3 March 2008

REAL Tale from My Kitchen

My life seemed to be all about soups yesterday until the chance took over. Oh well, I’ll better put a particular order in my narration. *smiles*

So, there was a
‘Pumpkin Soup’ in my earphones (shocked? *wink, wink, wink* Why? It’s just a song! *giggles*), two different types of soup (both equally delicious, but upon this later*) simmering on my stovetop (blimey, it’s working all right now), and an ever-expanding girl’s dilemma which soup to choose for my lunch. Oh, it’s such an ordeal to have to be making a choice between things you want both. I guess you might be saying it’s not a big deal to have two soups for lunch (I indeed could turn it into a soup tasting party, couldn’t I *smiles*), but I also had sweet and honest intentions for a desert afterwards. *a glow in my eyes and a very broad smile* You fee where I’m going, don’t you? *wink, wink, wink* Yes, I had to make a decision. And not the easiest one, I would say.

Probably I’d be staying in my kitchen for AGES** psyching myself up to make a judicious choice if I didn’t get injured (!!!) eventually. A can of chickpeas fell off out of a kitchen cupboard right on my feet (I assume I opened that cupboard for some reason, though I don’t seem to remember that namely reason now *a very sheepish expression of my face*). So the can of chickpeas and my aching feet was enough for me to decide on the spot what I was going to cook. Chickpeas with potatoes, I’m proud to say! (I’ve been wondering how I could have passed an exam in logic in my university so successfully. Hm.).

*****Chick Peas and Potatoes Masala*****

Serves 3-4


2 tsp vegetable oil
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 whole glove
2-3 small dried red chillies, crashed
1 small onion, chopped
1 glove garlic, crushed
1 Tsp tamarind paste
400 ml canned tomatoes, trimmed and pureed
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
½ tsp each ground cinnamon and ground cloves
2 small potatoes, diced
400 g can chick peas, thoroughly rinsed and drained
½ tsp organic smoke extract
Fresh herbs, to garnish


1. Heat oil in large non-stick pan. Add fennel seeds, whole clove and dried red chilli and sauté until lightly browned.

2. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened.

3. Add tamarind paste to pureed tomatoes and stir/mix very well to avoid any lumps of tamarind paste (it dawned upon me to use an egg whisk for this purpose). You should undertake this before starting to cook, for dissolving a tamarind paste is a time-consuming procedure.

4. Add tomatoes with tamarind paste and all ground spices to onion and garlic and cook until oily specks are on the surface of the mixture. At this point add potatoes and chi peas and mix well.

5. Bring to boil, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25-35 mins, or until potatoes are cooked and tender (not mushy).

6. Stir in ½ tsp organic smoke extract, chopped parsley/coriander and serve with your favourite bread.

The salt isn’t featured in this dish at all, ‘cause the tamarind paste plays the entire trick of enriching the dish with a sourish/slightly salty taste. All the spices compliment each other so well that tomato base of the dish is given a rich and incredibly flavourful texture. As to the smoke extract it adds up a subtle smoky undertone that by a twist of your imagination brings you to a mysterious Asian land…

In the light of aforementioned circumstances I couldn’t help but maintaining an Asian theme of my Sunday lunch*** and opted for an Indian tomato soup the recipe of which you can find on Nicky's fantastic blog.

Ah, and now I’d like to brag just a little bit, can I? *smiles* I’ve got a new pet and its name is
Dark Belgian Chocolate with Cinnamon. HEAVENS! (Tiina, are you reading this? *wink, wink, wink*) So, my desert was as humble as my intentions…A square of the treasure that crowned up my royal feast. Truth be told I even didn’t care I’d got a small mishap in my kitchen earlier. I might as well call it happiness, mightn’t I? *smiles*

*Not to be talking in riddles for now I’ll just mention it’s an Indian- and French-style soups, either of which featuring red lentils. Yum!
** A note: an indecisive girl can easily starve herself to death. Huh.
*** For such an occasion I even dressed up in an Indian style (i believe it was more of if-you-say-A-say-B kind of a thing rather than me getting totally nuts *smiles*). Thank you, L., for giving me that lovely dress I simply adore!


Kate / Kajal said...

Anya , i would love to see you in an indian outfit.
India style chickpeas - " Chole " is one of the best ways to prepare these heart pulses. What i liked in your recipe was that liquid smke. I've never thought of that before , and i'm sure it tastes bloody good !!

n guess what ... love your new pic too :) so zen !!! hahaha

Astra Libris said...

Mmmmm, chickpeas and potatoes... One of the greatest combos ever... Your creation sounds especially delicious! The flavors you combined sound divine and purely inspired - yum!! You certainly worked culinary magic!

p.s. your photo is lovely!!

anya said...

Kate - liquid smoke is surely a damn good thing. I seem to be adding it to almost every savoury dish I'm having lately. Oh, I get obsessed so easily! *smiles*

Astra - culinary magic is what you do in your kitchen while I'm just learning. *wink*

And Ladies, thanks for your comments on my photo!!

Cookiemouse said...

That's a very nice recipe. Chickpeas are one of my favourite foods and I think the combination with potatoes is a cool idea.

White On Rice Couple said...

Anya, everytime we visit here, we feel very calm and happy. Your soup just adds to the soothing atmosphere that you create here. Thank you.

anya said...

Cookiemouse - if YOU, the one who is an endless source of great ideas, say it's a cool idea, I'm so very much happy then! *wink*

Diane and Todd - you can't imagine how much what you say means to me!! THANKS for this!

Cinnamonda said...

I have a clear image in my mind of buying a can of chick peas form my corner store not so long ago, just cannot find the can anywhere! Hmm, maybe I should reorganize my kitchen cupboards... ;)Lovely recipe and, OH YES, cinnamon chocolate must be heavenly!! By the way, I saw a travel program yesterday where they showed some of the fancy metro stations in Moscow. It brought back memories of my visit in your city when I was 9 yrs old (yes, that was ages ago ;)) and saw some of those same stations, plus visited the circus which for a little girl was definitely the highpoint of her trip! :)