Thursday, November 02, 2006

Roasted Curried Sweet Potato Squash Chickpea Apple Coconut Procrastination Soup

Get your sweet potatoes out of the fridge. Dump the rotten one in the compost and cut off the gross soft top of the other. Wash, wrap in tin foil and place in a tray along with unwrapped and seeded quarters of a squash. Put the tray in an oven set to 300 degrees Farenheit. Be sure to forget the other squash lying hidden on the table in its grocery bag. Play with the cat. Read for forty-five minutes to an hour until the sweet scent of roasting potato and squash rouses you out of your room and draws you back to the kitchen.

Chop up one medium onion and mince up a couple cloves of garlic and half an inch of ginger. (Mince the garlic and ginger very finely unless you have a blender and the motivation to blend it all up into a paste once you've fried them for a while). Let everything soften for a while in a hunk of butter on low to medium heat. Add spices that do well with frying--crushed cumin and coriander seeds, a bay leaf, some mustard seeds right at the very end (if you add them too soon they pop right out of the pot haphazardly all over the kitchen). Cook it for a while then blend it all with some water (don't blend the bay leaf!!!) and then dump it back in the pot. It should be an interesting brown color and grainy texture. Stir it around.

Take the steaming bowl of chickpeas (about one cup) and water out of the microwave where its been cooking on high for about fifteen minutes and add it all to the pot. (Check first if the chickpeas are relatively cooked but watch your fingers). This is a good time to add a couple cups of water (not too much) and one or two veggie broth cubes along with some salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin powder, more mustard seeds, coriander powder if you have it, and finally your roommate's garam masala (or something that looks and smells like garam masala) for that certain je ne sais quoi. Waffle on adding brown sugar and decide according to chance and taste.

Take the tray out of the oven. Peel off strips of hardened skin and leftover seed goop, scoop out chunks of hot flesh from the squash and drop it from smarting fingers into the pot. Extract the softened sweet potato from the thickened layer of potato skin, cut into chunks and drop into the pot of water. These should be meditative tasks. Meditate.

Stir. Stir. Stir. Taste. Add more spices. Contemplate what else you can add to your exciting pot of soup. There should be lots of colors and textures in the pot before you. Watch it change. Encourage the chunks of roasted squash and potato to disintegrate. Add more water. Cut up an apple, scoop it up from the wooden cutting board with the flat edge of your knife and start dropping it in. Realize it would be better peeled and in smaller chunks halfway through and adjust accordingly.

Scoop out spoonfuls of chickpeas and apples, blend them, and return them to the pot. This should have the effect of thickening the soup before its finished cooking, thus increasing the likelihood of burning at the bottom and coarsening the taste. (That's not good).

Slowly add about half a can of coconut milk, a few tablespoons at a time, all the while thinking with some unease about good and bad fats and your family history of heart disease but also anticipating the sweetness of the milk combined with the carbs simmering before you.

Add a few capfuls of vinegar to add some tartness to the soup as you've run out of apple cider. Keep adjusting the spices, mentally calculating for the coconut milk factor, which softens the flavours of the soup.

Stir in a bunch of water then cover the pot and leave it on medium to let everything cook and cook and cook and soften and melt and disintegrate. Stir it once in a while to break up the layer that forms on the bottom and threatens to burn. Burn your hand every single time. Answer the phone with wet hands and immediately start describing the soup.

Make custard with the leftover coconut milk, 2% milk at the edge of its expiry date, green colored Pakistan National Custard Powder (banana flavour) and some defrosted frozen strawberries and bananas.

Clean up. Think of what you will have in your fridge now and the conditions under which you will eat it. Think about protein and if the soup would go with quinoia. Be grateful. Share. Eat.


Anonymous said...

rabea, this sounds ridiculously delicious!!!!

rabfish said...

it's yummy, man

sharmalade said...

this is a fantastic description of how to make soup!!! i love it! i totally have those moments of contemplation with coconut milk poised over the pot...good fat or bad fat, will it soften the spices too much, can i really handle more coconut milk in my diet..

rabfish said...

that's hilarious! Coconut Milk: Yummy, and Bad for You. Think About It.