Saturday, March 29, 2014

FFwD - Vegetable barley soup with the taste of little India


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is ”Vegetable barley soup with the taste of little India” – a basic root vegetable soup with barley and surprising warm spices.




The soup base is made up of onions, garlic, sweet carrots, and parsnips - since I could not find parsnips at this time of year, I used small white turnips instead. Then there is fresh ginger, freshly grated black pepper, sea salt, turmeric, and garam masala.




Tumeric is a bright yellow spice that comes from the rhizome of a plant in the ginger family. It is sometimes available fresh, but is usually sold dried and ground, in powder form. Turmeric has anti-oxidant properties which is why it has long been an Indian home remedy for many illnesses. Turmeric is often a component of curry powder and it  also gives chutneys and pickles, and this soup,  their distinctive yellow tinge. It has a slight peppery aroma and a musky taste.




Garam masala is an aromatic mixture of ground spices used as a base in many Indian dishes (“masala”means spice). The proportion of spices changes according to the dish being cooked but typical ingredients are cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, with substitutions or additions made depending on whether the dish includes meat, vegetables or fish. You can grind your own garam masala according to your tastes, but it can also be bought ready-made.




The spices are sautéed together with the vegetables in some lovely olive oil, that takes about 15 minutes and it takes the raw edge off the spice and makes for a harmonious soup starter. After the veg are softened, all that is left to do is add the homemade chicken broth and the soup barley, Barley is divided into three categories around here, small, medium and large – I used the large one, called soup barley which needs a good 30-minute simmer before being puffed and ready to eat.




I must say that the taste of this soup was surprising, in a nice way, as we are so used to eating barley soup with lots of veg and bacon and sometimes a bit of smoked sausage – well, a very German kind of way – but we liked how the soup smelled while it cooked and how it tasted when we ate it for lunch, on a very bright and sunny day that felt like early summer.Thanks to Dorie, a new taste experience indeed, one that I would not have dared to try before I came across this weeks´ assignment.




To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed today´s recipe, please click here.

If you happen to own Dorie Greenspan´s book “Around my French Table”, you will find the recipe for ”Vegetable barley soup with the taste of little India" on page 89.


57 comments:

  1. Beautiful presentation, your soup looks so delicious in that yellow bowl, very pretty.

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    1. Thank you, Nana - I always want to use my yellow and orange bowls and rarely get a chance to do so - this was "the" recipe for them and I gladly pulled them out of the cupboard for this occasion.

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  2. I love that your soup has nice big chunks of vege. I like my soup hearty.

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    1. Well, I went a bit out of my way for the pictures and loaded more veg in the soup - made it all a tad more photogenic but, still, we liked our soup that way.

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  3. I will have to try this soup, it looks and sounds delicious. Just started using garam masala myself and enjoy it very much.

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    1. Cheri, garam masala was a first for me - what a taste revelation. I am sure you will find lots of delicious ways to use this lovely spice mix.

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  4. Mmmmm….your soup looks so delicious, Andrea! Love your vibrant presentation…so full of Spring! I really enjoyed this one too!

    I just ordered the "River Cottage Veg Everyday”…I hope to cook along with you! Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Kathy, a nice soup indeed - glad that you all liked this so much. And how wonderful that you ordered the Veg Everyday - let me know once you arrives whether you like it.

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  5. What a lovely bowl of soup, Andrea. And the plates brimming with spices are gorgeous as well. The turmeric stained my wooden spoon yellow! I'm glad you and your family had an adventure with this one, and enjoyed it. Have a great rest of your weekend.

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    1. Betsy, adventure it was - I was quite surprised that most (not all) of my young tatse testers went for seconds! How nice that you could meet up with Mardi - looks like you had a lot of fun together!

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  6. Absolutely beautiful Andrea! I need to make this again and not puree my veggies!

