December 13, 2015

A Tale of 2 Soups

Sunday night of last week, I made soup number 4 for the season.  A tomato-lentil option that was almost identical to the delicious lentil soup from last week, except with canned garden tomato purée subbed for some of the broth and less added lemon and vinegar due to the acidity of the tomatoes (and, of course, since I'm spicing as I finish the soup, no doubt it ended up differently).  Overall, delicious.

We have one serving left, and it was slated for tonight, but then I took the spare time in my day today to make a new soup and it smelled so delicious that the last of the lentils will have to wait for tomorrow night.  Such is the conflict of plentitude in homemade soup season.

Today's soup was a modification of a bunch various recipes I read about mung beans, and in particular, preparations involving coconut milk.  E & I are very happy with the result (recipe below), so much so that I tried to take several photos after we'd lost most of the day's natural light to celebrate the awesome outcome.

Post last seasoning taste, cooling on the stove, delicious (not well lit)

4 T high heat oil (I use safflower oil)
1 T cumin seeds (I may consider increasing to 1.5T next time)
2 T mustard seeds (I think I'd go for 1 T next time)

3-4 T of garlic powder (I'm not proud of this, but I ran out of garlic)
2 minced hungarian hot peppers from the garden (sub 2-3 minced peppers of your chosen heat, be ready to turn hood/fan on high to minimize capsaicin smoke)

3 C preserved tomato puree from the garden (sub 1 Q canned stewed tomatoes or lightly cooked down sauce with water)

2 T ginger powder
2 T ground coriander
1 T mustard powder (optional, didn't seem to add to the flavor much)
1 tsp turmeric
1+ tsp sea salt

2 C mung beans

4-6 cups water (depends on your preference of soupiness)

1 can coconut milk
Juice of 1-2 limes (or 1/4 cup lime juice)
1 C chopped fresh greens (I used arugula, 'cause it's what I had, apparently cilantro is traditional -- use less, or spinach or kale will work too)

On the kitchen table, under LED lighting.  Too much reflection.
Perhaps my favorite part about this recipe is step one:

1. Heat the oil 'til boiling and brown the cumin seeds (which crackle) and mustard seeds (which pop, like little tiny popcorn) as the first step for 1 minute.  Turn down to low.  Super aromatic and fun.  If you love cumin (like I do) you will find that the roasted cumin seed flavor that cooks into this soup is amazing.

2. Add minced onion and peppers and garlic powder (or 9 mashed cloves, which I really would have preferred to do, I just found myself without fresh garlic for once).  Cook down on low/medium for 1-2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and all spices.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to low and cook for 5 minutes.
Outside, soup's done, on the cover of the BBQ, black background and fading natural light.

3.  Add 2+ C of mung beans and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and turn down to a simmer.  Set timer for 30 minutes and stir 2+ times during that period.  Check for doneness.  If not done, add more water, 15 more minutes on low.  When mung beans are just past al dente, you are ready to finalize the soup.

4.  Turn off heat.  Add coconut milk, chopped greens, lime juice according to what you think you'd like and taste.  Stir more.  Add salt, sugar, lime juice and cayenne until the flavor is perfect.  Spoon it out into a bowl and try to take pictures.  Fail miserably when the bowl is overturned onto the ground, giving you an excellent opportunity to show the true texture of the final product. 

Perhaps the best photo to show texture, after the bowl fell off the BBQ cover and spilled all over the ground.
Enjoy warm.

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