Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A peek into my Secret Life with Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Hello y’all!
*breezily walks in without a care in the world*
What? Don’t look at me like that. I do not like the accusation in your eyes, no sir! Let me tell you (all attempts at breeziness forgotten) that I had a very good reason to disappear. Again. For a month. Ok, more.

Ermm.... I had work.
No, actually it was an emergency.
Ok, ok, writer’s block.
Fine! Have it your way. Don’t blame me if you can’t deal with the truth! Here you go.... brace yourself.

Ha. Didn’t think you could handle it. Truth is a dangerous thing my friend...

Sigh... before my handful of readers walk away in disgust, let me tell you what I have really been up to in this last month.

  • Watched Mad Men compulsively.
  • Now watching Homeland obsessively.
  • Cursed the second-hand bookstore guy near my home who decided to shut shop and move away after a 4yr long, fruitful relationship. How can you argue with the old – “Its not you, its me” line??!
  • Got cranky about having no good books to read
  • Swore not to spend money on buying books which I will finish in 2 hours and then cram into my already crammed bookshelf
  • Spent days in the mall trying on jeans to find that perfect pair - Levi’s, Esprit, Lee, Wrangler, UCB, Mango, CK... no luck. #HateSouthIndianBum
  • Finally found the most perfect fit – never-heard-of-before KRAUS jeans! Bought 3 pairs and decided to just hide the brand name with strategically worn tops
  • Gave one of the brand new, only twice-worn jeans to dhobi for ironing and got it back with HUGE holes chewed in by rats!!
  • Bracing myself to go jeans shopping again.. it’s been 2 weeks and I still haven’t worked up the courage.
  • Tried to be more active on Twitter
  • Still didn’t really understand the fuss about it.
  • Started reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Remains of the Day” – finally a book that’s so slow, it might take me a week to finish.
  • Welcomed in-laws and then bid them a hasty good bye when they had to rush back thanks to thieves deciding to break into our Hyderabad home!
  • Cooked very little... blogged not at all :( 
  •  Talked 4 different friends into feeling better about themselves and their illicit relationships (What? Really! I am not lying. I have very exciting friends with even more exciting love lives I tell you...)
  • Oh. And worked. A lot. (Just in case someone from work is reading this blog post – I made many, many PPTs!)

So. Now you know what a fulfilling, dramatic life I have. Like I was telling a very dear friend, if nothing is going wrong, you clearly lead a boring life! And boring is not me.

And just to prove that, let me show you how to create drama with the humble, boring Sweet Potato. I don’t know how you eat sweet potatoes, or if you eat them at all; but as kids our favourite was little cubes of Potato and Sweet Potato shallow-fried with salt and red chilli powder (Aloo-Kandamoola bhaja in Oriya). Absolutely divine as comfort food goes! I know of no other exciting way to cook it. If you do, then please please tell me! Coz I love sweet potatoes, and the husband does not :( So I’m constantly looking for different ways in which to fool him into eating it...

Photo Courtesy - BBC Good Food
Now this soup was made when I was down with a bad cold and needed something that would awaken my deadened senses. And it worked like a dream! The inspiration was the internet where I was Googling for sweet potato recipes, and the moment I saw SOUP, I was like – Why didn’t I think of that before?!



Sweet Potatoes (boiled and peeled) – 2 large
Lemongrass stalk
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Coconut Milk – 1/4th cup
Vegetable Stock/Water – 3 cups
Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
Black Pepper
Juice of half a lemon

Boil and peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes. Mince or finely slice the ginger and some lemongrass stalk. In a large pan, heat the oil and sauté the ginger and lemon grass for 2 min. Add the cubed sweet potatoes and continue to sauté some more. Sprinkle some salt and freshly ground pepper, add the water or stock, cover and let simmer for at least 10min. Let the flavours of the ginger and lemongrass suffuse the whole broth. Then remove from fire and using a hand blender, blitz it into a creamy, smooth consistency.
Adjust seasoning and simmer again on a low flame. Make sure the ginger and pepper tingle your nose! Otherwise it’s no fun. Now add the coconut milk and stir well. Remove from flame in 2min.

The way I like it:

Serve piping hot with a drizzle of fresh cream or coconut milk, a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Hot, sweet, creamy and nose-streaming! :D