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    1. Mardi, thank you so much - puréed veg are great too but probably a tad less photogenic. Looks like you had a wonderful time meeting up with Betsy - lucky ladies!

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  7. Beautiful ! Such pretty colors!

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    1. Mimi, thank you so much for stopping by1 How nice that you like this post with all those "warm" colors!

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  8. I love soups like this with a surprise taste element. I looks so pretty too with the golden tumeric.I know you house smelled amazing but I'm wondering if your neighbors were thinking they'd been transported to a new country. Probably not a very common aroma in Germany :)

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    1. Chris, you could not be more right - we all thought we were transported to another country - when I shopped for the tumeric and the garam masal, I realized that although I have cooked with tumeric before, the garam masala was a first to me. I made sure to get some really good quality organic spices and they certainly tasted and smelled amazing.

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  9. We loved the spices in this soup. And your photos are just beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Amy, glad to hear hat you loved the spices in thi soup.

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  10. Andrea your soup looks really good! I love the angle you used to get an interesting photo! And the dishes are perfect. Your photos are always top notch!

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    1. Guyla, taking pictures of soups and stews is always quite a challenging - so this photo session was no exception - it took so long that I had to re-heat the soup before serving it to the waiting crowd!

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  11. Very colorful presentation! Informative too!

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  12. The soup looks beautiful, Andrea! Lovely sunny colours. I'm glad you liked the warming spices of Indian cooking. They make a pleasant change sometimes. I hope you are well and had a great weekend. xx

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    1. Nazneen, thank you so much, my dear - tons of sunshine, golden spices and the soup begged for some colorful plates - so, it all ended up looking like the sunny day that it actaully was - I was pleased as punch that the picture-taking-plan worked out well that day.

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  13. Delicious soup (Touch of India) YESSSS!

    Stunning--Gorgeous presentation! xx

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    1. Kim, thank you, my dear - these spices in combination with the vegetables certainly were a new taste experience for us.

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  14. What a beautiful soup this is, and you photographs are lovely and most enticing. I have never cooked with either turmeric or garam masala. I imagine they impart lovely color and what to me are exotic flavors. Perfect for a chillynight. Thanks for this one. It is quite an inspiration.

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    1. Grazie mille, Adri! It was nice to spice up our lives with a new recipe - and although it was neither chilly nor was it evening when we ate this soup, we still enjoyed it, I actually thought that it had a certainly "lightness" to it, as there was no meat involved, just lots of veg.

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  15. Beautifully done, Andrea! Yes, definitely a nice change of pace, but Bill would definitely prefer your German version :)

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    1. Thank you, Liz - split opinios here as well - the German version is pretty darn popular at our house as well - how fun to think that Bill would have enjoyed that version as well!

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  16. Dear Andrea - this soup has all the heartiness and comfort that I am craving now - such a busy and difficult time at work. I can imagine coming home to this and just sighing into happiness! And your bright yellow and orange dishes! So very cheery and beautiful. Everything about this post made me smile... Liebe Grüße aus Tucson... ~ David

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    1. Lieber David, hope work is not stressing you out too much - glad my humble soup post could bring a smile to your face. You know I won those dishes at a cooking competition and I never get to use them - this was the post that called for their name - orange and yellow usually do not play prominently in my posts.

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  17. Your soup looks so hearty & delicious. Beautifully done!

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    1. Thank you, Cher! Loved the vegetable ribbons in your soup!

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  18. Andrea love, this is not an easy soup to photograph and you have done such a beautiful job!
    I want to dive into my computer and gobble up that bowl. Love the spice piles, too.
    Hope you had a lovely w/end and that Monday is kind to you. xo

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    1. Colette, thank you - we had a nice strat to this week, lots of sunshine and a long walk today. This soup was surprising, it smelled quite wonderful while cooking and it tasted different than our usual barley soups - what a new taste experience.

