Chinese bitter melon soup

Bitter melon is not called bitter melon for nothing … yes it is very bitter … but if you take out the seeds, it won’t be bothersome. Besides life needs a little bitternes … so you can better appreciate the good things – right?!? Big smiley face. It is also very healthy and makes delicious dishes. This interesting plant is hugely popular all over Asia particularly in India and China. My recipe this week is from China. No worries no exotic ingredients … you just need garlic and ginger for seasoning. The recipe is from the following source.

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) originated in India and became popular in China in the 14th century. It is now used all over Asia. It is a bitter plant that is also sour. According to Chinese Medicine, its bitterness makes it great for the Fire element in the summer (cooling) and detoxifies the liver and its sourness supports the liver ( Wood element) . It also improves digestion. In Ayurveda, it is considered a great pitta pacifying remedy that is immensely valuable for the hot months. Western research has found it to be beneficial for the prevention/treatment of many problems including diabetes, cancer, infections, skin problems, dysmenorrhea, immune system, autoimmune diseases, and colds/flus. (If you have any of these problems, please see a practitioner first though.)

Today, we often don’t get enough bitter flavor in our diet but it is important for good overall health. Chefs use sweet flavored foods to balance out the bitter flavor. In this recipe, mainly the carrots, chayote squash and potatoes do this job. If you don’t like or don’t have all these vegetables, feel free to use any sweet vegetables you have on hand and/or think would work well together. For instance, we don’t have winter squashes yet so I used zucchini instead. In addition. the pungent ginger and garlic are essential to balance out the bitter flavor as well and the bitter flavor will be barely noticable. Honestly this is a nice tasting soup.

Where can we get bitter melon in the United States? They are easily available at Asian grocery stores and are sold by Asian farmers at the farmers’ markets. You might be able toget them at smaller grocery stoes too.

Please note that the soup on the picture does not have chicken. I also added lemon grass because I have it in my garden and has a nice flavor.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • .25-.0.5 lb of chicken thighs or breasts (skinless)
  • 1 bitter melon
  • 1 chayote squash or zucchini or any squash
  • 4 regular carrots, cut into small chunks
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quadered
  • 2 small potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 2 stalks celery , sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small chunk ginger, about 2 tablespoons chopped
  • chicken broth
  • salt to taste

Directions

  • Make the chicken stock. Omit if using store bought.
  • Cut bitter melon in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Discard seeds. (They come out easily).
  • Meanwhile peel and chop the ginger and the garlic. Cube the tomatoes and the potatoes. Clean and slice the squash, carrots, celery. When ready slice the bitter melon.
  • Cut the chicken up into small pieces.
  • Put all ingredients in a medium sized pot, cover well with chicken stock and cook covered for about 45 minutes or untill vegetables are soft. I added the zucchini in the last 20 minutes.
  • Serve hot.

enjoy!

Photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com

Sources

Hungarian egg-drop soup (tojásleves)

Hello, I’m writing this post from voluntary quarantine. I believe most of my readers are effected by the virus one way or another. My recipe may be helpful for getting through these difficult times although I normally make it quite often. It is very simple, tasty and nourishing as the main ingredients are eggs, caraway seeds and broth. It is the Hungarian version of a hot and sour soup that can be served with the semolina croutons or any bread croutons that you can buy in stores. Please check this website for more info on caraway seeds.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • Broth (vegetarian or meat based) or water
  • oil (vegetable or lard)
  • 1 smaller onion, finally chopped
  • 1 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • about 1 cup of semolina flour + 2 eggs or bread croutons
  • dehydrated vegetable seasoning (optional)
  • parsley, chopped
  • Hot pepper to taste

Directions for the soup

  • Have 1/4 cup of cold water ready
  • Sauté the onion in a medium sized pot until translucent.
  • Add 1 Tbsp flour, stir for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 tsp paprika for stir for 1 minute.
  • Add the water that was set aside from the first step, stir well.
  • Add stock, bay leaves, and caraway seeds. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Separate 2 eggs and lightly beat the yolks. Add a small amount of liquid from the soup, mix. Slowly add to the soup while stirring the soup.
  • Add vinegar and dehydrated vegetable seasoning (optional)
  • Season with salt, black pepper and hot red pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with semolina croutons or bread croutons.

