Friday, 6 December 2013

FOX NUT SEEDS SOUP W/ BROWN BUTTER LENTIL TEMPERING



It is never a ‘soup season’ here in the coastal tropical city of India where I currently stay. By soup season I am referring to winters of the northern hemisphere; the time when so many families enjoy a bowl of steaming hot soup to comfort themselves and beat the winter chills. The warm weather ensures that we guzzle cool beverages throughout the year. What is interesting however is that dal or dhal, which most Indians here have every day, is referred to as ‘lentil soup’ by the West. By that standard, I have soup virtually every day365 days a year!

Now, dal is essentially a part of the main course and not something that is consumed before a meal. For a regular Indian family, dal is like a side dish or an accompaniment to every meal that is savored with either rice or roti (thinly rolled Indian flat bread that is cooked on a tawa or skillet over a gas stove). 

This soup, however, won’t pair well with roti or rice. This is to be enjoyed with bread sticks or sliced crusty bread and interestingly, pairs beautifully with this biscotti (I leave out the rosemary).

For the soup you would need:

For Soup:

cup fox nuts
¼ tsp ghee (optional, for toasting)
4 cups water
1 inch knob of ginger (bruised slightly, using a pestle)
1 big green chili (mine was medium hot)
½ tsp crushed red pepper corns or black pepper
Salt to taste

Tempering:
1 tsp (+/-) ghee* or any nutty oil of your choice 
A very small pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ivory lentils (urad dal)
½ tsp split Bengal grams (chana dal)
A few sage leaves or curry leaves


Soup:
To make the soup, toast the fox nuts in ghee (the fox nuts toast well without ghee too) as explained here sans the pepper and salt

Fill a pot with water and pop in the ginger and whole green chili. Bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, crush the fox nuts with a rolling pin or in a grinder so that some are finely powdered and others are coarsely ground. Once the water begins to boil, add the crushed fox nuts. Stir and cook on high for 2-3 minutes and then reduce the flame to medium and cook approx 25-30 minutes or till the water attains a creamy consistency and the nuts are well cooked. (The water will be reduced to nearly three cups) Remove from heat and cover the pot to cool slightly. (Scoop out the green chili & ginger.) Blitz the soup in a liquidizer to attain a purée like consistency. 

Season the soup with salt and pepper & stir it well. Heat the soup again and bring the consistency of the soup to your desired thickness by adding more water or milk (if you want it slightly rich) or simmering it down if you find it thin. 

Tempering: 
Since the tempering process happens real quick, I would advise here that you keep all the ingredients of the tempering ready. 

Heat a small frying pan and reduce heat to minimum. Add ghee and then the asafoetida immediately along with it. Tip in the mustard seeds. The seeds will crackle and splutter. (I usually cover the pan till the crackling sound stops). Now add the lentils and sage leaves. Fry till the lentils attain golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and keep the pan aside. 

Pour the hot soup in bowls or mugs and spoon some of the tempering over each bowl/mug and serve with bread or biscotti. 

*Ghee is the Indian name for brown butter or beurre noisette

Note: Feel free to use black pepper corns instead of red pepper corns. (I used them just not for their taste but also for their dramatic red colour.)


Serves 3

54 comments:

  1. Have to try these fox nuts.Soup looks comforting :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fox nut seed soup that is really innovative, love the idea of using those red peppers it has brought so much color to the soup.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am loving what I see. Those ingredients certainly worked together for a delicious outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love it! Never thought about using fox nuts to make soup! I bet it tastes wonderful with the daal tempering. Yummy! It is funny how daal is considered a soup here and the ME too. Every time I made daal for a dinner where my Arab friends would attend, they'd all want bowls for their "soup"! I always forgot to put out bowls, we always eat it as a side!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nazneen. It all started with an experiment and ended up being a soup!
      Ha ha ha...it is really funny. When I first saw the dal being addressed as soup, I thought it was ridiculous!

