Monday, October 26, 2009

Soup for dinner (two ways)!

I am not able to take any credit for this recipe, but it is a fabulous example of a vegetarian soup that is so flavorful and hearty that you really cannot miss meat in the meal. The recipe is from Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking; this book is quite interesting as she goes beyond just recipes and expounds on a lot of the food-related culture along with menu suggestions. It was published in 1985, but good food never goes out of style in my opinion. The original recipe does call for light cream or milk, but I like to use fat free evaporated milk for the creaminess, just a little bit lighter. You could easily substitute plain soymilk or the like, as well as olive oil for the ghee, to make this lactose-intolerant or vegan-friendly. I love the flavor of ghee, but the curry lends so much flavor that you really would not miss the ghee here.

This soup is so simple to prepare and all you really need is a salad to go with, bread or other sides are optional. The first night we had some veggie samosas (from the freezer) and a green salad. Tonight we had leftovers over some rice - the soup thickens up a bit so it is more like a dal or stew - with a green salad.

Cream of Curried Vegetable and Split Pea Soup Recipe

Makes 6 servings

4 T ghee
1 T curry powder (My favorite is Penzeys Spices' Sweet Curry powder - not spicy at all but wonderful flavor)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup water
3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, finely pureed (or 1/2 cup canned tomato puree)
3 cups cooked split peas
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp coarse salt, or to taste
1/2 cup fat free evaporated milk
  1. Heat the ghee in a 3 or 4 quart deep pot over medium-high heat. When it is very hot, add the curry powder and immediately add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute the vegetables, stirring often to ensure that they brown evenly, for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water, the tomatoes, split peas, pepper and salt. Cover and cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender (10 minutes). Add enough milk to mellow and velvetize the soup as well as thin it.

  2. Heat the soup thoroughly and serve garnished with chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), if desired.

Read more (and for nutrition info):

If you need some help on how to cook the split peas, check out
It really doesn't take too long, and you can always cook up a larger batch and throw some in the freezer for another day. Alternatively, cook up what you need for the soup a day in advance to make the prep even faster when you are ready to make the soup.
Check out Julie Sahni's book for many more delicious-sounding vegetarian recipes. She also has a number of other Indian cookbooks, both vegetarian and non.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Sadly it's been awhile, in large part to the relative lack of cooking that had been going on in our household. A couple of busy weeks led to too much eating out or quick throw-together meals that were fairly standard and unexciting (i.e. a lot of pasta). However, yesterday I finally got around to a couple of recipes I'd wanted to try in honor of Oktoberfest. Better late than never? Anyway, here goes!

Knefla Soup
About 6 servings.

Adapted from Knefla Soup I by Sue H. from Yummy potato soup with homemade noodles.

4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
5 tsp chicken-flavored boullion
1 T dried parsley
7 cups water
Ground black pepper, to taste

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 cup skim milk
1 (12 oz) can evaporated skim milk

6 tsp. Artificial "bacon" bits to garnish, optional

In a large stock pot combine potatoes, onion, carrot, celery, bouillon, parsley, water, and ground black pepper to taste. Simmer until vegetables become tender.

In a separate bowl mix 2 c flour, egg, salt and milk. Mix until dough is formed - adding flour as needed - and form into long strips by rolling into "snakes". Cut into bite-size pieces into soup pot. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat, add evaporated milk, stir and serve. Sprinkle on "bacon" bits, if desired.

Vegetarian Bierocks Recipe

Makes 20 servings (if you can eat just one)

German buns with vegetarian "beef" and cabbage filling.

If you're intimidated by the idea of making the dough, you can substitute 2 - 1lb loaves of frozen bread dough, and thaw them. Skip the dough prep up to dividing into pieces and rolling them out. Or, if you use old-fashioned yeast instead of Rapid Rise you should first dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand, then mix the other dough ingredients together using 1/2 the flour, add the yeast. When smooth add the remaining flour as usual. You'll need to let it rise 1 hour before forming buns, and rising time before baking might be longer.

cups warm water
ounce active dry yeast (Rapid Rise)
cup white sugar
cup butter, softened
teaspoons salt
cups all-purpose flour
cups white whole wheat flour
cup textured vegetable protein (tvp) flakes
beef flavored boullion cube
tablespoon olive oil
onion, diced
red bell pepper, diced
cloves garlic
head green cabbage, (medium size) shredded
tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
tablespoons melted butter

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with remaining butter and serve warm.

    1. To prepare the dough: in bowl of a stand mixer combine 4 cups of all-purpose flour and the whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and rapid-rise yeast. Melt butter and combine with warm water and egg. Slowly add to bowl with mixer running. Add enough of remaining flour as need to form dough, without being too stiff or too sticky. Dough should pull away from sides of bowl nicely. At this point, cover and let rest for 10 + minutes.

    2. Following directions for TVP, boil the correct amount of water and crumble in the boullion cube. Pour over TVP and allow to rehydrate. Heat a large skillet and add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic, when softening add red pepper, cabbage and rehydrated TVP. Cook until cabbage is softening and mix in worcestershire sauce. Allow to cool somewhat while forming buns.

    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover dough and punch down. Divide into 20 roughly even-sized piece. Roll out each piece into 4-6" circle. Place ~ 2 tablespoons of filling in center, and pinch edges together over filling (so you have a roughly round bun). Place pinched-side down on a greased baking sheet.
    4.  Once a sheet is filled, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area for 30 min - 1 hour. Test by lightly pressing two fingers into dough, if an indentation remains dough is properly risen.

    5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with remaining butter and serve warm.
    If you're interested in nutrition info, I added both of these to Calorie Count:

    Hubby Jon loved the soup, even without the "bacon" bits. I can't say I have had the original, authentic version of either of these, so if you have please let me know how these compare. Enjoy!