Direction for the semolina croutons (optional)

  • Lightly beat 2 eggs. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp oil.
  • Add about 1 cup of semolina flour or as much what the eggs takes up. You should get a dough that is dry enough so you can pick it it up and make it into a circular shape.
  • Let it sit for 1 hour if you can.
  • Pan fry this dough in a lightly oiled frying pan on both sides until golden brown.
  • Take out of frying pan and cut up into squares.

Enjoy!

SOURCE

Recipe, text and photo by twincitiesherbs.com.

Soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans (Jota)

In the summer when we were hiking in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, we found a quaint little restaurant that served simple and very tasty dishes. When we went hiking, we treated ourselves to a delicious lunch every time. Here, I found this interesting soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans.

Jota, the Slovenian soup with sauerkraut, potatoes and beans is just a simple dish that can warm your body and soul on a cold winter night or a cool, rainy day in the mountains in the summer.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 8oz smoked pork products of your choice (ribs are great)
  • 2 cloves of garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp of sweet paprika powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, 2 bay leaves, 1 Tbsp black peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 cups of uncooked kidney beans or 30 oz canned kidney beans
  • meat stock
  • 1 fresh tomatoes, diced or canned
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pound potatoes (diced)
  • 1 pound sauerkraut (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp of flour
  • sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sausage or eggs, optional

Direction

  • Clean and soak the beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Rinse soaking water off. Add fresh cold filtered water, bayleaves and cook the beans for 1.5 hour or until soft but not mushy. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, sauté onion and bacon for 10 minutes. Add paprika, stir and add garlic, stir. Add a tomatoes, tomatoe paste, stir and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse sauerkraut. Add potatoes, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, bay leaves, pork and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes or until potatoes and sauerkraut are very tender and the mixture is thick.
  • At the end, in a small bowl put 1 Tbsp of flour, mix it with some cooking liquid until smooth. Add into soup and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • If you like your soup to have a thicker consistency, you can take out the potatoes and put them in a blender with some of the cooking liquid.
  • Add the cooked beans with some of its liquid and warm up the pot so the beans are warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with bread, sour cream, sausage.
  • This can be served right away but will taste better the next day or even just a few hours later.
The menu

enjoy!

White black bean chili soup

-can be vegetarian

This tasty soup is a fun twist to the regular chili soup. The difference is that the beef is replaced with turkey or chicken and the chili beans are replaced with black beans but otherwise it is very similar to the well known beef chili soup … just even better in our opinions. Of course, you can add all your favorite foods that you would otherwise add to a chili soup.

The biggest change in the recipe is the meat. Many people prefer the lighter turkey or chicken meat. The chicken or turkey is very nice here, the thigh gives more flavor and is cheaper but the breast would work well too.

Maybe it would be more accurate to call this soup black and white chili soup. The white makes sense with the white meat but I used black beans instead of white beans because I think it has more flavor. Of course, you can use either.

EDIT: I decided to make a minor change to the title to better reflect what this soup is all about so I added black bean in the title. I have been calling it the white chili soup for years so I did not even give it much thought when I posted the recipe. I apologize but this will be more accurate otherwise it is still the same tasty soup recipe.

I decided to post this recipe now because beans especially black beans are great in the winter. The warming black beans have a sweet flavor and nourish the kidneys. They are antibacterial, anti-parasitic, detoxifying and have high levels of disease fighting antioxidants, numerous vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber. In addition, it has heart, skin protecting and anti-cancer properties. It also improves digestion and is great for overall health. It is native to the Americas and have been used for thousands of years. No wonder the natives ate it with almost every meal.

I like to make up my own chili spice, please follow the recipe below or you can use whatever you have on hand or buy it in a store already made. It is cheaper if you buy it in bulk vs buying in a jar and has no additives either.

You can experiment with the vegetables of course, I added corn, carrots and green beans. In the summer, I like to add zucchini too. But please feel free to add whatever you would like.

Vegetarian readers might be wondering if this soup could be made vegetarian. The answer is yes! – you can take out the meat and just use vegetarian stock and I also added eggs. I have made it without meat, it is tasty.

