Best vegetable soups have become one of my most popular soup recipes and for good reason!
It’s healthy, it’s comforting and 1,000 times better than what you’ll get in a can! Now read details…
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“To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist- the problem is entirely the same in both cases. To know how much oil one must mix with one’s vinegar”
The vegetable is an important part of what salads are all about.
Starting with a nutrient-rich bok choy or lettuce, add pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds to bring some vital nutrients into the salad.
From there you can add in a selection of leafy greens, of leafy greens, stalks, root vegetables or other vegetables.
The sky’s the limit you can also add cooked meat mixer cottage cheese processed cheese nuts.
The salad is extremely helpful in contributing to protein, fiber, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids to the meal.
The Salad stand after a very long absence had been reintroduced in the Club with a twist now it is served from a portable service station for the greater convenience of the sensitive dine
- Fluff the cottage cheese, with a fork, set aside.
- Remove the outer leaves of the iceberg and discard it. Shred the lettuce into thin slices
- Place the lettuce on a serving dish.
- In a mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients except for the cottage cheese and blend well.
- Pour this mixture over the lettuce shreds (#3), and arrange the cottage cheese (#1) on top.
The most popular salad is the Garden Salad made with fresh chopped tomatoes cucumbers lettuce white onions and carrots dressed with a Vinaigrette made with: 3 Tbs Oil + 1 Tbs Vinegar + tsp Salt + tsp Pepper.
The Deshi Salat (which omits the vinegar and replaces pepper with green chilies) as a `Side Dish’ as we know it today, and which has become an indispensable part of our Club meals was first introduced by the British.
- Heat 5 Tbs oil in a saucepan: garlic bread cubes saute until golden on all sides. Strain out the cubes drain on paper towels. Discard garlic.
- Now make the dressing; in a small bowl whisk: lemon juice + 5 Tbs oil + salt + pepper.
- In a salad bowl combine: lettuce + spinach/lal sak + tomato + bread cubes (#1) + eggs + cheese.
- Pour the dressing (#2) over this combine and toss to blend everything properly.
A very popular Club dish served in almost all the Club Buffets,
it is both easy to make and takes a headache off the Chef by having another undemanding dish to cover the buffer table with and made effortlessly by a demi-chef.
- Mix everything and chill before serving.
“ It takes four men to dress a salad: a wise man for the salt, a madman for the pepper, a miser for the vinegar, and a spendthrift for the oil.”
- Peel the cucumbers and slice into halves. Using a teaspoon scoop out the seeds. Slice the halves into thin slices.
- Sprinkle the cucumbers with 2 Tbs salt. Arrange them in a colander and let macerate for an hour.
- Drain the cucumber and combine with the rest of the ingredients, toss and serve.
It literally became the sine qua non-accompaniment to every dish of roast meat and cold cuts served on the Club table.
Alas, it is no more.“The beet is the most intense of vegetables.
The radish, admittedly, is more feverish the fire of the radish is a cold fire the fire of discontent, not of passion.
Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet their nuns through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious”.
- Boil the beetroot in plenty of water until tender. Drain peel and slice them into 0.5 cm thick rounds Keep aside.
- Place the mint in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave to soak for 3- mins.
- After 3 minutes drain the leaves and chop them into small pieces. Keep aside.
- In another bowl combine the following: vinegar + sugar + salt + pepper. Mix up.
- Drop in the beetroot rings (#1) into this spiced liquid.
- Cover this bowl with cling film and chill for 3 hours.
- Pick out the beet-rounds from the spiced liquid, shake off the extra moisture and arrange them on a shallow serving dish.
- Sprinkle beet-rounds with the chopped mint (#2) and serve cold.
This prawn salad is a meal by itself of a wonderful complement to a larger meal as a side dish.
Make sure your prawn is the freshest possible.
If you are buying prawn frozen it to buy those that are still frozen.
Prawns once thawed have a very short shelf life and will not be nearly as flavourful.
Presently the Shrimp Salad served in the Club Dining Room the Guest House Restaurant is boiled shrimp/prawns doused in Thousand Island Dressing from a commercial bottle. This salad will win your heart.
- Boil the prawn in salted water, take them out and sell them. Pat dry with a paper towel, excess fluid will dilute the flavor of the salad. Place prawns in a mixing bowl.
- Cut amaranth into 3 pieces, discarding bottom part and leaves. Boil them in the same water you cooked the prawns. Cook amaranth for about 5 to 7- mins, and drain and make sure excess water is soaked off with paper towels.
- Cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds and squeeze out surplus fluid. Cut into 1 cm pieces, add to the mixing bowl.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk the following: lemon + mustard oil + mustard paste + honey + garlic + salt + red chili powder Pour this dressing mostly into the 1st mixing bowl.
- Toss all the ingredients and allow Prawn salad to marinate refrigerated for at least 15 minutes.
- Discard outer leaves of bok choy, rinse, dry and shred into broad strips.
- Serve chilled shrimp mixture (#5) on a bed made of bok choy strips and top with grated cheese.
- Season chicken with 1 tsp salt + pepper. Place them on a glass plate and microwave for 5-mins on high, and another 5-mins on medium power.
- Take out and when cool enough to touch, remove and discard skin, and cut meat into bite-size pieces. Place the pieces in a mixing bowl.
- While chicken is cooking place the taro leaves in Salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse and chop leaves into thin shreds. Squeeze excess water from leaves, and put them in the mixing bowl.
- Thinly slice bok choy, and then shred the carrot. Carrot easily shreds in the food process son with a shredding blade and deposit the bok choy and carrot shreds into the mixing bowl.
- Chop cilantro and spring onions; add to sliced bok choy and carrot, in the mixing bowl.
