Weekday Vegetarian: Masala Potato Soup

Weekday Vegetarian: Masal Potato SoupPhoto: Kelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

As many of you know, there are changes afoot at TreeHugger. I wrote my first post for TreeHugger exactly seven years ago, and it turned out to be the only post I ever did on TH that included meat. This is my last post for TreeHugger and I'd like to thank everyone who has read my work and tried the recipes over the years.

I haven't been cooking much for the past month. Of course, I didn't have to cook at all during my fabulous trip to Italy, but then shortly after I arrived back home I was struck with a case of vertigo. Sharp knives and dizziness do not make for good companions, so there was a bit of ordering in until I could reasonably stand in the kitchen without feeling like I was on a tilt-a-whirl.

If I had been well, I would have been doing a lot of cooking from a new cookbook I received called Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero. Ms. Romero will be familiar to you readers who have used her book Viva Vegan! and Veganomicon which she co-wrote with Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This book has a wider world view of food and is loaded with recipes I want to try. I complained a bit about the fussiness of some of the recipes in Viva Vegan!, but the recipes all worked and everything I made was really good. The recipes in this new cookbook also have quite lengthy ingredient lists, but I'm going to trust once again that the food will be delicious. The Masala Potato Soup I made for this post certainly was!

Masala Potato Soup

2 lbs waxy yellow potatoes
4 tsp virgin coconut or peanut oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 inch piece peeled ginger, minced
3 green Thai chilies or hot green chili peppers, finely minced
1/2 cup uncooked split pigeon peas, yellow split peas or mung dahl
1 large onion, peeled and diced
8 to 10 fresh curry leaves, rolled and sliced into slivers
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
6 cups water
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tsp lime juice
1 tsp garam masal
1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1. Peel and remove any blemishes from the potatoes. Cut into 1 inch thick chunks and keep covered in cold water until ready to use.

2. In a large soup pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir in mustard seeds, and fry until seeds just begin to pop. Stir in ginger, chilies, split peas and onion and fry, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in curry leaves, curry powder, and turmeric and fry for 1 minute, then pour in the water. Increase heat to high and bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Drain the potato chunks, add to the broth, and increase the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil for 1 minute, decrease heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and dahl is tender or mushy.

4. Reduce heat to low and carefully use a potato masher to mash the potatoes into a creamy, chunky soup. Season with salt and lime juice, stir and taste; adjust with additional salt and lime juice as desired. Turn off the heat and stir in the garam masala and chopped cilantro, then serve.

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