Surprise your guests at a party or just treat yourself. Honestly, we believe that this version is even tastier than the original soup.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey thigh or breast
  • 28 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • 5 tsp of chili seasoning (please see recipe below)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • chicken stock
  • 3 medium sized carrots, sliced
  • 8 oz corn (frozen)
  • 8 oz vegetables. I used green beans. Also zucchini would be fine
  • 2 cups of uncooked black beans or 28 oz of canned beans
  • salt and pepper
  • yellow cheddar cheese
  • chips
  • sour cream
  • cilantro

Chili seasoning ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp (3 tsp) chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preparation

  • Wash and soak beans in cold water for 8 hours or overnight. Pour off the liquid and wash well. Add cold filtered waterm and cook for 2 hours or until soft but not falling apart. Omit if using canned beans. The home-made beans are well worth the extra effort though, they taste so much better.
  • Make the stock. Omit if using ready made stock.
  • Heat oil in a large pot with a large surface area. Add the chopped onion, celery and the chopped up bacon, sauté for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and render the bacon.
  • Add 5 tsp of the chili seasoning, mix. Add the crushed garlic cloves, mix.
  • Quickly add the tomatoes, stir. Add the tomato pure and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes make a nice sauce.
  • Add the carrots and enough stock so the liquid covers the soup well. Cook for 1 hour or until the carrots are soft.
  • Add the corn and the vegetables at the end so they can be cooked for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the beans and more stock to cover everything.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot with sour cream, chips, cilantro.

enjoy!

Potato leek soup with kale

The combination of the leeks, potatoes and kale is magical. The synergy of all these vegetables creates the soup’s unique flavor. The pungent leeks pair nicely with the neutral potatoes and the bitter kale balances out the soup. It can be served with or without sausages. This simple tasty soup quickly became a family favorite and its recipe stayed in our recipe box.

Leeks (allium porrum) have been used for thousands of years but have been kind of forgotten in the United States. They belong to the family of the allium vegetables like onions and garlic and are considered to be very good for health. They are milder but have a unique flavor. Leeks have cardiovascular protecting properties, are antiviral and bacterial and help combat the dangerous free radicals. Also, they help the body against cancer and chronic diseases. Not to mention, they are a significant source of vitamins A, B and K, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium and thiamin. In natural medicine, they are also used for lung problems. The leeks are available between the early fall and late winter.

The leeks are paired with potatoes (solarium tuberasum). The healthy potatoes are native to the Andes in South America and help the digestion, lubricate the intestines and nourish the kidneys. Furthermore, potatoes neutralize acids in the body thereby helping against so many degenerative diseases. Also, they give cardiovascular protection, improve bone health and protect against cancer. If these were not enough, they also contain potassium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and magnesium.

Out of all these vegetables, kale (Brassica oleracea) gives the most interesting flavor to the soup. It is a unique hardy cold-weather green that grows from the fall until the early spring. It gets sweeter with a touch of frost. It is an immensely valuable vegetable in the fall and the winter especially because there isn’t much else growing. It is more warming with a slight bitter pungent flavor and benefits the stomach and the lungs. It also contains calcium, iron, and vitamin A and has a very high chlorophyll content.

RECIPE

Serves 4 people

Ingredients

  • 8 medium sized Russet or Yukon potatoes (about 1.5-2 pounds)
  • 3 medium sized leeks, peeled and sliced
  • butter or home-made ghee (I prefer ghee because it doesn’t burn easily like butter).
  • 2 large slices of bacon or to taste (optional)
  • stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 Italian sausage (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1-3 thyme sprins
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1/2-1 cup of cream
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • crushed hot red pepper flakes to taste
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Wash and slice up leeks. Slice leeks thin with a sharp knife. Use more the white part (cook the greenish part in the stock or discard). Put the sliced leeks in a bowl of cold water for 1/2 hour. This will get all the dirt out of the leeks. Clean well. Strain the liquid using a colander or pat dry.
  • If you decide to keep the peel on the potatoes, clean and soak potatoes in some cold water for 1/2 hour. Scrub off any dirt. If you decide to peel potatoes, you can skip this step. Slice the potatoes thin.
  • Sauté leek slices in some butter or ghee for 5-10 minutes or until you can smell the aroma of the leeks. Add 1 tsp of paprika and fennel seeds to activate for 1 minute and stir. Add 1/4 tsp cold water, stir.
  • Fry up some sliced bacon if you decide to use it.
  • Add potatoes and bacon to the leeks. Pour in the stock enough to barely cover the vegetables. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Start heating the soup carefully until it starts bubbling but not boiling. Quickly, turn the heat down and slowly cook for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile cook the sausage for 15 minutes in a little oil. Add to the soup at the end.
  • Clean and take stems off the kale. Cut the leaves up into bite sizes.
  • When soup is done, add the kale. It doesn’t need to cook.
  • Add cream, salt, black pepper, hot red pepper flakes. Don’t cook anymore.
  • Serve with a little Parmesan cheese.

enjoy!

