Vegetable curry soup: creamy and perfect for your immune system
Time: prep. 10 mins
cook. 30 mins
Yields: 2 portions
The change of seasons is a crucial period in which even the strongest can be vulnerable; because during the transition from hot to cold (but also from cold to hot) the immune system falters and we are at the mercy of various symptoms: exhaustion, anxiety, insomnia, irritability (my husband knows something about it!), or gastric disorders and general malaise.
When I catch the first signs, I “play my trump card”: no, not a box of supplements, but foods carefully selected for their functionality and composition, such as the steaming and creamy vegetable curry soup of which I speak today.
The creaminess is a caress for the throat (perhaps sore), the presence of antioxidants completely rehabilitating, to find the energy of always, and the mix of spices is able to “raise the dead”, acting as a natural doping.
Asians and Africans knew this well; but so did the Europeans, who had expressly assigned Christopher Columbus the task of discovering where pepper and other spices grew… not gold or silver!
This combination of spices which is the base of the recipe is called curry powder/paste: although there is no well defined, traditional formulation, among the ingredients we can list turmeric, coriander, ginger, cinnamon; black pepper, cayenne pepper (or other), fenugreek, curry leaves; by adding nutmeg, cardamom and cloves to the mixture and by removing turmeric, we will get closer to what is known as garam masala: to be added at the end of cooking (while the curry should be put in during cooking); but you are clearly free to experiment and play with the fragrances.
Beyond the garish color and seductive scent, such a mix of spices is a kind of cure-all for seasonal ailments: turmeric for its anti-inflammatory property thanks to the antioxidants it contains; pepper serves as a co-factor to reach the treasure trove of antioxidants of turmeric (read here to know how the mystery works), but even on its own it is just as rich in antioxidants, plus shows excellent anti-inflammatory, as well as antibacterial effects; ginger for its antibacterial property, relieving muscle aches, fighting nausea and controlling diarrhea; cinnamon is used to reduce blood sugar, alleviating liver and pancreas; garlic for its antibiotic effect and certainly for its stimulating taste; Cayenne chili pepper, with the capsaicin present is responsible for the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effect; coriander for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effect, thanks to the rich content of Vitamin A and C, and antioxidants.
The result, however, is far from being a “bitter pill” to swallow. In fact, it’s one of the soups we make frequently in the CHE Food kitchen almost all year round: honestly I’ve never waited to feel sick to enjoy it!
Ingredients for the creamy vegetable curry soup
2 large zucchini (feel free to use squash or broccoli or whatever the season allows)
100 grams of leeks or onions
1 large sweet potato (or normal)
1 large carrot
about 2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 clove of chopped garlic
100 ml of natural yoghurt or kefir; for a milder taste you can opt for cow’s milk or soy milk (or coconut milk: but don’t forget for many it is not a zero km food)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste (do not overdo it, the spices already give an important savoriness)
spices (adjust yourself “by feeling”, if you do not have any of the spices mentioned above, your velouté will only be different, but not less good)
1 tablespoon of curry powder; or the mixture of 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of freshly grated turmeric, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of hot pepper (better if you find cayenne) or sweet to taste, grated black peppercorns to taste, a pinch of cinnamon
1 level tablespoon of butter (or ghee or olive oil or coconut butter or vegan butter)
1 small zucchini
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or a mix of soy sauce and molasses)
First, cut the sweet potato, carrot, leek and zucchini into small squares of roughly the same size; then steam them, or boil them in vegetable stock or plain water for 10-12 minutes (7 minutes in the case of a pressure cooker) in the following manner: first the potatoes, leeks and carrots; after 5 minutes the zucchini; thus we will give the right time to each vegetable to cook, although not enough to obtain a creamy puree, which is why we should use an immersion blender or a vegetable masher.
In case you want to prepare it not for therapeutic purposes, but for taste, you could do a few other things for an even more mind-blowing and smoky flavor: make a fake béchamel sauce as explained for this other soup; or grill the vegetables; or both!
Another idea is to enrich it with grated cheese, such as provolone or any stringy cheese; be aware, however, that the vegetable curry soup prepared in this way will be much more caloric.
If you opt to grill the vegetables, please choose a moment when the oven has already been used to cook something else: sustainability is the key word. When I have to bake my bread 1 or 2 times a week, so as not to waste any watts, I always bake several things, including always a huge pan of veggies: which then becomes a creamy soup, or some side dish for the week, like this one here with tahini.
Consider that regardless of the type of cooking, you can cook the veggies a few days ahead, and make the soup when needed.
As I always stress, to eat well and healthy, you don’t have to be rich or homemaker, you just have to get organized and take action well in advance!
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In the meantime, in a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté over a gentle heat the garlic chopped 10 minutes earlier (read more on why here), along with the rest of the spices to ignite their fragrance even more; but don’t forget that if the fire were not gentle, we would get very little of their therapeutic richness.
Then add the vegetable puree and the cooking water, but not all at once; better to add as needed.
Let it go for 5 minutes, adjusting the density of the creamy vegetable curry soup to your liking; those who desire a greater consistency, can add another potato and/or carrot.
In the last minute pour in the yogurt or coconut milk, stir everything gently and turn off the heat (you can put them also just before serving, your choice).
The garnish I proposed definitely enriches the taste and aesthetics of your vegetable curry soup, but believe me, even without it remains a delicious cream.
To make it, heat oil or butter in a frying pan; first brown the zucchini slices and then put them away; add the carrot dices for a few minutes and set them aside; finally sauté the onion slices with the sesame and let them caramelize with the balsamic vinegar, without burning them. Then, in a bowl, pour a generous portion of velvety vegetable curry soup and garnish with the sauteed vegetables.
It’s a light but filling dish, especially if accompanied by a small bowl of rice or a slice of sourdough spelt bread (you can read the recipe for this wonderful bread here).
Enjoy your soup and good revolution to all