Thursday, January 5, 2012

Curried Peanut Soup and Quick Naan

We had a great holiday, filled with family time and lots of food! Now that the new year has started, it's back to a more normal routine. The new year also means a re-commitment to healthy habits for a lot of people, or at least a recovery from some serious indulging. For me, that means meals filled with veggies - and soup is a great way to pack the nutrition in.

This soup recipe has long been one of my favorites; it's spicy and nutty and slightly sweet - very satisfying! It comes together, start to finish, in thirty minutes or less.  I've included a quick whole-grain naan recipe that you can make in just a few minutes, because soup always needs bread for dunking.

Curried Peanut Soup 3

Curried Peanut Soup
This recipe uses chickpeas to extend the flavor of the peanut butter, giving lots of taste without tons of calories. Adjust the spiciness to your preference - I make it pretty mild.
Yield: 4 servings, about 2 cups each.

1 tsp sesame oil
2 onions, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, NOT drained
3 cups veggie broth, divided
1 14 1/2 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups cooked)
3 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste

1. Heat a 3 quart or larger pot over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, onion, and ginger, and sautee for about 5 minutes. Let the onion start to brown a little bit - this will bring out its natural sweetness. Stir occassionally.
2. In a blender, combine the chickpeas, peanut butter, and about 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until smooth, adding however much broth is needed to blend.
3. Add the curry powder and cumin to the onion mix, and cook stirring for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, remaining broth, and chickpea puree to the pot. Increase the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in cayenne pepper.
5. Remove the soup from the heat and let cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, or working carefully in batches, blend the soup until it is smooth. Serve with bread for dunking.

Curried Peanut Soup 1

Quick Whole Grain Naan
Although this recipe isn't traditional, relying on baking powder rather than yeast to give the naan its characteristic bubbles, it produces a soft and tasty bread in only a few minutes. 
Yield: 4 large naan

1 cup whole-grain spelt flour, or white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp honey
pinch salt
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir until the dough comes together.  If needed, add more water a teaspoon at a time. Knead the dough until you have a smooth ball.
3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out a piece of the dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
4. Spray the pan with a bit of olive oil, then add the rolled dough.  Cook for a minute or so, until bubbles form on the surface and brown spots develop on the underside. Flip, and cook for an additional minute or so. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Slice the breads into wedges, 6 or so per bread, using a sharp knife. Enjoy!

We started our windowsill garden yesterday - more on that later!
Starting the windowsill

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