Monday, January 12, 2015

Warm and Cozy Curried Sweet Potatoes and Carrot Soup to welcome the New Year

We are 12 days into a brand new year and it seems a little silly to with greet with a broad Happy New Year grin! But then again this is my first post this year. So here is a little prayer for all of you out there.

Happiness deep down within
Hope with each sunrise
Success in each facet of life
Family by your side and close friends too
Health all the way and Love that never ends
Precious memories of Yesterday be with you always
A Today to be Thankful for...
With a Promise for Better Tomorrow!
Have a wonderful year ahead!!!

For us, 1st Jan 2015 was like any other Thursday. Ever since we came to the US, Sam works on New Year's Day. Its his financial year end. He works like a maniac. So no cakes and champagne and no crazy New Year's Eve Party for us. At the stoke of midnight we raised a toast. Drank some limited edition Scotch to good health. I went to bed and Sam to his reports. That's how the year arrived for us. But he made up. Took us for a late night ice-cream treat over the weekend. Late night ice-cream always does the trick!


Even though we were not celebrating the traditional way, I was happy. New Year's Eve always makes me happy. With Sid sleeping snugly in his bed and Sam comparing Excel files with utmost concentration, I stared at the bright Red Star of our Christmas tree, munching on the Crispy Chickpeas and waiting for the clock to strike Twelve. I realized I loved that time alone. I reflected upon the past year - the good, the bad, the ugly. It wasn't as profound as it is sounds. I didn't have a halo. I didn't become the enlightened one. It was more like a a stock check of events - "the year that was".


What makes me happy is that the feeling of hope and joy that I felt in the wee hours of 2015 has carried on for the the past few day and I hope it is still there on the day we say bye bye to 2015 and welcome 2016 in our lives.

And you know what else made me happy in the past few days?
This creamy bowl of wholesome goodness.



Honestly, this soup looks and sound straight out of a Gerber Menu Card.
Pureed Sweet Potatoes and Carrots.... Seriously???
Who would eat that!

But trust me, there is nothing Gerber(y) about this soup. Its warm, aromatic and so 'gingerly' good! Its like a cozy blanket, engulfing you in its warmth. Its absolutely dairy free but surprisingly creamy and velvety thanks to the starch in the sweet potatoes. And don't even get me stated on its nutritional quotient. The only down side of this delish Curried Sweet Potatoes and Carrot Soup is that, it can be a tad sweet for some palates. Adding some chopped Jalapenos or even green chilies is a quick fix. I have used my every day Indian spices like Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder, Coriander powder and Cumin powder to spice up the soup. In a pinch, regular store bought Curry Powder can be substituted.

So what are you'll waiting for. The sub zero temperatures and winter storm is a perfect excuse to try this soup!


Recipe Snapshot: Curried Sweet Potatoes and Carrot Soup
 

Serves: 4 serving
(1 serving = 3/4 cup)

What I used:
Sweet Potatoes - 3 medium sized or 2 large ones, cut into big chunks

Carrots - 2 big ones, cut into big pieces

Onion - 1 medium sized, finely chopped

Fresh Ginger (grated) - 1 heaped tsp
OR
Ground Ginger/ Dry Ginger Powder - 3/4 tsp

Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder (or use Paprika for less heat) - 1 tsp 
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
OR
Curry Powder - 2 tsp

Water or Vegetable Stock (or Chicken Stock) - 4 cups
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt
Pepper
Toasted Pumpkin seed and Jalapeno slices for garnish

What I did:
1. Wash, peel and chop the sweet potatoes and carrots into big chunks. I have used a pressure cooker to cook the veggies but its not a necessity.  You can easily do it on the stove top in a stock pot or a big saucepan. In case you do it in a saucepan, just cut the veggies smaller so that they cook easily. 

2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker or a big saucepan and add the onions and saute them till brown. 

3. Add the freshly grated ginger (or dry ginger powder), turmeric powder, red chili powder (or paprika for less heat), coriander powder and cumin powder and saute till the raw flavor of the masala is gone and they appear caramelized and cooked. Instead of the whole list of masalas, you can use a teaspoon or two of curry powder.

4. Next add the sweet potatoes and carrots and coat them well with the masala. Also add some salt and pepper. 

5. Add 3 to 4 cups of water and bring the whole mix to a boil. The quantity of liquid will depend on the consistency of the soup you want. If using a pressure cooker, cover and pressure cook for 15 to 20 minutes on medium-low heat or up to 2 whistles. If making the soup in a stock pot or sauce pan, bring it to a boil and then simmer it, covered for 30 to 40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and carrots are super tender. Since the soup is already flavored with warm spices, I went with water as my choice of broth/liquid. Vegetable or chicken broth can definitely be used instead of just plain water.

6. Once the vegetables are cooked through, blend the soup with either an immersion blender or in a regular blender, in batches. If using a regular blender or a processor, definitely remove the plug on the lid and cover with a thick kitchen towel. This with allow the heat to vent without a creating a big mess.

7. The starch in the sweet potatoes makes the soup thick, creamy and very velvety. No additional thickener is required. 

8. Put the blended soup back on the heat and check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. A handful of toasted pumpkin seeds added to the soup gives a nice texture, crunch and nuttiness and few finely chopped jalapenos would give a nice bite to the soup. But it is optional though. 

9. Serve hot with a garnish of toasted pumpkin seeds and and extra jalapeno slices (optional).



Diabetic Platter:
In addition to beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are packed with a group of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Potent free-radical fighters, anthocyanins are pigments that contribute to the coloration of many red, orange, blue, and purple foods.

Carrots are an amazing food. Studies indicate that the more carrots we eat, the more forceful a shield we create to defend ourselves from chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. What is it about carrots that makes them such powerful warriors against disease? The answer may lie in a class of nutrients that receives far too little attention: polyacetylenes. Polyacetylenes, such as the falcarinol and falcarindiol in carrots are phytonutrients that inhibit the growth of toxic or cancerous cells. They become especially potent when consumed with carotenoids like beta-carotene, enabling both nutrients to combat free-radical damage with even more strength and effectiveness. 

Both sweet potatoes and carrots are super foods for disease prevention and overall health. The best diet is one that is well-rounded and packed with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables, so aim to include at least a few servings of sweet potatoes in your diet each week and fill up on those carrots! While you need not consume carrots every day to receive all of their benefits, remember that the more of them you eat, the more disease protection you will receive.

Source: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/blog/nutrition-iq-sweet-potatoes-vs-carrots/

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2 comments:

  1. Loved reading the post! Happy New Year once again! What a yummy soup!

    ReplyDelete

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