Winter season in Singapore? How unlikely but its happening right now. Siingapore located right on the equator is facing winter like temperatures...a cool 23 deg C ! Its so unusual for a country in the tropics which faces average temperatures of 33-34 deg C. Singapore and the surrounding regions are in the Northeast monsoon period which sets around mid Nov and lasts till March which brings in all the rains and winds at this time of the year.
This cool climate has seen restaurants selling soups a higher patronage. Even at home, we are all craving for hot soups to warm our insides. Just the other day, my older daughter craved for tomato soup and not being a fan of the Campbell version which is laden with preservatives and tastes so artificial, she ventured into the kitchen to make her own home made version. It was fortunate we had in stock all the ingredients she needed.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 tbsps EVOO
4 shallots, sliced thin
800 gm canned tomatoes
1 cup water
1 tsp dried oregana
Salt and chilli flakes
2 large basil leaves, chopped fine
A swirl of cashew cream (see tip below)
1) Heat a saucepan and add in the olive oil. Fry the shallots for 3-5 mins.
2) Now, add in the canned tomatoes and 1 cup water.
3) Now add in the dried oregano, salt and chilli flakes and let it come to a boil. Reduce the fire and simmer for 5 minutes.
4) Add in the basil leaves, simmer for 5 more minutes.
5) Blend the mix to a thick soupy tomato mix.
6) Garnish with a dash of pepper, more basil leaves and a swirl of cashew cream. Cashew cream can be made by soaking a handful of raw cashew nuts in hot water for 15 mins. Then blend to form a thick vegan cream.
(Recipe No : 225)
Now that autumn is giving way to cold wintery days, this Chinese Vegetable soup will come in handy. Yes, it can be whipped up in 15 mins if you have all the ingredients ready. Quick and easy! Vegan and gluten free, this soup is pretty versatile too in that you can just throw in any vegetables you have in your fridge. Serve it with a small serving of brown rice or even quinoa and you have a protein-packed (tofu, peanuts) belly-filling meal. This is quite a straighforward recipe which doesn't require step by step photos.
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side soup or 2 as a main meal)
1. Heat a medium sized saucepot and fry the pounded ginger.
2) Add in the mushroom powder and sambal oelek.
3) Now, pour in 3 cups of water and add the hardier vegetables like zucchini, snow peas and capsicum first. Let the soup boil then reduce fire and let it simmer for 5 mins.
4) After 5 mins, add in the cherry tomatoes, shimeji mushrooms and peanuts. Boil again for another 5 mins.
5) Lastly add in the silken tofu and stir. Cook for another 2-3mins on low heat.
6) Add the corn flour mix and let the soup thicken. This will happen instantly.
7) Serve warm garnished with sesame seeds and coriander leaves.
'Revihosoupa' or 'Revithia' is a traditional Greek vegan soup that has origins, well from Greece. Usually served during cold wintery evenings to warm our soul and body. With winter fast approaching in other parts of the world and Singapore having wet I-don't- want-to-step-out rainy evenings, this soup could not have been introduced at a better time.
Traditionally, this soup is made using dried chickpeas soaked overnight and boiled the next day in vegetable stock. This process takes a little longer but it will definitely taste better. So go for it if you have the time on hand. Canned chickpeas make a suitable substitute if you are pressed for time. This recipe requires very few ingredients and most of them will be readily available in your kitchen. I have not used any potato but you could add it (cubed) as well to further thicken the soup.
It serves as a wholesome meal on its own with sufficient protein and because its thick and creamy, it rests quite snugly in our belly soothing us into deep hibernating sleep. Serve with a couple of crusty bread on the sides. You may need some chilli flakes for heat, if you are an Asian!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 tbps olive oil
1 medium onion (yellow or red), chopped finely
1-2 sprigs thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 litre veg broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cans of chickpeas (400gm each)
Salt & Pepper
Extra Olive oil, sprig of thyme for garnish
1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, and fry the bay leaf and thyme leaves. This will be followed by the chopped onion.
2) Add the veg stock and season with salt & freshly ground pepper. Also add the 1 tbsp lemon juice at this point and let it come to a boil.
3) Add the drained canned chickpeas and simmer for 10 mins.
4) Take half the soup, blend it to a smooth batter and pour it back into the pot where the other half is still simmering.
5) Serve hot with a swirl of olive oil, extra ground pepper, chilli flakes (if using) and thyme leaves for garnish.
Butternut squash is a hard winter squash that grows on a vine. It is sometimes referred to as the butternut pumpkin or gramma in Australia and New Zealand. It has a sweet nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin and it becomes increasingly sweeter and richer as it ages.. Butternut squash is a good source of fiber, manganese, magnesium, potassium and Vits A,C and E.
Chickpeas sauted and seasoned with lime juice, salt and pepper added a different dimension to this rather plain Butternut Squash soup. I tried coconut oil instead of the usual EVOO I use in most of my western/italian/mediterranean dishes. Coconut Oil is so under rated, don't you think? Not many of us know that coconut oil is made up of nearly 50% lauric acid which is known to help speed up metabolism, to burn belly fat and improve cellular function. I met the husband of my friend Sherin last night who advised me to take a tbsp of coconut oil twice a day on an empty stomach to help with any inflammation in your digestive system. Key is to look for virgin coconut oil so as to ensure it is not adulterated.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
3 tbsp coconut oil (2 tbsp for the squash soup and 1 tbsp for the chickpeas)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
1 qt vegetable broth
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 can chickpeas
2 tbsp lime juice
Salt & pepper
1) Heat a saucepan and warm up 2 tbsp coconut oil. Fry the diced yellow onions and minced garlic.
2) Add in all the spice powders and salt and saute further.
3) This will be followed by the butternut squash and veg stock. Cover and let it cook for 5-10 mins.
4) In the meantime, saute the chickpeas in another tbsp of coconut oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This will give a peppery tangy taste to the chickpeas. After 2-3 mins on medium heat, set aside.
5) After 10 mins, the squash would have softened.
6) Blend this mix and pour it back into the pot. Check and adjust for seasoning.
7) When serving, scoop out the butternut squash soup in to a soup bowl and place chickpeas in the center. Add a sprig of coriander leaves for garnish and finish up with a swirl of coconut oil.
Meatless Minestrone is one of my favourite soups. Packed with vegetables, pasta and beans, it is wholesome goodness in a bowl. And it is so easy to prepare, like most soups.
I frequent The Soup Spoon a chain of eatery here in Singapore. It has a range of delicious soups which can be devoured with salads, wraps and sandwiches. For the longest time, I used to indulge in mostly their Mushroom Stroganoff - a chunky thick creamy mushroom soup served in a a bread bowl. Yearning for a change, my girls and I tried their Meatless Minestrone and then we wondered why didn't we try this before? It was so tangy and so full of goodness. Because it was quite thick in its tomato base, it quickly filled our hungry tummies.
I attempted to recreate their Meatless Minestrone last week. It was warmly welcomed at home. Try it on a cold rainy evening...you'll go to sleep, your tummy filled with warm nourishing soup under your equally warm blanket. With a smile, for sure! What a simple but perfect way to end an evening ...
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
2 cups of small shell pasta, boiled till al dente
4 tbsp EVOO
1 yellow onion, diced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tin of diced tomatoes, blended till smooth
1 cup of cubed carrot
1 cup of cubed zucchini
1 cup of cubed capsicum, any colour
1 cup of sliced celery
1 cup of sliced leek
5 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 tin of either kidney or cannelloni beans, drained
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.