      Delete
  5. It's cold here, so soup is always welcome. Looks delicious. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yum... this looks so good, kinda reminds me of that buttermilk with tadka. Looks so good.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's an innovative idea of using fox nuts to make soup, creative & fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ambreen. I had read somewhere that fox nuts can be added for thickening and that is what triggered the idea for this soup.

      Delete
  8. I'm off to Google fox nuts. I have no idea what they are. I love visiting your blog because I'm always learning new ingredients.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much dear :)
      That is the beauty of blogging and having blogger friends across the globe...one gets to learn so much about food, cuisines and cultures.

      Delete
  9. Fox nuts, now that's something I haven't seen in a while or used. Very interesting recipe, the tempering looks so good.

    ReplyDelete
  10. We love soup! And have it all the time. I don't believe I've had one made with fox nuts - need to try this. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very homely recipe! Would certainly love to try!

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's getting cool here in Delhi and soup is perfect right now. You know your last post you wrote about gobi parathas and I ended up making them 10 minutes after commenting on the post! I even added chaat masala which is the first time...so thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! I hope they turned out nice and you enjoyed them :-)

      Delete
  13. I've never heard of fox nuts before... I bet this soup tastes heavenly.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  14. I absolutely love soup, so I love the idea that you eat "soup" 365 days a year. I could get into that! And this soup looks SO lovely. It's soup season here in Tennessee, so I could go for a bowl right now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha ha...yes...soup 365 days is really comforting :D

      Delete
  15. soup looks delectable...great food clicks,thanks for sharing :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is a great recipe Taruna. I have only used fox nuts in panjiri or sometimes sabji. Certainly making it now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bal. I hope you and your family enjoy it :)

      Delete
  17. Una idea fantàstica,deliciosa y elegante me encantò,abrazos.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow that is unique and looks amazing. Must try. Funny indeed as with all Indian restaurants here I always had Dal as a starter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Next time, try it with rice and I am sure you will fall in love with dal all over again :-)

      Delete
  19. This looks delicious. I love the flavors and such a comforting dish, too.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Delicious soup looks perfect cold weather.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautiful photos of your lovely soup'1

    ReplyDelete
  22. looks fabulous and healthy deliciously presented

    ReplyDelete
  23. I can't believe I haven't made soup yet. What is wrong with me?? This looks SO good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cathleen. I hope you try it soon :)

      Delete
  24. I had to look up fox nuts...never heard of them! Looks like an interesting soup!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I can never say no to a good bowl of soup! Especially one with brown butter...mmmm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Join the gang! I love brown butter. Smear it on a flat bread and you will love it even more ;-)

      Delete
  26. This is my first time hearing/seeing fox nuts. Looks delicious and it was fun to learn new dish!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I was getting a bit tired of soups but this is a totally new recipe that looks
    irresistible.
    Beautiful shots and an amazing dish- thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  28. wow, what a beautifull fox nuts soup......
    damn delicious with brown butter!
    bow down with your photograph too my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  29. am really into collecting soup recipes, am going bookmark it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. What an unusual soup! I've never tried fox nuts or any soup like this one for that matter. A very interesting and delicious looking soup! Thanks for introducing something new!

    ReplyDelete
  31. This soup is so pretty - that's if you could call a soup "pretty." Your presentation and pictures are wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Soup looks so inviting and tempting clicks...you have a wonderful blog . do try to visit my place when time permits love to have your feedback dear.following u glad if u follow me back.. Have a good day.. Happy Blogging
    Preetha

    Ongoing event : “Dish-it-out” – “Light Dinners”
    http://abowlofcurry.blogspot.in/2013/12/dish-it-out-light-dinners.html

    ReplyDelete

IT IS ALWAYS ENCOURAGING TO HEAR FROM FRIENDS AND READERS. I CAN ALSO BE REACHED AT: easyfoodsmith@gmail.com