Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spicy Vegetable Soup

This should be called the about-to-leave-for-vacation-empty-the-fridge-soup.

I wasn't expecting anything extraordinary. Just wanted some nice hot soup, and needed to get rid of some veggies before leaving for vacation. I didn't even really have a vision in mind of what this would taste like, but I did know two things.
First I wanted it to be fairly tomato based. A good friend of mine got me hooked on tomato based vegetable soups last year, and I just can't shake em. Second, I started to crave a spicy vegetable soup with an indian influence, just like the ones my husband used to make me when we first met.

The spice in this is just right, and is a wonderful balance with the sweetness of the vegetables especially from the corn, which still retains some slight crunch.

1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 really hot pepper
2 carrots
1 small bell pepper
6 tomatoes
1 medium zucchini (half reserved)
1 tablespoon (or more, I honestly wasn't measuring) of homemade curry powder (*recipe below)
4 cups of vegetable stock
2 cobs of corn (1 reserved)
handfull of spinach

Chop onions and garlic, and heat over medium heat in a pot with some oil. Once the onions start to cook and  become near-transclucent, add the carrots and let cook for about 5-10 minutes. Next add the bell pepper, tomatoes, 1/2 of the zucchini, hot pepper, and the curry powder. Give it a good stir and let the vegetables cook with the spices for 5-10 minutes. Add the stock, and the corn from one cob (stand the cob up in a bowl, and with a sharp knife slice down the length of the cob removing the kernels). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. After about a half hour of simmering, add the reserved zucchini and corn. Let cook for at least another 10 minutes, and add chopped spinach right before serving.

*The curry powder I used is derived from an english style madras curry powder from "660 Curries" by Raghavan Iyer:

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Place all the seeds in a spice (or coffee) grinder and grind until the texture resembles that of finely ground black pepper. Stir in the turmeric, and mix well. Blend can be stored in an airtight container away from excess hight/light/humidity.
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