August 21, 2009

A Rustic Red Lentil Soup With Yogurt, An Eggless Indian Custard And Purple Flowers!

I know that post title is a bit confusing but there are three parts to this post. I could have written it as 3 separate posts and maybe that would have been better. It so happens that I have to be away from Goa for this week (no, I'm not taking a vacation) and don't have much time to spare. So I'm going to put you all through the trouble of reading a rather long post.

I had bookmarked these two recipes from A Life (Time) Of Cooking, Ganga's blog a little while back. And as is the case with most bookmarked recipes, these also sat in a folder waiting patiently for the day when they would see the light in my kitchen.

The Rustic Red Lentil Soup With Yogurt:

It was just by chance that I remembered it was August (where has most of August gone, by the way?) and Ganga's blog would be the "chosen one" on Zlamushka's Tried & Tasted. I had planned on making soup for dinner and the bread dough was rising and almost ready for the oven when Ganga's "Rustic Red Lentil Soup With Yogurt" came to mind.
In case you aren't familiar with Ganga's blog, you should go and take a look at her beautiful photographs as well as her recipes which are all vegetarian.

I really didn't change much from her recipe so I'm not reproducing it here. I just halved her recipe as the soup was just for the three of us. I also added a bit of fresh chopped coriander.
This soup tastes a lot like dal as we make it in India, so if you would rather not have soup, you could choose to serve it with chappathis or rice after adjusting the consistency of the soup to your preference.

As I have mentioned many times before, I'm really not very fond of soups and it is the bread part of the meal that makes the soup bearable in most cases. Yet I would most definitely recommend that you try this soup at least once and then make your decision about it either way. It could be my liking for most lentils (some of the best Indian preparations are lentil based) that makes me biased towards this soup. I found this soup quite light yet filling. I had it with a dollop of thick home-made yogurt and found it delicious.

Ganga alternately suggests serving the soup with feta cheese. If you cannot get feta cheese (I don't here), I would think pan-roasted and lightly browned paneer would an excellent substitute.

The Eggless Indian Custard:

The other recipe I had bookmarked was an "Eggless Indian Custard". Now custard is one dessert (which is not traditionally Indian) that I remember seeing and eating a lot. It is usually made and served as a firm but wobbly caramel custard or else as a thick flowing custard with fresh fruit.

In India, custard is most vegetarian (without eggs) and made using milk, sugar and custard powder. What caught my attention about Ganga's custard recipe was that it used chickpea flour (besan).

I have never seen custard made this way before, so I bookmarked the recipe to try out. Again, I followed the given recipe and made the custard with cashewnuts and raisins but did not use any fruit. This is not exactly the best season for fruit here and I didn't think the aavailable fruits like apples, pears, papaya and guava would go well with this custard.

We found this chickpea flour custard tasted a lot like a "Parippu Pradhaman" but is a lot lighter as there's no coconut milk in it. I also kept getting nuances of a not-so-rich besan halwa.
On the whole, a good choice when you want a dessert which doesn't take too much effort or time yet satisfies your sweet tooth without being very heavy.

Both these dishes are my submissions for this month's Tried & Tasted being guest hosted by Yasmeen.

On another note, I have to apologise to fellow bloggers Lata Raja, Priya Narasimhan, Bergamot and Lien who have been very kind and passed on the Kreative Blog Award to my blog. I know I have taken ages to acknowledge them so please accept my apologies. As is my practice, I have added them to my page for badges.

And The Purple Flowers!

This bit of my post has nothing to do with food other that the fact that it is related to a blog, post and event organized by Manisha of Indian Food Rocks, who is a food blogger. Apparently, she had a monthly event centred on flowers which came to a natural conclusion some time back. This was before I started blogging or knew of Manisha's blog.

Manisha has decided to revive the event. This time around, each month will focus on a colour and this month's colour is "Purple".

