Sunday, April 3, 2011

No-Ham Pea Soup

Living in Australia has introduced me to many strange and wonderful dishes, including Pea and Ham soup. Since a couple of my family members are vegetarian, leaving out the ham would mean leaving out the flavour, so it was a relief to find this recipe which relies on spices to provide a healthier and still-flavourful alternative. From The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook by Murdoch Books, this recipe has been adapted from the ‘Green Pea Soup’.

What you’ll need:
* 1 ½ cup green split peas
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
 * 1 medium carrot, cut into chunks to fit into pot
* 1 celery stalk, cut same as the carrot
* 1 tablespoon cumin powder
* 1 tablespoon coriander powder
* 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
* 5 cups vegetable stock
* 2 cups frozen green peas
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or half that dried.
* 4 tablespoons plain yoghurt or sour cream (optional - as in I didn’t use this)

Green Split Peas
What to do:
Soak green peas for a couple of hours. Drain. Leave aside.
Heat oil in a pot (to make the soup), add onion, celery and carrot. I cooked this covered (with a couple of occasional stirs) until the onion softened and started separating layers. Stir in cumin, coriander and ginger. Cook until spices are fragrant.
Add split peas and stock (and dried mint, if using). Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until peas are cooked and carrot chunks can be pierced with a knife tip. The books says this should take 1 ½ hours but the soup is usually done in less than an hour. Take off fire.
Then add frozen peas. Wait until the peas ‘defrost’ in the heat of the soup, then slender-blend. Season with salt and pepper and stir in mint. Serve with swirl of yoghurt or sour cream (or not).

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