Potato Soup With Indian Spices
This easy vegetarian soup is surprisingly full flavored. (To make it vegan, substitute cooking oil for the butter and ghee.) If you want it more stewlike, use less water; if you want it brothy, use more. It keeps well and actually tastes even better a day or two after it is made. I like to add a pinch of asafetida (also called hing), which can be found in specialty spice shops or Indian groceries and lends a heady aroma that is especially good with potato dishes. Don’t worry if you don’t have it on hand. More important are the sizzled cumin seeds, mustard seeds and garlic (the tarka) added when the soup is finished, which really give the soup its character. If you find the soup too thick upon reheating, just add a splash of water and adjust the salt as necessary.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2medium onions, diced
- Kosher salt
- 3medium carrots, diced
- 3celery stalks, diced
- 1teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- ¼teaspoon cayenne powder
- ½teaspoon asafetida (optional)
- 2pounds Yukon Gold or other yellow-fleshed potato, in 1-inch chunks
- ¼cup roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- 2tablespoons ghee or neutral oil
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- 1teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1small green chile, chopped (optional)
Step 1Put butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and a little salt and cook, stirring, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes more.
Step 2Add turmeric, ginger, cayenne and asafetida, if using. Stir to coat and cook for another minute or so. Add potato chunks and 6 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Add a healthy pinch of salt and cook until potatoes are soft when pierced with a skewer, about 15 minutes. Taste broth and adjust salt and heat as necessary: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne should suffice to make the soup fairly spicy, but add a touch more if you like.
Step 3Use a potato masher to crush some of the potatoes, then continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so. This will help to thicken the soup slightly and give it more body. Turn off the heat.
Step 4Make the tarka: Heat ghee in a small skillet over medium, but don’t let it get too hot. Lower heat and add garlic and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, until garlic is barely colored and cumin seeds have begun to brown, a minute or so. Add mustard seeds and green chile, if using. When mustard seeds begin to pop, after another minute, add the tarka to the soup and stir in.
Step 5Ladle soup into low bowls, garnish with cilantro and serve. Pass lime wedges at the table.