only!

Just the other day I went back to a restaurant called Salaloy in Rawai Beach, Phuket, Thailand. On my previous visit, I noticed that they had some very interesting soups on their menu and I was up for an adventurous meal this time.

The soup that got my attention was the Curry Soup with Silver Sillago Fish and Vegetables (for 150 Baht or about $5 Canadian). I never tasted nor heard of Sillago fish and wanted to try something local and fresh. They first looked like sardines on the menu pics but they were a tad bigger than I expected.

Here’s what they look like fresh:

The waiter didn’t speak English very well and told me that the soup was VERY spicy and pointed for me to try something else on th menu, but I was up for the challenge and told him so with confidence!

I was hungry, and when the soup arrived, I was happy to see that it was very rustic looking and had a lot of substance. When I actually dug in with my spoon, I realized that the soup was jammed packed with about 6 whole fishes – with gills, tail, head and eyes! I’m not normally one for eating a whole fish, but I must admit the fish was pretty darn good. The fresh white meat slid off the spine very clean and was nice and flakey. Not sure if I can compare the fish to anything I have had in the past, but it was just nice and not to fishy nor dense.

I was very glad that I ordered rice with this soup. This soup was damn spicy and the rice cooled it down for every spoonful I had. Let’s just say that this soup was spicy enough to make a boy into a man or make a women grow hair on her chest if she was to have this soup all the time! I’m betting that the spiciness rating would be a 10 or even a 10+ easily in North American restaurants! Don’t get me wrong with the spiciness, I loved the soup and ate it all up. Just had a red face afterwards.

Beside the not so in your face curry spices that blended in the soup, it had hot red chiles and peppercorns. Look at the green fresh peppercorn galore that was swimming in my soup below! It was a jam-packed pool party for them! This is the first time ever I had fresh peppercorns like this in bunches. Wonder if I can buy them back home like this?

The other wonderful ingredients floating in the soup that I can tell were: keffir lime leaves, mushrooms, baby corn, Thai green eggplant (which I really loved the most in the soup). The Thai eggplant was much different from Chinese eggplant and had a great firm yet juicy texture (not as mushy as purple eggplant).

Here’s what a Thai eggplant looks like up close:

I would consider ordering this soup again someday or try to make a similar one at home, but probably turn down the heat from a 10 to a 7.

Handy Dandy Note: I just learnt over the last few days, that most food prepared in Thailand restaurants are laced with MSG. I did have a tad of a bad reaction from the MSG from this soup afterwards (swollen ankles and fast heartbeat) and next time I will try to ask the kitchen not to add it if they can. I understand that not all restaurants here comply to your request though, either because the cook may be stubborn or wait staff not knowing what MSG is.

If you are ever in Thailand and want to order food with out MSG, this is how to say it: “Mai sai pong chuu rot”. You would pronounce it like so: “Mai (down) sai (up) pong (up) chuu (neutral) rot (high tone)”

Soup Mistress Rating For Thai Curry Soup with Silver Sillago Fish:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.75/5
Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup With Quinoa

Curry Squash Lentil Soup

Picture 1 of 9

Brrr, can someone turn up the heat please? I’m in Vegas and it has been chilly and rainy for the last few days – I feel very much like I am back home in rainy Vancouver, BC!

Soup is on my mind more lately and since there seems to be abundance of squash at the supermarkets – I asked myself “why not make a soup with it?”

I found this recipe online (link below) but I adjusted it a tad to my liking.

The Verdict of Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup With Quinoa

This soup’s broth turned out pretty tasty with just enough curry.  The original recipe called for only water in the base – I think adding in vegetable stock in place of the water made the broth much nicer! I liked how the cilantro oil floated on the top and gave a nice herbal flavour. The quinoa was hearty and filling and a great source of protein. If I was to make this soup again in the future (and I think I may), I would add a little more celery. I think the soup had a little more room for some chunky vegetables like celery and carrot if you like. I also liked the fact that I substituted coconut oil for olive oil – it added a little bit of a Thai flair to the curry broth. My soup tester fella really liked the souo as well and only commented that it needed a little more ginger in the next batch!

I found it interesting that the red lentils sort of dissolved into the soup. I am sure they added to the tasty broth even though I could not distinguish them in my spoonful of goodness!

We ate the soup two days in a row and on the second day, we added some torn up kale – it worked very well in the soup!  I never felt healthier after soup as I did with this one!

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup  Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 2 carrot, chopped small
  • 2 celery rib, chopped small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart (32 oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup quinoa

For cilantro oil:

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil
  • salt
I like to chop the vegetables really nice and small so it presents well in the soup!

 

Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup Instructions:

  • Heat coconut oil in a large heavy pot,  on medium saute squash, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir in curry powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
  • Add lentils, broth and water and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes. Stir in lemon juice into soup and season with salt and pepper in the soup.
  • In a separate pot while soup is simmering, boil 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water, simmer until fluffy.
  • Ladle soup into bowls, add in a scoop of quinoa and drizzle cilantro oil.
  • Enjoy!

Make cilantro oil: 
Purée cilantro, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender.

Serve soup drizzled with cilantro oil.

Original recipe from here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curried-Squash-and-Red-Lentil-Soup-351416#ixzz2l7gwR653

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Replaced butter and vegetable oil with cocnut oil for soup base and cilantro oil.
  • Changed basmati rice to quinoa as the accompaniment.
  • Replaced half the water with broth – I like always using a vegetable broth for more depth.
  • Added 1 more carrot and celery rib.
  • Added salt to cilantro oil. It tasted too bland without the salt. Salt lifts the flavours very much so!

What I’d Do Next Time to Make it Even Better:

  • Add one more celery rib.
  • Add one more teaspoon of minced ginger.

Soup Mistress Rating for Curried Squash and Red Lentil Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (3.5/5) 

Taste: (4.25/5)