Little secrets

  • Never boil the soup. Turn soup down right when it starts bubbling but before it starts to boil and cook slowly for an hour.
  • Add enough liquid to barely cover the vegetables. A few vegetables can even be ‘peaking’ out. Once the soup is done, you can add more liquids.
  • These are my personal discoveries. I keep getting excellent results every time I cook the soup or don’t get if I don’t follow these suggestions.
  • I can’t decide which potato I like more. The Russet is softer and blends in more, supposedly preferred for soups vs the Yucon that holds its shape better but is equally tasty.

Sources

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/08/leeks-benefits.aspx

https://healthbenefitstimes.com/potaoes

Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods

Recipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Butternut squash soup with a Midwestern flare

Warm up to the fall with this delicious squash soup. My recipe is made with a little Midwestern twist. I added wild rice, a Midwestern staple but it can be served with some hearty bread instead. I enjoy squashes in all shapes and forms. Many of us think of squash when we hear the word fall cooking so I will start off my fall recipe collection with a squash dish.

As the fall season is arriving, I feel like a little squirrel trying to get ready for the colder months: eating the great variety of fruits and vegetables, storing up foods, making last minute repairs and just mentally getting ready. By now we are aware that summer is gone and a new season is coming with all its beauty and challenges. It was the Autumnal Equinox a couple of days ago, when the days and nights are equal and from now on the days are going to get shorter and colder as well.

The warming sweet butternut squash is simmered with the white onion, garlic, potatoes and is balanced with the bitter celery root and the lovely pungent spices. At the end, it is topped with cream and the sweet almond slivers for a bit of crunchiness.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash- about 3 lbs
  • 1 medium sized Russet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 finally chopped large onion, white is the best
  • vegetable oil (sunflower)
  • 2 slices of smoked bacon (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, about 1 inch long
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 smaller celery root, peeled and chopped up into 4 pieces
  • stock (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 thyme spring
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • red hot pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of almond slivers
  • 1 cup of uncooked wild rice or rye bread to serve

Directions

Preparing the squash. Peel and cut squash lengthwise, take out the seeds. Cut them into cubes. Warm up some oil on medium high heat and brown the cubes for a good 10-15 minutes.

Make the soup base. Have 1/2 cup of cold water ready. Warm up the oil. Sauté the onion, and the bacon(optional). When translucent and you can smell the aroma of the the onions and the bacon, add the chopped ginger for a few minutes, stir. Add the crushed garlic and 1 tsp paprika, stir for 30 seconds to activate. Add the little cold water that you had set aside earlier, stir.

Put the browned squash, potatoes, thyme spring, the freshly ground nutmeg and the celery root in the pot. Add the stock, enough to cover by about 1 inch above everything and cook for 30 minutes.

Cooking the wild rice (optional). Cook 1 cup of wild rice with 3 cups of water, partially covered for about 20 minutes or until the rice is soft and crunchy.

Roast the almond slivers. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and spread the almond pieces evenly on the sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Serve on top of the soup.

When ready, let the soup cool for about 10-20 minutes. Add the cream and black pepper. Stir.

If you want the soup to be a little chunky, set aside about 20% of the cooked squash pieces. Use a hand held blender and puree the rest of the soup. Make sure you blend the celery chunks. Transfer the whole pieces back to the rest of the pureed soup. (If you prefer a smooth soup, just puree everything).

Check to see if more salt, black pepper, red hot pepper are needed.

Serve with wild rice/bread and the almond slivers.

enjoy!

Recipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Hungarian sour cherry soup (meggyleves)

When I was a little girl I used to go to the farmers’ market with my grandmother to sell her goods. I was in charge of the fruits. Whatever I was able to pick the day before, I could sell. I loved climbing up the tree and picking them. We took the train to the nearest town where the market was. So of course I sold the cherries and the sour cherries too. I remember I used to wonder though why the heck people got so excited about sour cherries, why not just buy the delicious sweet cherries. Well, try this soup and you will understand too :).

