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Lemon Rasam for Souper Sunday

Posted Mar 15 2009 12:00am
This week's soup comes from Vegetarian Times Magazine. Since I made a hearty, soupy Beef Noodle Bowl already this week, I was looking for something light and spicy and this Lemon Rasam soup caught my eye. 

The magazine says; "Rasam, a thin, lemony soup made with toor dal, a type of split pea, is served as a starter in South Indian households. Purhase toor dal in Indian grocery stores and online, or look for gold lentils in natural food stores. Curry leaves are worth seeking out for the remarkable flavor they add."

Lemon Rasam
Vegetarian Times, March 2009
(Serves 6)

2/3 cup dry toor dal (split pigeon peas)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (from 1-inch piece)
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 (14.5-oz) can plum tomatoes, drained and diced
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ghee
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafetida powder
1 red Kashmiri chile (dried red Indian chilie), or any hot dried chile, halved
10 curry leaves, optional
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
chopped cilantro, for garnish

Combine toor dal with 4 cups water and turmeric in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 45 minutes, or until toor dal is soft. Transfer to blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Measure, and return to saucepan. Add enough water to make 5 cups.

Stir in ginger, serrano chilies, tomatoes, and salt, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes to marry flavors, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat ghee in skillet over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, asafetida powder, red chilie, curry leaves, (if using), cumin and pepper. Cover and heat 1 to 2 minutes, or until mustard seeds begin to pop. Pour into soup. Remove soup from heat, and stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

Nutritionals (Per 1 1/2 cup serving): 116 cal, 6g protein, 2g total fat, (1g sat. fat), 19g carbs, 3mg chol, 419 mg sod, 5g fiber, 2g sugars.

Notes/Results: Light, tangy and spicy, this soup is exotic, flavorful and good. Since the local natural foods co-op I belong to stocks both the toor dahl and curry leaves, as well as asafetida powder in bulk, it was easy to make. I wasn't all that familiar with asafetida powder (the powdered gum resin of a plant that has a strong onion-garlic flavor; see more here) so the option of buying just a teaspoon or so to try out was perfect. I used a touch of olive oil rather than ghee to cook the spices and left out the final dried chilie (the two serranos still gave it plenty of spice for me). 

I served the soup with some Savory Chick Pea Pancakes, courtesy of VegNews Magazine. Made with pureed kale, zucchini, sweet potatoes, mint and herbs, they are a great little snack or pupu.

VegNews says: "Fresh mint plays a cooling cameo in these savory green pancakes. Serve with chutney for a light snack or appetizer."

Savory Chickpea Pancakes
VegNews Magazine, March/April  2009
(Serves 4 or more as a small appetizer)

3 1/2 cups water, divided
2 cups kale, roughly chopped
1 medium zucchini, diced
2/3 cup sweet potato, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh mint
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro
2 cups chickpea flour
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp olive oil, for frying

In a pot over high heat, boil 3 cups of water, add kale and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain kale and rinse with cold water. In a blender, puree boiled kale, zucchini, sweet potato, mint, cilantro, and 1/2 cup water.

In a medium bowl, combine chickpea flour, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel, and salt. Add vegetable puree to flour mixture, and mix until the consistency is slightly thicker than pancake batter. 

In a pan over medium heat, heat oil. Spoon 2 Tbsp of batter into pan and spread. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown, then place on a paper-towel-lined plate. Continue this method until all the batter is gone. Serve hot or warm.