These flowers were a gift to my husband, from the daughter of good friends of ours. S and R (I'm not sure they would like seeing their names on the net) are avid gardners and their small garden is a visual delight. In fact, they are my regular suppliers of drumstick and drumstick leaves!

Purple flowers

I am not very sure what these flowers are called. They're small, about an inch across with dark, thin and pointy leaves and stay fresh in a vase for over 2 weeks! Yesterday, I saw a huge bunch of these flowers with my regular flower vendor at the market. He tells me they're called purple (sometimes blue) daisies. Some help from ID Please and some searching on the net leads me to believe they're Asters.

Some more purple flowers

I also found these other pictures of purple flowers in one of my folders. I had taken this picture when I first got my P & S over a year back. These flowers were growing in one of my pots in Cochin and I was just experimenting with the camera.

Again, I do not know what these flowers are but I think someone might be able to help me identify them. They grow from small bulbs and the triangle shaped leaves of this plant are deep magenta, almost brown in colour.. I got these from my Aunt who brought it down from her daughter's garden in California.

Unfortunately towards the end of last year, this plant finally gave up its will to survive. I'm hoping the original plant is still thriving in my Aunt's garden and might grace my pot again.

These purple flowers are off to Manisha's Purplicious.

If you love flowers and have "painted, doodled, sketched or photographed" purple flowers (I quote Manisha here) you could send them in too. This month's deadline is the 25th of August so you had better hurry.


Curry Leaf said...

Wow Aparna,Great recipes,actually that blog was new to me and the first recipe i tried was crumpets.the soup is too healthy and hearty.The eggless custard is very intriguing what with chikpea flour and taste like paruppu pradhaman (slurp)
These were the flowers that you were twitting about,wondering what they were.Thanks for the floral pics and info

Lakshmi Venkatesh said...

The soup has a Beautiful colour. Looks appetizing.

Aparna please try to participate in A.W.E.D German going on in my blog.

Jill said...

Great 3-part post!! I love the look of the Rustic Red Lentil Soup with Yogurt--I can see that is a must try! :)

Sunshinemom said...

The soup looks tasty! I am heading off to Ganga's blog now. Let me see some purple too - will have my eyes wide open on way to office today!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

What a lovely soup. Red lentils are especially quick cooking, so I love them for nights when I'm really hungry!

Raaga said...

I like dal soups... as soups... even without the bread :) Shall try this. Red lentils is masoor?

Priya Narasimhan said...

i can read again and again this post for next one week when you are out of goa..:-) both the recipes are too good, esp the custard..have to bookmark it..

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Yummy... I love Lentils...Haven't made them recently but this is inspiration. Thanks

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

The custard looks delicious! I think it's so popular because its so easy, and yummy!! I LOVE those purple daisies!!!

Pari said...

Hi!The soup colour is really tempting, and anything with lentils is always welcome.

Parita said...

Soup looks warm and inviting, ganga's blog is actually new to me, love the indian custard

Srivalli said...

Good recipe...soup looks delicious. Love the Flower Pics.

Chitra said...

love the dishes & flowers :)

Yasmeen said...

Dal and custard look Simply awesome ! its been long since I cooked the red lentils,must be great with yogurt.the besan custard is another new dessert for me,I'm gonna try it too :D

Yasmeen said...

And the purple flower look so pretty,it my fav. color,can't miss sending one to the event :D

Hari Chandana said...

WOW!!!... wonderful recipes... looks soo delicious... very tempting pics dear.. AWESOME.. :)

sra said...

Even I have a yoghurt soup coming up ;) - all my own creation, if nothing it will 'brighten' up my blog!

Those purple daisies are pretty - they look a bit like chrysanthemum too!

Simran said...

Your soup looks lovely, seems very similar to the masoor dal we make :)

jayasri said...

hi aparna, lovely 3 tier post, purple is lovely, must look into ganga's blog, soup & custard both very interesting and beautiful snaps as usual

Jayashree said...

Custard with besan??? Something new. Must check it out at Ganga's blog.