Lemon Vegetable Clear Soup
Oh! Its the time of the year when a warm bowl of soup comforts you and soothes you! Its dark when you leave for work and its the same when you come home…all you want to do is curl up with something warm and a good book! I was in the library yesterday looking for a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read and that were finally available on the shelf! Strolling through the food section, I saw a two books on soups. The first one called “Vegetable Soups” from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen has a wide array of soups that go with the seasons. My soup is inspired by her Green Coriander and Ginger Broth (page 12 of the book). The recipe required tofu, celery, jalapeno and scallions – I had none of these. I also did not have a half cup of chopped coriander or a third cup of chopped coriander stems. To top it all, my taste buds wanted something tangy and lemony (I had 5 little lemons from the tree in my backyard, that looked very inviting)! Here’s what I came up with:
What You Need
- 1 Small Onion
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (Optional)
- 1/2 Inch piece of ginger
- 1 Cup of mixed frozen vegetables (TJ’s Soycutash or Tex Mex Vegetables, which have red peppers, onions, corn, black beans, edamame)
- 1/2 Cup of Frozen Shelled Edamame
- 1/2 Cup of Shredded Carrots
- 1/2 Cup of cracked wheat (optional)
- 1 Tblsp Cilantro Stems
- 2 Tblsp Chopped Cilantro
- 1 Cayenne pepper (or 2 Thai chiles)
- 2 Cups of Water
- 3 Small Lemons (about 1/3 cup of lemon juice)
- 2 tsps of Lemon zest
- 2 tsp Sesame oil
- 1/4 Tsp of Cumin Powder
- 1/4 Tsp of Pepper (or more, if you like)
- Salt to taste
How Its Done
- Dice the onion. Mince the ginger and the garlic and chop the cayenne finely. Chop the Cilantro stems into fine bits and the Cilantro leaves as well, separately.
- Zest the lemons. I had about 2 tsps of Lemon zest.
- Cover the cracked wheat in a deep microwave-sage dish (it tends to boil over, so you need a deep dish or a microwave rice cooker) with a cup of water and microwave for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a sauce pan.
- Add half the ginger, all the garlic and the cayenne to the oil, and add some salt. Stir for a couple of minutes till you smell of the ginger and garlic in the oil.
- Add the Cilantro to the oil and stir till they are a bright green. Add the onion and saute till translucent.
- Add the frozen vegetables, edamame and some more salt. Stir and let cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the water, the lemon zest, the cooked cracked wheat and the rest of the ginger and let come to a boil. The vegetables should be half done by now, still crunchy.
- Add the cumin powder and pepper, and the shredded carrots ( I give the carrots a rough chop so they’re easy to handle with a spoon). Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the cilantro and turn off the heat.
- Now, add the lemon juice, test for seasoning and adjust per your taste. The soup is ready!
The soup has layers of flavor – the first you experience is the tangy and refreshing lemon, then comes the slight heat of the cayenne, and finally when you swallow, the unmistakable warm taste of ginger. The crunchy vegetables and the cracked wheat add depth to the soup, while still keeping it light.
I served the soup with Spinach Bolani I’d bought at my farmers’ market, you can read more about it here A Bolani is an Afghani flat bread, stuffed with lentils or spinach or pumpkin or potato (akin to aloo paratha, but much thinner and lighter :-) ). I usually just warm the bolanis on a griddle, and spread a red pepper tapenade (or mango pickle). A variation is to add cheese on top and fold over while the cheese melts.