Recipe: Split pea soup with Tandoori Masala and Spiced Cauliflower

soup2Kari at Bite-Sized Thoughts posted a recipe yesterday for split pea soup with caraway seeds. It looked gorgeous and warming and wintry, and I did have split peas needing to be used up, so I decided that would be lunch today.

Only then I woke up very late, and letting a soup simmer for an hour didn’t seem like a good way to get lunch on the table at, well, lunchtime.  And then I realised I didn’t have caraway seeds or cabbage.  No worries – I have a pressure cooker! 

Also, I wasn’t dressed yet, which meant that Andrew would be the one doing the shopping, and he hates cabbage.  I can sneak it into things and he will eat it (even if he knows it’s there), but blatantly making him go out and buy it seemed a bit unnecessarily confronting.  So I started thinking about what I could put in instead, and whether I even wanted caraway seeds, really (I mostly don’t like them, except when I do), and then I needed to look up how long split peas needed in a pressure cooker, and Lorna Sass had a recipe for split pea soup with sweet potato and apples, and I had apples to use up, and then I thought, really, split peas are my favourite kind of dal, and I also have all these Indian spice mixes and…

… well, basically, it was suddenly a very different soup.  Almost a stew, actually. Also, it makes enough for 6-8 people, so lunch for the next few days is basically sorted.  Also, it’s really, really satisfying and good, especially in this chilly weather.  Not bad for something that cooks in twenty minutes…

Your Shopping List

1 tablespoon of butter or sunflower oil
2 small onions
3 celery sticks
2 cups yellow split peas
4 cups water
2 cups stock, any kind that appeals (you can use a couple of extra cups at the end to thin the soup, but don’t use them for the main part of cooking if you are using a pressure cooker, as split peas can misbehave if their level is too high)
1 big sweet potato – about 650g
1 apple
1 tsp mint
1-2 tsp tandoori masala spice blend
pinch of salt and pepper
1 cauliflower
2-3 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
1 tbsp panch poron spice mix
1/4 tsp chilli flakes

Now what will you do with it?

I’m going to start by saying that the spice amounts are quite approximate – I don’t really know how much I put in, though I can tell you that the tandoori masala really punched above its weight in terms of how it flavoured the meal.  So go with a level that appeals to your tastebuds.

Also, while I’m giving instructions for making this soup in a pressure cooker, it would work just fine in a pot on the stove.  But you would need to cook it for about an hour to get the same level of done-ness from the split peas.

Melt the butter using the browning function on your cooker, or in a pan on the stove.  Coarsely dice the onions and add to the butter, then cook, stirring fairly often, until they are soft and browning.

Slice your celery sticks and measure out your split peas while this is happening, and add them to the cooker, stirring well so that the split peas get coated with the butter (this discourages them from foaming and getting into the vent).

Pour in the water and stock, and while that starts warming towards a boil, peel your apple and sweet potato and chop them into chunks, adding them to the pot as you go.

Add the tandoori masala mix, the mint, salt and pepper, and then set your pressure cooker to cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.

Chop your cauliflower into smallish florets (I’m sorry, but you really don’t need the central stalk), and measure out your panch poron and chilli.  Once the pressure cooker is done, you want to let the pressure go down naturally, which will take 5-10 minutes, just the right of time for cooking the cauliflower!

cauli

Heat the oil in a wide frying pan and add the panch poron and chilli.  There should be enough oil to cover the base of the pan, and the pan should be wide enough for all the cauliflower to fit in one layer.  When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower to the pan and sauté for 5-8 minutes, stirring pretty constantly, until the cauliflower is golden-brown in places and nicely coated in the spices.

Serve the soup with a handful of the spiced cauliflower florets over the top.  So delicious.

soup

Variations

This soup is, of course, gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free and vegan / dairy-free if you use oil rather than butter at the start.  By my estimate, it should also be nicely low-GI, with all those legumes and sweet potatoes in it.  Sadly, the legumes and sweet potatoes probably make it high in fructose.  Still, it’s pretty allergy-friendly.  And did I mention fast to make?  I do love my pressure cooker…

I don’t really know enough about Indian flavours to come up with good variations, to be honest – I was sort of working on vague instinct here and  thought that spiced and stir-fried cauliflower seemed like a plausible accompaniment.  Without being able to smell things, I can’t really make up other likely options.  But – and I speak here as the person who is itching to go to Gewürzhaus and play – I suspect there are a fair number of Indian spice mixes which would work here.  You do want whole spices for the cauliflower, though – much prettier.  You could replace the cauliflower with broccoli, of course, and if you aren’t worried about dairy I suspect that spiced and stir-fried paneer would be amazing as an accompaniment.

It’s really very yummy…

I’m submitting this to Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love, because it reheats beautifully, though with a tendency to go from soup to dal.  Oh my, and I’ve just realised that I can submit this to my Let there be Legumes! challenge!  Quite by chance, too… how very handy!  Come and join me!

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