Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sweet potato soup

I have been on a rampage to try out new soup recipes. This one was concocted while reading through the The Africa Cookbook. by Jessica Harris. I picked it because unlike so many other cookbooks on Africa, this really does cover the whole continent, not just the northern coast and South Africa. Also it does not consider Egyptian food as a limb of Arabic food. The book was picked up on my trip to Berkeley last year. I got a whole lot of cookbooks along with this from a splendid called Moe's. I wish I could have bought more books; but bearing in mind the narrow ledge of top-heavy luggages versus what a fellow must bring back after a five month sojourn, I desisted. This recipe is evocative of extensive use of sweet potatoes in African cuisine and is simplicity itself. It also uses a widely used Egyptian spice mix, the dukkah. I made a jar of it, and much like the sakura denbu-like fluffed fish from Taiwan, I have been sprinkling it on everything!

For Dukkah (Adapted from The Africa Cookbook)
1 cup almonds, toasted (any other nut would do)
1/2 cup coriander seeds
6 Tablespoons sesame seeds
4 Tablespoons cumin seeds
2 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves, roasted

For soup
300 gms sweet potato, peeled and sliced
50-70 gms mooli/white radish, peeled and sliced
6 spring onions, white part only, sliced
1 clove garlic
3 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon dukkah

For the dukkah, roast all ingredients except the mint. Let cool and then grind to a coarse powder. It must remain as granules. Transfer to a glass jar. Roast the mint leaves in a oven overnight, beforehand (dried will do too). Sprinkle a little on top and seal it. Just transfer a few tablespoons out when you want to use it.
Heat olive oil in a vessel. Saute the spring onions and whole garlic for two minutes. Slice half radish and saute it. Put the chopped sweet potato and stir for another 5 minutes. Add the broth and salt and cook covered for 10 minutes. Uncover, cool and puree to a smooth, runny soup. Taste and season. Transfer to individual bowls and sprinkle dukkah over it just before serving.

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