Honestly, nothing tastes as good as a bowl of cold sour cherry soup on a hot day. Sour cherry soup originated in Hungary and is popular in many Central European countries. I added a small amount of ginger, cloves and cinnamon to offset the sweetness and sourness of the cherries and orange peel and salt to balance it out nicely. At the end, I thickened the soup with egg yolks. Oh and I added in a bit of alcohol, more exactly white wine and brandy (pálinka). The alcohol content will boil away so no worries, kids can have it too. 

The main ingredient is the sour cheeries. If you have a tree growing in your back yard, it is the best source for picking for sure. I have seen it in health food stores, farmers’ markets and some specilty shops too but otherwise it will be most likely hard to get fresh. You can get frozen sour cherries, they will work well as long as they are tasty, of course. Also, you can use soft cherries too but the harder kind, the bing cherries will not work. I leave the pit in but take the stems off. In addition to the cherries, I like to add some goose berries to the soup, too.

Enjoy some Hungarian folk music while you are having the soup … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiv06rzysaU

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of sour cherries or soft cherries (Please see note above).
  • 1 cup of goose berries, optional
  • water
  • 1/2-1 cup of sugar (depending on your taste)
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp orange peel
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger (chopped)
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick (avoid powdered cinnamon)
  • 3-5 pieces of cloves
  • 1 cup of white wine (Vermouth is fine) (optional)
  • 2Tbsp of brandy (cherry would be ideal but others are fine too)
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • whipped cream for serving

Directions

  • Wash the cherries.
  • Put them into a medium sized pot along with the sugar, orange peel and lemon slices.
  • Cover with water. Water should be about about 1-2 inches above the cherries.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat without the lid. Bring to a boil and continue cooking as you add the cloves, cinnamon, ginger, wine, brandy and and cook for 5 more minutes on medium low heat with the lid on. We add the ginger, cinnamon and cloves in later because they only need 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Turn off the heat. Remember to wait for 5 minutes before adding the egg yolk mixture.
  • Mix the yolk with a little liquid from the soup. As I mentioned earlier, after 5 minutes, add the egg yolk mixture. Stir gently so it is mixed nicely in the soup.
  • Let the pot cool on the counter leaving the cinnamon and the cloves in.
  • Chill in the refrigerator overnight but atleast for a couple of hours.
  • Take out the large spice pieces.
  • Serve cold with whipped cream.

enjoy!

Text, photos, recipe by twincitiesgerbs.com.

Kohlrabi soup (karalábé leves)

Yes Kohlrabi soup! … a simple and tasty soup! I am vacationing at my parents’ house and rediscovering this interesting vegetable. My mom apparently used to make it when we were kids but looks like it didn’t get my attention back then. I do throw it into soups in the summer but have never thought of using it as a main ingredient. What an amazing soup with an interesting flavor. Honestly, when I heard she made kohlrabi soup, I can’t belive but I actually told her that the kids will not eat it. Well to my biggest surprise, my kids loved it and asked for seconds! So I think I can add, it is a kid friendly soup as well.

Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea) is in the Brassica family as its Latin name also suggests and is related to cabbages, broccoli etc. Yes, they do look different but they are in the same family. Kohlrabi is popular in the Northern European countries. The word has a German origin and the Germans have brought it over to the US back in the 1800’s. It is a cross between wild cabbages (kohl) and turnips (rabi). There are several varieties and can be purplish and white greenish in color. I personally like the purple one for its beautiful vibrant color but there is no difference in flavor. They tend to be ready late spring and early summer. If they are left on the vine too long, they get too big and woody. Try to pick them on time to avoid this as it can effect the flavor and also buy the smaller or medium sized ones avoiding the larger ones. The meaty part above the ground is used in general but the leaves are edible, too. In fact, the leaves have even more vitamins and minerals than the meaty part. Kohlrabi has a distinct earthy, nutty flavor and is mildly sweet and pairs well with the sweet carrots.

