Kichidi

Kichidi

It's been over three months since I last made a soup from the pulses and vegetables section of The Soup Book, and I still have more than half of the recipes to go, hence my choice this weekend. Also, we were having friends over and making an Indian meal, so kichidi was an appropriate choice.  The recipe is by Roopa Gulati, of course. Despite my Anglo-Indian culinary experience and heritage, I had never heard of kichidi before and a quick search on the Internet revealed a large variety of recipes. Roopa's recipe calls for a butternut squash, garam masala, basmati rice, pink or red lentils, root ginger, ghee or clarified butter, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, lime juice and chopped coriander.

There are three main stages to making this soup. The first involves baking the butternut squash, having first sprinkled the two halves with garam masala. The suggestive-looking beast that I was using was much bigger than required so took longer to reach the "meltingly tender" point Roopa suggests. Meanwhile, I put the unrinsed red lentils and rice into a saucepan with water and the grated ginger and cooked them according to the instructions. Lesson learned: rinse the rice and lentils first. Scum - 1; Minnie - 0. When the butternut squash eventually yielded to being crushed, I stirred it into the rice mixture. The final stage involved frying the cumin and chilli, then adding that mixture, the lime juice and the coriander to the rice and lentils.

My guests were impressed. Well, the adults were. The children were cajoled into commenting under the threat of getting bad reviews in this blog! I think they liked it. Unfortunately, the spouse hasn't had time to do one of the things he's best at, ie, finding the items that I mislay. The connector for the camera is still missing, so I didn't take photos.

Literary Soup Mix

For my next book group meeting I am slogging my way through The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna. I am enjoying it ... most of the time. You need time to concentrate on it and I feel that I know nothing about the civil war in Sierra Leone, where the story is set. The following lines caught my attention:

... Adrian sets the book on the coffee table, stands and stretches. He heads into the kitchen to make himself a sandwich, slices open a loaf of bread to find dead ants baked into the honeycomb, ...
Later on there is reference to soup making:

... Kai entered the kitchen and set about making soup: a clean clear broth to which he added an entire Scotch bonnet pepper, crushed on the back of a wooden spoon, and a dash of lime. ... Kai hands [Adrian] the bowl and spoon. 'Pepper soup. All-time cure. Everything from hangovers to malaria. Good for the soul, too. Like Jewish chicken soup, only better. Both have proven curative and restorative powers.'
So, even characters in books take the time to make soup. Bye for now.

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