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Moroccan Chickpea Soup

Made a few more soups for Mummy to try.  A few ingredients I recently tried were tomato, which was yummy but too light, and corn which was too heavy.  Since Mummy liked the lentil soup I made I figured other types of beans would also make decent soups with the right amount of heartiness, and since I had canned chickpeas in the larder this became my next ingredient of choice.

This Moroccan Chickpea Soup turned out nicely.  I loved the spices which gave it a more ‘exotic’ Mediterranean flavor; cinnamon, cumin and paprika.  There’s also something about tender beans in rich tomato based broth which feels so comforting.  Mummy loved it, so this recipe is now in our soup rotation.

Based on the recipe by Dave Lieberman, with my own modifications.

Next experiment: minestrone, perhaps?

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Ramadan Cooking: Shuraba (Meat and Oat Soup)

Mummy has been losing weight of late, and I’ve been trying out various soup recipes for her to have some variety in her diet.  I wanted to keep things interesting enough for her to want to eat, while at the same time provide her with all the necessary nutrition to stay healthy.

Since it’s fasting month and she might get even skinnier, I tried out this wonderful oat soup recipe by the Queen of Sheba.  It’s a soup which is pretty much a meal on its own, with healthy oats and protein from the meat.  At the same time it is really easy to eat, making it the perfect dish for sahur.  It is a bit heavy to have as a starter before a main course, so my family and I would dish out only very very small bowls during buka puasa.  

Try it out!

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Ramadan Cooking: Moroccan Lamb Soup

I bought some lamb cubes some time back and never got around to cooking them.  Since it’s Ramadan and the evenings have been so rainy of late, I wanted to make something comforting and soupy.  Besides, Mummy is watching her health more carefully and no longer eats any red meat, so even though she’ll avoid this dish, it is just one of the many dishes we served with rice for our buka puasa meal.

I loved the broth, so flavourful yet the spices are not overpowering.  I flooded my rice with it, and i imagine this soup would also be excellent with bread.

The original recipe was intended for lamb shanks, but since I wanted to use up the lamb cubes in the freezer I just used that.  The meat turned out a bit tough even after simmering for 1 1/2 hours, so I wonder if I’ll give it 30 minutes in the pressure cooker next time.   Because it was already time to break fast and the meat wasn’t as tender as I had hoped, I skipped the shredding step.  Will make this again, using a couple of good quality shanks I hope.  Yums!

Adapted from a recipe on taste.com.au.

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Weekend Cooking: Pumpkin Soup

Mummy has her “seasons” of favorite foods.  Currently she’s into pumpkins, and every week we’d pick one up from the grocery store.  Kak’mbang has tried making all sorts of stuff with it, from sayur labu to pengat to bingka, and most recently delicious pumpkin pudding.  Mummy requested sayur labu every day, then got sick of it and moved on to pengat, and got sick of that one too.  She loves the bingka and the pudding, but these are desserts and Kak’mbang wanted more savoury options.  This was where I came in, and I offered to make pumpkin soup.

I looked through several options on the Internet, and found this one to be most interesting.  I’ve tweaked it here and there as always, using readily available ingredients and spices in my pantry.  The end result was a hearty, flavorful soup, a comforting dish which would have been excellent served with crusty bread.   I might use about 50% more chicken stock cubes next time and adjust the salt quantity accordingly, for even more oomph.  

Definitely making this again!

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Weekend Cooking: Smoked Duck and Sausage Gumbo

I’m really trying hard to clear out stuff from my freezer.  It doesn’t help that I keep buying new ingredients, I know, but I still try.  I had a few smoked duck breasts sitting at the bottom of my freezer for ages, and I knew I had to make something that would do them justice.  I’ve used them in risotto before, and considered using them in aglio olio.  But I wanted to use them all up in one go, so I decided on this gumbo recipe I found on Saveur.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when making this.  The ingredients looked simple enough, and given the rather tedious step of making a dark roux, I went on with it hoping it wasn’t for nothing.  When I finally tried it, served over steaming hot white rice, I was so pleasantly surprised.  The flavor was rich and dark and smoky and went so well with the plain rice.  All of us went for seconds.

