Wholesome Chunky Vegetable Soup

My little one reminded me “Juice season is over Ma, it is the soup season now!” Well not exactly so but she is quite right as winter is here and so is the season of soups. Everyone in my family is fond of soups – chicken soup, mushroom soup, sea food soup, lentil soup, pea soup and the list goes on…  My most favorite one is the chunky vegetable soup, in which I use any and every vegetable in my refrigerator.  I chop the veggies in bite size chunks, roast a small cup of bulgur wheat and I am ready to fix a wholesome meal. It is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals and also is a good source of fiber and low in fat. A perfect dinner that one can enjoy, on a cold evening, in a cozy couch, in front of television!

Ingredients:

Carrots, chopped 2 cups

French beans, chopped 1 cup

Green peppers chopped 1 cup

Red Onion 1 large – chopped

Bulgur wheat / dahlia – ¾ cup

Tomato puree (I use Mutti Passata di pomodoro al basilico), 4 tbsp

Garlic – 4 cloves, crushed

Basil leaves 10-15, roughly torn with hands

Olive oil – 1 ½ tbsp (extra virgin preferably)

Black pepper 1 tsp, freshly ground

Parmesan, grated 2 tbsp

Vegetable or chicken stock (optional), 500 ml

Salt to taste

Any other vegetables of your choice

Instructions:

  • In a pan dry roast bulgur until it turns golden and a sweet aroma is given out.
  • Add about 500 ml of water to the pan, bring it to boil and then allow it to simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.
  • In another pan, heat oil and add crushed garlic, sauté for a minute or so.
  • Add chopped onion and sauté till onion gets golden color.
  • Next add the chopped veggies one by one and sauté for about 5 minutes on moderate heat.
  • Mix in the tomato puree, stir it in well, let it fry for 2 minutes. Add vegetable/ chicken stock.
  • Next add in the simmering bulgur along with all the water in which it is boiling. Stir it well and allow it to cook on moderate to low heat for 15 – 20 minutes until veggies are done and so is the bulgur (I use this time to either grate some cheese and/or asking kids again and again to lay the table! Which then doesn’t happen and finally we end up eating on that cozy couch in front of television).
  • Last but not the least season it with salt, pepper and torn basil. Sprinkle it with some grated Parmesan.

Serves: 4-6

Serve this nutritious soup hot with some garlic bread or dinner rolls. You can though avoid bread (as I do) because the bulgur in the soup provides carbs and proteins and minerals too.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse:

A friend at work once mentioned about her fondness for chocolate mousse. At the same time like many others she was also concerned about calories. May be that is the reason yogurt has been taking over cream cheese products and ice-cream big time among calorie-counters. She asked me “Like frozen yoghurt can something chocolaty be made out of yogurt?”

I wonder why not, Greek yogurt or hung curd is as good and smooth in texture as any cream cheese or mascarpone. As my children are a great fan of chocolate desserts as well, and so I tried whipping up a chocolate mousse using homemade curd. It turned out great, lusciously chocolaty! Best of all I felt it is one of those recipes where I know best of ingredients are going in as I make it right from the scratch i.e. even making the curd/yogurt at home.

Trick here is not to let the curd go sour during setting. For that use luke warm milk, place it in warm corner of the kitchen add about spoonful of the curd/yogurt culture, cover and leave it to set for 2-3 hours.  Check after 2 hours, if it is set refrigerate instantly (if you are not using right away).

Secondly you need to remove excess of whey from the curd when you want to use it. For that all you have to do is tie up homemade curd in a cheese cloth and hang it on handle of a water filled pan in a refrigerator and don’t forget to put an empty bowl underneath to collect the whey. Making hung-curd in refrigerator ensures that it stays chilled and sweet (I mean sweetness of dairy, no added sugar).

 

Ingredients:

Hung curd – 250g

Dark cooking chocolate – 100g

Eggs – 2, beaten (at room temperature)

Castor sugar – 75g

Rum – 2 tbsp (optional) or

Almond/ orange essence – tsp (optional)

Instructions:

  • In a double boiler melt the chocolate, stirring every now and then.
  • Using a whisker, whisk in the two eggs and sugar while chocolate is still warm. It will be slightly runny at this stage.
  • Add hung curd/ Greek yoghurt, and whisk further until well incorporated.
  • Transfer into small serving bowls or glasses and chill for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

I bet once you make it you are going to make it again and again like me. Ever since I have made this, we have been having it for dessert almost every evening., all I have to do is to remember to set curd every morning.