My husband, he is so much phobic of Soups. Yeah, you heard it right ! He is actually afraid of soups, assuming all of them taste as bad as raw Neem leaves( That’s his statement, not mine ). Having said that , even I am not head over heels over Soups either. I sometimes like the home-made variety we get in European restaurants. A few Asian shops do good noodle soup as well, specially the Thai Mushroom soups. But then that’s it, may be the reason is we don’t get that many Vegetarian Soups anyways. Or I am yet to explore many new cuisines and flavours which may tantalise my taste buds.
As I always say, I love a good bowl of soup on and off, but I am not really an expert at making them. In fact I honestly suck at it. So its all soup sachets and canned soup jazzed up with veggies and all sorts of stuff that works for me at times. This soup was a welcome change however.
A few days ago, when I had this Roasted Eggplant soup ( or Aubergine soup, as they say here ) I felt as if I have found the ultimate recipe for a perfect soup. It was served with a Focaccia as side and I got so indulged in that heavenly taste, we got late for the movie .. all because of my leisurely sips. But in my defense, I was truly lost in the taste and was making a mental list of all ingredients I could taste in that Soup. Don’t you do that too ? when I got back home, the first thing I did was to write down all the things and search on Pinterest for the related recipes. After browsing till like 2 AM, I finally got few recipes which I was sure would match the taste I have had there in the Café.
I tried it the very next evening, when it was raining cats and dogs and hence the gloomy photos as well. The taste was very much similar, after taking help from three different recipes and doing some of my own tweaks. Roasted garlic and roasted eggplant together tasted amazing, plus some of the Indian spices like Bay leaves and Cumin seeds did the trick. I served this with boiled rice to S, saying it’s a different sort of Dal I have prepared today. And guess what ! he loved it ! And when I told him it was soup, he literally accused me of lying and threw tantrums all over. Phew !! Husbands !! Everyone has one unique piece, no!.. 😉 😉 *)
What you need?
1/4 cup uncooked red lentils
1 whole bulb garlic + 1 tsp oil to rub on it
1 large eggplant / Aubergine / Brinjal
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
6 cups Veg stock
3/4 cup tomato puree – I made fresh at home ( *recipe in Notes )
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
1 tsp Cumin powder, red chili powder each
1 tsp crushed bay leaves
Salt to taste
How to make?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with foil.
Peel away any excess paper from the bulb of garlic, then cut the top off to expose the cloves. Rub exposed cloves with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil, and set onto the prepared baking sheet. Poke the eggplant all over with a fork; place onto baking sheet.
Bake these in the preheated oven until the garlic has turned golden brown and the eggplant is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool until good enough to handle bare hands. Peel eggplant and chop into large chunks; peel or squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin, and set aside.
While these two are baking, prepare red lentils aside. Soak them for half an hour, wash and drain well. Pour in 2 cups of water in a pan, add in the lentils with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Turn the flame to lowest and simmer the lentils for nearly half an hour, covered, till they are all tender and mushy.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in veg stock, then stir in reserved eggplant, roasted garlic, tomato puree, cooked lentils and spices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Once cooked, carefully puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to the stove in a clean saucepan. Stir in the milk, season to taste with salt, cumin powder, crushed bay leaves and pepper; cook over medium-low heat until hot.
Serve with a dash of cream on top with bread of choice aside.
I usually make my own pureed tomatoes, by boiling 3-4 of them in 2 cups of water and peeling them after cooling. You can keep this in fridge for upto a week, and I usually do this in winters when I survive on quick meal
You may also add more cream to this soup for rich texture and obviously more taste and calories
You may omit the lentils completely, for a distinct flavour
Garnish with fresh chopped herbs like Parsley, Sage, cilantro etc. as per your choice
Can be stored in fridge for up to 4-5 days
Goes to Jagrui’s Potluck Party , look what I have brought to this Potluck Party so far,
bottle Guard with Soya Nuggets
Thai Mushroom Soup Watermelon Carrot Juice
Moong Dal Khasta Kachori
Summer Cous Cous Salad
Chinese Spring rolls with Thai peanut sauce