Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Palak Soup (Spinach Soup)



Growing up I had always been attracted to red foods. I could never really understand this fascination, but a red curry always seemed more appetizing than a green curry. Beets seemed more attractive than cucumbers. I never gave it much thought till I came across a research paper done by our friends at the TWBA / Chiat Day agency for their client, Heinz ketchup. Apparently, this is a very common phenomenon and not as I thought, one more of my many irritating habits. A plate of food where the central item is red always looks appetizing. This is because the eye associates the colour red with many appealing things. Freshly killed meat and blood. An abundance of blood in one’s body also signifies good health. And thus the eye looks for this colour on a plate. I just wish that I could’ve known these facts when I was young. It would’ve made refusing some rather unappealing dishes that mom tried to shove down our throats easier. It also explains my disdain for all things green. Like this Palak soup. My aunty used to make it whenever someone in the family was sick. But I could never fathom it. I have mastered making this soup. My girlfriend really likes it and asks me to make it often. I prepared it yesterday for her since she's the latest victim of flu season. Like an Alzheimer’s patient, I sat down to eat it and as I took the first spoonful in, I remembered just how much I hated spinach soup.

Ingredients
2 large Onions grated
2 bunches of Palak (Spinach) chopped
3 tsp Tomato Paste
1/2 cup milk
1” piece of grated Ginger
6 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Chilies finely chopped
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock (or water)
Salt to taste

Method
Heat oil in a pot and add ginger, garlic and chilies while the oil is still cold
Once it starts to sizzle, add grated onions and stir
Allow it to cook till onion turns light brown
Stir in tomato paste and allow it to cook some more
Add milk and mix till mixture becomes a loose paste
Add palak in batches and putting the next batch after the previous one has reduced
Add stock and allow it to simmer for 15 min
Remove from heat and allow the soup to cool
Blend the soup in a mixture. (If blending while hot, remove the small cap of the blender or steam will explode)
Reheat the blended soup
Garnish with croutons and butter or cream