Notes/Results: Although they won't win any beauty contests, these little pancakes are savory, taste good and are a different way to use up some of the weekly kale I get in my CSA box. I swore I had chickpea flour, but when I went to make these it was coconut flour. I thought about substituting since I didn't want to go to the store to buy some, but instead I decided to make my own chickpea flour with some dried garbanzo beans in my VitaMix blender. It worked like a charm and although I haven't done a price comparison, it must be more economical grinding up bulk chickpeas than buying pre-packaged specialty flour. Plus I feel so domestic grinding my own flour, like a natural foods Martha Stewart!  ;-)  Rather than cook these in a lot of oil, I used some olive oil pan spray and it worked fine. I found the pancakes a bit easier to make using one small ice cream scoop, (about a heaping tablespoon), of the batter and flattening them out. The smaller size is easy to work with and works great for pupus. They are particularly good with a bit of non-fat Greek yogurt and some chutney on top. 

Let's check out the Souper Sunday Kitchen and see what delicious soups await:

First up is Kim from Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet. Having a hectic week at work didn't stop Kim from making a big pot of soupy goodness, her Turkey Rice Spinach Soup. Creamy, and hearty, the soup inspired Kim to come up with three words to describe how the soup makes her feel; comforted, soothing and lazy, longing for a day to herself. Lets hope she got one this weekend.

It is recipes like The Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Vegetable Soup that make Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies want to either be Ina Garten or to be adopted by her. Natashya says this soup is "rich, warm and veggie-licious" and "the perfect balance of tasty, filling and healthy." If you are wondering how her soup got that gorgeous color, it is the beets that she substituted for the parsnips called for in the recipe. (She's almost through her giant bag of them!)

Donna from My Tasty Treasures is back with a soup she adapted from The Joy of Cooking, "Soup Paysanne" or Vegetable Soup. Donna calls this one "healthy, tasty and a breeze to make" and encourages everyone, especially those without a favorite vegetable soup recipe to try it. Served with a Reuben sandwich to her fire-fighter husband, it was the perfect hearty, simple and delicious meal.

A new face at Souper Sundays, please help me welcome Kathleen from Pots and Plots, who joins us from Mississippi. Kathleen received a bag of mixed dried beans, the kind with "every bean imaginable", so she created this 15 Bean Soup with Sausage. With smoked turkey sausage, garlic and creole seasoning, it is hearty and flavoful. Glad you could join us this week Kathleen!

Ulrike from Küchenlatein is back this week with a hearty soup; Chickpea with Rosemary Pesto (and Fish Fingers). Ulrike's boys will not touch fish and will only eat it as fish fingers. In this recipe she took a hearty base of pureed chickpeas and garlic, topped it with a savory pesto of rosemary and parsley and then added "croutons" of fish fingers. Sounds like a tasty way to get some fish into her sons!

Heather from girlichef likes a good fagiol, one that simmers for a few hours or when pressed for time, one than goes together quickly and easily from pantry and fridge staples like the Pasta e Fagioli she made this week. It is full of veggies, bacons, pasta and beans of course, and is garnished with an olive oil drizzle, freshly grated Parmesan and black pepper. Heather says it is "simple, tasty and easy"--everything you could want in a soup!

Another blogger new to Souper Sundays this week is Amanda, from Odd Ball Ovenmitt, who comes to us from Central Florida. Looking for an economical dinner, made up of pantry odds and ends, Amanda adapted this Stuffed Cabbage Stoup by Rachel Ray. Liking a long simmer, she put her soup in the slow cooker and made her rice separately, which is good because her husband believes "soup isn't a real meal" for dinner so maybe he won't think of this as soup! Happy to have you this week Amanda!

Filling up a box of books for $3.00 at a church book sale (how lucky is that?!) led Christine from Kit's Chow to a copy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Simple Cusine. Full of recipes for her favorite type of cooking; healthy and fast, Christine quickly became a fan, and found this recipe for Mushroom Broth which she adapted. She found this to be a light broth with deep flavors and very tasty. A bonus, it is South-Beach Diet friendly too.


Another week's worth of delicious, warming bowls of soup. Thanks to everyone who participated and welcome to our newest bloggers. You can of course find the recipes and more details on all of the soups featured here on their respective blogs. If you want to share a soup or soup-like creation of your own, click on the Souper Sunday logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a great week!
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