One of the most enlightening and entertaining aspects of cooking at home is realizing the sweeping variety of recipes that exist across the world. Sometimes I love to sit down with a cookbook and look at recipes I'll probably never make and might not even like just to take in the culinary diversity expressed by creative people all over the globe.
So what is the most universally-consumed food across all cuisines? My gut says it's probably wheat, since almost all cultures consume some type of bread, pasta, dumpling, or noodle. But that same gut (which is getting hungrier the more I think about delicious, delicious carbs) also thinks the humble potato has to be in the top five somewhere. In fact, the wealth of scholarly publications on the history and cultural impact of the potato suggest I might be onto something! Mmm... potatoes.
According to the World Potato Atlas (yes, for realz), potatoes were first brought to India sometime in the 1600s but were initially received with skepticism. Today, however, they're used in many Indian dishes, from main dishes to dessert. They're often used in samosas, which are deep-fried, vegetable-stuffed pastries that are often spicy. I like samosas, but I'm not into deep-frying food at home, so when I saw this gorgeous vegan soup that turns samosas inside out, I couldn't wait to try it!
You will need:
- 4-6 medium potatoes, scrubbed well but not peeled, chopped into even chunks
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1-2 green chilis, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced OR 1/2 Tbsp onion powder (Boo for IBS.)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 cups vegetable broth (make sure it's gluten-free if you're going for that)
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- juice of half a lime
- 1/2 cup cooked green peas (I used frozen)
- 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- chutney and/or fresh cilantro leaves
- Place the potato chunks in a large stockpot and cover with cold water by an inch or so. Bring to a boil and cook with the lid off or vented (to prevent it boiling over) until the potatoes are fork-tender. (The length of time will vary, depending on the size of your chunks.) Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot to keep warm. Set aside.
- Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a skillet; add the chilis, garlic, and onion/onion powder to the oil and cook 2-3 minutes.
- Add the spices (cumin seeds through ginger, above) to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, for another 2-3 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant and sizzling.
- Using a rubber scraper, add the spice mixture to the drained potatoes. Pour in the vegetable broth, coconut milk, and lime juice. Use an immersion blender to blend the potatoes and liquids, making it as smooth or chunky as you prefer. (I used a lot of potatoes, so mine was THICK -- like one-step-below-mashed-potatoes thick!)
- When the soup has reached your desired consistency, fold in the peas and chickpeas. Add salt to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each portion with a swirl of chutney (Sharwood's Mango & Ginger Chutney is lovely) and/or a sprinkling of chopped cilantro leaves.
This soup is silky and elaborately-spiced. It wasn't hot-spicy (I used only one chili and it was getting old anyway) but deeply flavorful in a multi-layered sort of way. It really did taste like the inside of a samosa!
Admittedly, I changed quite a few things from Shannon's original recipe. I left out a couple spices but increased the amount of the remaining ones, added ginger and curry powder, upped the coconut milk, and skipped grinding the spices in a food processor. I didn't mind the texture of the seeds in the soup, especially because it meant I didn't have to clean my behemoth of a food processor. Sometimes laziness wins out over authenticity, especially in my case!
Happy Vegan MOFO (MOnth of FOod), friends! Once again, I'll try to post a new vegan recipe at least once a week. If there's anything in particular you'd like me to try out, leave a comment below!