The recipe

Ingredients

  • oil (I used sunflower seed)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 medium sized kohlrabi or 4 smaller ones, shaved with a cheese grader
  • 1 medium sized carrot cut into long or circular pieces
  • 1 tsp curry powder or 1 tsp carraway seed and 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup of millet or rice
  • croutons or twice baked bread pieces
  • parsley or lovage
  • salt to taste

Directions

  • †Make the stock
  • Peel the kohlrabi and shave it on a grader, – this is my mom’s secret. She claims that the shaved pieces make this soup pleasant instead of cutting them into chunks. You can keep the leaves from the top and put them in the soup as well.
  • Peel the carrots and cut them into small pieces.
  • Satué the kohlrabi in a little oil for 5-10 minutes. Add the curry and the paprika in for about 20 seconds, stir and add a little cold water, stir. If you don’t use curry, you can add caraway seeds and marjoram here.
  • Add the carrots and the millet and cover well with the stock. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 20 minutes. The millet needs 20 minutes to cook.
  • Serve hot with the croutons, parsley and hot pepper.

Enjoy!

Source:

https://www.hazipatika.com/taplalkozas/zoldseg_gyumolcs/cikkek/karalabe_az_eltekozolt_levelek/20080110163701?autorefreshed=1

Hungarian sugar snap pea soup (zöldborsó leves)

We just celebrated the Summer Solstice and suitably sugar peas are ready!  When I can make pea soup, I know summer is here. So why is pea soup so special? We can buy frozen peas all year long. Yes, it is true but we cannot make Hungarian pea soup with frozen peas alone, we need the fresh shells as well. This nourishing soup is mildly sweet and refreshing.

The summer season is the time when fruits and vegetables are available again, and it is hot outside. Eat all the seasonal summer fruits and vegetables. Try to eat as much of these colorful plants as possible as we know summer won’t last forever. Bring in those flowers too and lavishly decorate the summer table for meals!

To attune with the summer, one needs to pay attention to eating habits. One important consideration is to quickly sauté foods at a high temperature. There is no need to cook for hours, our body just wants something that is light and easy to digest. Yes the heat takes a toll on our digestion so the easier, lighter meals would be preferred. Also, adding hot pepper is a great way to deal with the summer heat. It does increase the heat first but then it quickly starts increasing circulation causing sweating and eventually the heat leaves the inside of our body. You can use as much as you like, summer is a great time. It is not an accident why countries in warm climate use so much hot peppers. So I think this dish would be a great fit for the summer.

This soup brings back some very nice memories. My mother and my paternal grandmother also made it. We had it regularly in the summer. Unfortunately, these vegetables are becoming harder and harder to find. You will not be able to find them at supermarkets easily. However, they should be readily available at farmers’ markets and health food stores. Or just simply grow them in your garden. Again, the tastier your vegis, the better your soup will be!

RECIPE

Ingredients for the soup

  • 2 lbs of sugar snap peas with the shells
  • about 3 Tbsp of oil (I like sunflower)
  • 1 tsp of sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 6 stalks of fresh carrots
  • 1-2 kohlrabies
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste
  • parsley
  • red hot pepper to taste (optional)
soup stock
dumplings

Ingredients for the dumplings (csipetke)

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of flour, possibly more
  • 1 tsp of oil

Directions

  • Start shelling the peas. Put the shells and the peas in separate bowls.
  • Wash the shells and put them into a larger pot. Add 3 stalks of carrots and 1 kohlrabi and enough water to cover all vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook on medium high heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings (csipetke). This can be a little tricky. Lightly whisk the egg, add the salt and the oil. Start slowly adding the flour, enough so it forms a ball. You don’t want it to fall apart in the soup but you also don’t want it to be hard as rock. Try to find something in-between. The amount of flour really depends on how much the egg takes up. Once you found the right consistency, keep kneading it for about 5 minutes. Let the dough rise for at least 15 minutes.
  • Have 1/2 cup of cold water ready for the soup.
  • You can start the soup by now. Heat up the oil in a medium sized pot with a heavier bottom. When ready, put in the peas and stir. You sauté the peas for 5-10 minutes in the oil (the younger ones for less, the older ones longer). Make sure there is enough oil for the flour. Add the flour and stir. This thickens the soup. Then in 1 minute you can add the paprika and stir. This activates the paprika. In 20-30seconds add the cold water and stir making sure there are no lumps in the soup.
  • Add the pea shell stock. Make sure the solids are strained from the liquid.
  • Clean and scrape the outside of the carrots. Cut them up into bite sizes.
  • Peel the kohlrabi and cut it into small, bite sizes.
  • Put the carrots and the kohlrabi in the soup.
  • Bring to a boil and cook on medium low heat for about 20-30 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, we will make the dumplings.
  • Bring 1 quart of water to a boil for the dumplings.
  • Meanwhile, cut the dough into 6 long pieces and roll each to finger thickness. Each will make about a 6 inch long dough. With your thumb and index finger you can pinch a little piece off the dough or you can use a knife for this too. ‘Csipet’ means ‘pinch of’ in Hungarian hence where the name csipetke for this dumpling came from. When the water starts boiling, you can start putting these small pieces of dumpling in the boiling water. They should be ready in a few minutes when they come up to the surface of the water. Sample one to make sure they are ready. Strain off water and serve in the soup. If the dumplings are too hard, no worries! You can put them in the soup for a short time and they will get softer as they soak up a little liquid.
  • When soup is ready, add the salt, and hot pepper.
  • Serve hot with parsley.