The original recipe made a lot, so I halved the recipe and used ingredients I had on hand (and actually available in KL/Malaysia).  I couldn’t find mesquite seasoning anywhere, and making your own still seems like a pain, so I used barbecue seasoning instead.  The goal of this recipe is to create as much of that wonderful smoky flavor as possible, so do not sub that smoked paprika with sweet or hot (all three offer quite different flavors anyway), definitely use smoked duck instead of fresh, and find some good quality smoked sausages.  I made the mistake of using cheapo “smoked” sausages (see pic below), and was rather disappointed by the really meh texture, which resembled fishballs instead of meat and gristle.  The next time I make this (and I definitely will), I’ll use Victoria Crest’s smoked chicken sausages instead, which is available at the more upmarket grocers like B.I.G. and Village Grocer.  I’ll also be making the potato salad as well, which I hear is excellent when paired with this gumbo.

Try it out! Well worth the effort.

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GobbleFest 2017 Leftovers: Turkey Avgolemono Soup

I shredded the last bits of my leftover GobbleFest turkey meat and stored them in the freezer, along with the turkey carcass.  This weekend I just wanted to finish them all off and finally close the 2017 chapter of GobbleFest.  What better way to do that than to try a new recipe?

I made a casserole and a salad previously, so why not make soup this time?  I found this recipe on The Kitchn’s website, which uses only five ingredients, all of which are things I already have on hand.  I was intrigued by this Greek traditional comfort food, which uses eggs instead of dairy like cream or milk to achieve its creaminess.

It is a surprisingly bright, tangy soup, very unlike the creamy chicken/turkey soups I’m used to.  Most recipes for this soup uses a lot of lemon juice so I guess the sourness is expected, but I might halve the lemon juice the next time I make this, to see how it turns out.  While the original recipe calls for “long grain white rice”, which in my mind points to basmathi and the like, I opted for Japanese rice for a starchier porridge.  I suspect Thai fragrant rice (beras wangi Siam) would work just as well.

Another Mummy-approved dish, best enjoyed when hot.

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Ramadan Cooking: Shorbat el Ads (Middle Eastern Lentil Soup)

Ramadan mubarak, everyone!  Because of the fasting month, we get to leave work an hour early, and this has given me the opportunity to be home early enough to make something for buka puasa.

When Mummy went for her umrah earlier this year, the place she was staying at served a nice lentil soup that she liked very much.  I figured it’d be nice to make her something that she likes, and despite not having much to go by in terms of description (“It’s a nice smooth puree.”), I searched around for possible recipes.  I needed something simple enough which uses fairly common ingredients, so I decided on this highly rated one on BBC Good Food.

This took me two tries to get right.  My first time making this, I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it as written.  While the flavor was very nice, the lentils weren’t tender enough despite the recipe’s reassurance that no pre-soaking was necessary.  I made this again the next day, this time soaking the lentils beforehand and then cooking it using my Philips electric pressure cooker.  The results were wonderful, and Mummy cleaned her bowl with her bread.

Update: Be sure to take your time to sautee the onions.  They should be nicely browned and caramelized after 5 minutes.  Makes a huge difference to the flavor!

A delicious, hearty soup which can be a meal of its own, and very authentic, as verified by my mom.  Give it a try!

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GobbleFest 2015: Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

One must have soup as a starter for any dinner party (well, mine at least), and this recipe by SeriousEats caught my eye.  Not only were we able to fulfil our veg quota for the night (together with the stuffing), the garnishing that came with this hearty soup was also great for kicking up our mashed potatoes.  And yes, this was absolutely delicious and was the first dish to run out.  I served this with home-made white bread.

One thing to note is, unlike conventional bacon which apparently renders tons of fat when cooked, beef bacon (or breakfast beef, oh ye sensitive ones) is too lean and renders virtually nothing if cooked without adding any fat.  So I added a generous amount of olive oil in hopes it will absorb enough flavour from the bacon to give the soup its smoky taste.

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Project: RayaFest 2014 – French Onion Soup

So I finally had the time to browse through the book, “Bill’s Basics” by Bill Granger (thanks Cornelius!), and boy, so many recipes I can’t wait to try out!  Most of the recipes looked fairly simple, and I finally landed on this delicious looking French Onion Soup recipe.

I made this for a group over the weekend, so I doubled the recipe below.  Because of the large amount of onions it took a bit longer to caramelize, about 1 1/2 hours.  I was also kinda worried about not being able to make “good” French Onion Soup because of the lack of white wine and brandy, but I think all in all it was quite good, and my guests enjoyed it.  Do give it a try!

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