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    2. Well, it's perfect for tonight. The weather's cooled a bit here. So soup would be lovely. Thanks again, dear! xo

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  19. Die wunderbare Mischung aus exotischen Gewürzen, frischem Gemüse und Weizen macht diese Suppe nicht nur zu einer Augenweide sondern auch zu einem kulinarischen Genuss!
    Liebe Grüße aus Peru.

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    1. Liebe Daniela, herzlichen Dank für deinen tollen Kommentar - es freut mich immer von dir zu hören. Wie ist denn das Wetter in Peru - plant ihr in den Osterferien eine Reise? Und wie feiert man eigentlich Ostern in Peru?

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  20. I love the look of this spicy soup, full of goodness of vegetables! I never thought of including barley in my savory soup, I should try this some time. The pics are tempting me to cook some!

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    1. Jeannie, thank you very much - to use barley in savory soups is quite common around here - that was not new to me while I prepared this recipe. The delciously new aspect was the added tumeric and garam masala - that I never added to a barley soup before. We liked it.

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  21. I liked this soup also, Andrea, although I could have kicked up the flavor a bit. I doubled the barley to make it more substantial and think I should have added more heat. I'll make this again when I return to Aspen because it is still cold there. Here in California, it's not fun to eat hot soup - too warm. I thought your bread was a pretzel but read that it's a Sesame Ring?!? Is that one and the same. Again, very nice and informative Post. It's nice to give an explanation of spices that are not used often by most people.

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    1. Mary, I thought we were just fine with the amount of spices - I am a little bit more cautious when I buy fresh spices, which is what I did for this soup, they tend to have a lot more punch the first time you use them. Well, that Sesame Ring in not a Pretzel, different dough, different taste - I thought it looked nice next to that Indian inspired soup and the kids love these with their soup (a very recent discovery). Thank you so much for the nice comment.

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  22. Might have to now add that to the list!

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    1. Candy, you should! This soup is quite a taste experience.

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  23. Looks super delicious to me Andrea! I love the way you have used the indian spices in the soup…Garam masala definitely adds a nice punch to the recipe..

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    1. Thank you, the garam masala was a new taste expeinece for us and we loved it - tumeric, on the other hand, is always in my spice shelf. Together they made for one tasty soup.

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  24. This soup sound and look so good...I love barley in soup...it sure gives a nice texture and yes, love the spices in it...yum!
    Have a lovely week ahead Andrea :D

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    1. Juliana, thank you very much - we are barley lovers as well but the spices in combination with barley were a new taste experience for us.

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  25. Looks absolutely divine. I love the sound of the spices in this soup. Sounds super tasty and warming to me

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    1. Trishie, nice to hear from you again - hope all is well with you and baby Alexander - thank you so much for your nice comment, this was an interesting recipe for soup with all those spices.

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  26. This was a lovely soup, wasn't it? I love your presentation of it and the bread you served with it looks perfect for dipping into the soup.

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    1. Teresa, yes, this was a very lovely soup - loved the warm spices and the chunky vegetables quite a bit.

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  27. Loved your presentation. Your dishes and napkins were as bright and colorful as the soup itself. I don't believe I have ever had a soup with Indian flavors like this, I'm sure I would like it though. I've been having trouble again with my comments going through on blogspot but the glitch seems to be fixed…at least for the moment so I'm quickly going back to let you know how much I'm enjoying your dishes. :)

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    1. Karen, thank you for taking the comment on all those posts. Again, I am sorry that you are having trouble with the comments not going through - for some strange reason this is always hapening to you...but there seems to be n.th. I cna do about that form here. ANd, yes, this was one colorful soup that clalled for colorful props. We enjoyed the spices, it was certainly a new tatse experience for us as well.

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  28. Beautiful! I'm saving this one for later this year when our temperatures cool back down. We have already had temps in the 100's this past week.

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    1. Christy, this is definitely a soup for cold weather but having said that, we also enjoyed this on a warm and sunny day at the end of March.

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