enjoy!

Sources

George Lang: George Lang’s Cuisine of Hungary

Paul Pitchford: Healing with Whole Foods

Hot and sour burdock soup

When I go to Asian restaurants, I always wish I could make their foods. Well, here is one that can be easily made!

Spring is here! In the Midwest, one of the first edible foods in nature is Burdock root. A great way to include burdock in your diet is to make a soup with the roots. Asian cooks rave about their burdock soups that they make in the spring. I’m presenting a burdock root soup here that is inspired by Rosalee de la Foret’s blog. Well, here is one dish that can be easily made! There is really nothing exotic about this soup, all the ingredients can be found here in the US.

The website to the original recipe: https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/hot-and-sour-soup-recipe/

As we transition from the winter into spring, it is important to pay attention to our digestion. Heavy foods in the winter might be clogging our livers that can lead to some dreaded health problems in the spring like fevers and tiredness. We tend to eat heavier foods during the winter months but now as our livers are waking up, our body is ready to embark on something lighter and easier to digest. The spring season is the time to attend to the liver and the gallbladder. Our body tends to cleanse itself naturally as we eat less. In addition, it is nice to add some bitter plants that aid the liver to accomplish this process. Our ancestors ate a lot of bitters in the spring. One of these spring bitters is burdock.

Burdock is a lovely plant. It has a distinct flavor. It is earthy, slightly sweet, and bitter. The bitter flavor is lacking in our diet today and is what our liver needs at this time. It cools and clears the stagnation that was caused by the heavier winter foods. Oh and one more … it is also aphrodisiac! So yes! … you can make it for your date dinner, too!

This soup works great in the spring. The burdock’s earthy, heavier flavor pairs nicely with the carrot’s sweet and light flavor. In addition to bitter flavor, the liver also needs the sour flavor that it gets from this sour dish as well. This soup is a big favorite in our family, yes even the kids like it. Perhaps it is because of its interesting, well balanced flavors. In fact, it has all five flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and pungent!

Ingredients

  • 1 qt (or more to well cover the vegetables) of home-made stock (vegetable or pork, beef, chicken, fish). For the meat stock recipe, please refer to my Stuffed Cabbage recipe.
  • 1 cup of shredded burdock root (peeled and shredded through the largest holes of your grader) – if you don’t have it in your backyard, it is available at farmers’ markets, co-ops or also from Harmony Valley in Veroqua, WI.
  • 2 cup of shredded carrot (peeled and shredded)
  • 2 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp of minced ginger
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms (like morelle, shitake)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 4 Tbsp of water
  • 4 Tbsp of rice or white vinegar
  • 2 lightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • scallions
  • soy sauce
  • hard boiled eggs
  • hot red pepper or sriracha sauce (optional)

Recipe

  1. Bring stock to a boil.
  2. Add carrots, Burdock roots, mushrooms, the crushed garlic and ginger. After it boils, turn it down to low medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar and the cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring it becomes thick for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir egg yolk in gently. Add salt and hot red pepper (optional).
  5. Serve in a deep bowl. Garnish with scallions and add soy sauce to taste.
  6. You can add hard boiled eggs too. Bring some water in a pot to a boil and add the eggs at room temperature. Boil them for 7 and a half minutes. Take them out and put them into cold water. Peel and serv. If the eggs are cold, straight out of the fridge then the cooking time is 8 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sources: