Warm, tasty and filling, Chef Neha Deepak Shah's very different Indian-style Beetroot Soup is a bowlful of comfort.
It can be made in under 30 minutes and is garnished with coconut milk, walnuts and herbs of your choice.
Shah believes cooking is a life skill. She very wisely said to the contestants of Mrs Femina a few years ago: 'Cooking is a translation of emotions. What you put on a plate is actually your true form of emotions. The best meals that I've ever had in my life are at people's houses. No restaurant can match the warmth or the feeling of eating something that somebody cooked with love'.
- 2 tsp extra vigin olive oil
- 1 tej patta or bay leaf
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3-4 pods garlic, chopped
- 1 green chilly, chopped
- ½ tsp chopped ginger
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 large beetroot, peeled, chopped
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 2 cups vegetable stock (please see the note below)
- Salt to taste
- Dash black pepper powder
- ¼ cup coconut milk + extra to garnish
- Chopped walnuts, to garnish
- Chopped green dhania or coriander or cilantro, to garnish, optional
- Chopped fresh herbs of choice like dill, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, to garnish
- Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan with the bay leaf, chopped onions, garlic, green chilly, ginger and saute well for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the chopped walnuts and the beets.
Add the vinegar, vegetable stock and cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes.
Take off heat and cool.
Remove the bay leaf and transfer into a blender and blend until smooth.
Transfer back into the saucepan and warm up over low-medium heat.
Season with salt and the pepper.
Add in the coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
Take off heat and serve immediately, garnished with a drizzle of coconut milk, chopped walnuts, chopped coriander and herbs of your choice.
Editor's Note: You may use dried herbs too for the garnish, but in moderation because dried herbs are much stronger especially thyme and oregano.
Beetroot soup pairs well with garlic bread or sandwiches like Meera Khanduri's Chicken Sandwiches.
Or Kajal Saini's Slipper Sandwiches.
Else Deepa and Ashish Mehrotra's Brown Rice Salad With Honey Mustard Dressing.
Maybe Reshma Aslam's Tuna Sandwiches.
Liquid broth or stock is available in some gourmet food stores. Or substitute the vegetable broth by combining 1 vegetable soup cube or 1 vegetable broth/bouillon cube or 1 tsp vegetable broth/bouillon powder with 2 cups boiling water.
Or substitute the vegetable broth by combining 1 chicken soup cube or 1 chicken broth/bouillon cube or 1 tsp chicken broth/bouillon powder with 2 cups boiling water.
Or make vegetable broth from scratch by boiling 4-5 cups water with 1-2 large roughly chopped carrots, 3 stalks roughly chopped celery with leaves, 2 medium onions chopped in chunks, 5-6 whole black peppercorns, 2 tsp salt, 4 tbsp chopped parsley with stems, 2 laung or cloves, 5 pods garlic, 2 tej patta or bay leaves till vegetables are tender and the water is steeped with the flavour of the vegetables and spices.
Strain and use 2 cups for the recipe.
Meat lovers might like to add 1 whole chicken along with the vegetables and spices while making the broth.
A contestant on MasterChef India Season 4, Chef Neha Deepak Shah is the co-founder of Meraaki Kitchen and Cafe White Sage in Jaipur.