Thursday, September 14, 2006

Carrot-yellow squash soup

I've been trying to add fiber to my diet but it is very difficult to consume it in its original form. Juices and soups always work better than just boiled/steamed vegetables or in salads. So I decided to use the yellow squash from my garden along with some store bought organic carrots for this soup. Soups generally need herbs and spices for flavoring. I decided to use basil and coriander as my main flavouring ingredients. Also I wanted to participate in the Spice Is Right event. So this will be my entry where the spice is basil. Even though basil (holy basil - called thulasi) can be found in India and has part of its origin there I have never used it in cooking. Probably because I have only seen my hindu friends worship it at home and I have known it only for its medicinal uses. Anyway below are some useful facts about basil.

Basil is a bright green, leafy plant, Ocimum basilicum, which is in the mint family. Basil is widely used in Italian cuisine and is often paired with tomatoes. It is also used in Thai cooking. The herb complements meat, vegetables, cheese, and egg dishes. Native to India, Africa and the Mediterranean, Basil was called "The Herb of Kings" by the ancient Greeks. Basil was said to have been found growing around Christ's tomb after the resurrection, and so some churches place it around altars and use it to prepare holy water.An easy herb to grow, basil likes warm weather and lots of sun. There are many varieties of the herb, but the three most common seem to be the Large Leaf Basil, the tiny leafed Bush Basil, and the dark Purple Basil. If you attempt to grow basil in a garden, or outside in a pot, be sure to wait until after the last frost. And also make sure you harvest your Basil plants long before the first cold snap in the fall. Basil is an annual plant, and so will not survive the winter outside. Stalks of basil can be added to bottles of vinegar and used on salads. Basil leaves can be dried and crumbled and used just like the store-bought varieties. Fresh Basil leaves can be packed into the bottom of an air-tight container, covered with olive oil, and stored in the fridge for a month or 2. Don't freeze your Basil! Freezing will render it useless.
The Tulsi (also known as Tulasi) plant or Holy Basil is an important symbol in many Hindu religious traditions. The name "tulsi" means "the incomparable one".Tulsi is a venerated plant and devotees worship it in the morning and evening.Tulsi grows wild in the tropics and warm regions. Dark or Shyama (Krishna) Tulsi and light or Rama Tulsi are the two main varieties of basil.
Its aroma is distinctively different to its close cousin, the Thai Basil which is sometimes wrongly called Holy basil, in shops and on the internet, but they can be distinguished by appearance, aroma and flavor. Holy basil has purple stems, whereas Thai Basil has green stems; holy basil is slightly hairy, whereas Thai Basil is smooth and hairless; holy basil does not have the strong aniseed or licorice smell of Thai Basil; and Holy Basil has a hot, spicy flavor sometimes compared to cloves. Tulsi’s extracts are used in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Traditionally, tulsi is taken in many forms: as an herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal toiletry.

Ingredients:

Carrots (peeled and chopped) - 3
Yellow squash (chopped) - 1
Onion (finely chopped) - 1/2
Butter - 1 tbsp (can be substituted with olive oil)
Basil (dried and crused) - 2 tsp (fresh basil leaves can also be substitued)
Garlic (chopped) - 3 cloves
Salt - as needed
Sugar - 1 tsp
Pepper - as needed
Coriander leaves (chopped) - 2 tbsp



Method:

Pressure cook the carrots and yellow squash. After they have cooled blend them to a fine puree. Heat butter in a pan. Add chopped onions and garlic and fry till they are transparent. Then add the dried and crushed basil leaves. I crush them with a mortar and this helps to enhance the herb's fragrance. Add the carrot-yellow squash puree and half a cup of water and let it cook. Once it has reached the desired consistency add sugar, salt, pepper and coriander leaves and remove from flame after 2 min. Serve with a dollop of fresh cream on top. This tastes good with a slice of bread. I prefer a slice of slightly toasted french or garlic bread.

2 comments:

Deepa Cooks said...

Your carrot-yellow squash soup looks great.I thinks my baby will like that.I will give a try soon.

Just found your blog.Nice job.

Deepz said...

Thanks. Do let me kno if your kid approved my soup.