- Whisk the following: oil + soy sauce + malt vinegar + honey + red pepper flakes + 1 tsp salt.
- Toss the vegetable and chicken in the mixing bowl- with this spice dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds just before serving.
NOTE: Chicken breasts can easily dry out during cooking so leave the skin on until cooked.
By leaving the skin on while baking helps to keep the breast moist flavourful.
How to Use the Easy Vegetable Soups
Mulligatawny soup -1
Mulligatawny soup or Pepper water was born in Madras.
A broth or soup eaten on it’s not poured over or mixed with rice is something not only novel for the local cooks but quite bewildering.
Nothing of the sort is eaten in the subcontinent,
so when the local cooks were asked to prepare soup the closest they could come to was their rasam (broth) made from black pepper, tamarind,
and water, which in Tamil is called Molo tunny/milage Sunni (pepper water).
In Tamil Nadu, the rasam was and still is prescribed for fever dyspepsia cholera, and hemorrhoids;
it is also served poured over rice as a digestive.
British officers posted all over the subcontinent picked up their favorite recipes and transported them to their next place of posting.
So it is not surprising to find a South Indian dish in Dhaka and vice versa.
- Place the following in a pressure cooker pot: beef + 8 cups of water + curry leaves + 2 onions chopped. Seal the pot with its lid.
- Pressure cook till meat is tender (5 whistles) and then strain the stock into a vessel. There should be at least 8 cups of stock.
- Heat oil in a large pot and then add in a succession the following: mustard seeds 1 chopped onion curry leaves. Saute till onions turn brown.
- Next toss in: cumin powder + coriander powder + chilli powder + ginger paste + garlic paste. Fry till the spices release their aroma.
- Pour in the stock (#2) + tamarind + salt. Mix up. Cover with a lid and simmer on slow heat for about 30-mins.
- Strain the preparation before serving.
Mulligatawny soup -2
“ Good soup is to the meal, what he hostess’s smile of welcome is to the party. A prelude to the goodness to come”
The forerunner of the new hybrid cuisine which the British developed in Bangladesh started with the advent of the Mulligatawny Soup from Madras.
To bring about some variation to the Mulligatawny / Pepper Water (solo tunnies), some inventive Mogh cook added some cooked rice, vegetables and chopped meat to it and created a new dish now popular all over the world as the representative `soup’ of British India.
This is the soup you get when you order Mulligatawny Soup.
- Bring the oil to high heat in a pressure cooker. Toss in the onion + curry leaves, saute Stirring frequently until onion turns golden.
- Stir in: ginger + garlic + Kashmiri / Paprika chilli powder + red chilli powder + cumin powder + coriander powder + black pepper powder + turmeric powder. Saute stirring all the time until the oil separates.
- Chuck in the mutton coconut milk + water tomato + lime juice + salt. Seal the pot with its lid and pressure cook until 4 whistles.
- While the meat is cooking heat a griddle (tawa) and roast the lentil till the change of color. Transfer to a food processor and grind to a smooth paste with sufficient water.
- Strain the lentil paste through a metal strainer to rid it of rough particles if any.
- Pour the strained lentil into the pressure cooker. Seal with the lid and cook for an additional 10-mins.
- To serve place 2 Tbs cooked rice in a soup bowl. Hold and gently pour in the soup over the back of a tablespoon. The spoon will help to break the speed of the falling soup and not disturb the rice.
Mulligatawny soup -3
A modified version of the classic Mulligatawny Soup;
made mild with the addition of milk which also acts as an emulsifier and integrates the lentils with the stock and therefore does not let them sink to the bottom of the soup dish as it so irritatingly does in the classic Mulligatawny Soup.
- In a deep pan combine the stock with red lentil + zest + lemongrass. Bring stock to a boil and lower the flame to its lowest setting.
- In a separate deep pan melt the butter over a medium flame. As the butter melts gradually drizzle in the flour, stirring all the time. Cook for a minute.
- Pour in the milk in a slow and steady stream, mixing it in with the bubbling flour.
- Season the milk with pepper and salt.
- Pour in the hot stock passed through a sieve, mix up and lead it to a boil.
- To serve: place a slice of lemon in an individual soup dish and ladle in enough soup. Float a spray of cilantro on top.
Mulligatawny soup -4
Another version of the classic Mulligatawny Soup;
made with yogurt and split chickpeas no stock is required for this soup a rather pure vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup.
- Roast the chickpea on a hot griddle/tawa until they start forming brown edges.
- Transfer chickpea to a mortar and pound them to a fine powder.
- In a deep pan combine the following: water + yoghurt + powdered chickpea (#2) + garlic + ginger + red chilli + salt + sugar. Whisk hard to merge the ingredients.
- Set pan over a medium flame and bring to a boil, lower the flame and simmer for an hour.
- Heat the ghee to smoking point in a saucepan; toss in the mustard seeds and as soon as they stop spluttering pour et al over the simmering yogurt mixture (#4), mix up and serve hot.
“ A first-rate soup is more creative than a second – rate painting.”
The tomato soup more often than not is made from canned tomato juices and is therefore available all year round; became a Club favorite both with the chef and the dinner menu ideas as soon as the canned juice of tomatoes was available in British Bengal.
- Mix & place everything in a pot. Simmer over a moderate flame for 1 hour.
- Strain the broth through a metal sieve, filter out and discard any solid matter.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Tomato Cream Soup
This soup is a twist on the cream type of soups carefully customized to transform the classical Tomato soup, not with milk with coconut cream.
The classical cream soup follows.
- In a mixing bowl combine the following: stock + tomato puree + rice flour + coconut milk + red chilli + salt + sugar + pepper. Whisk to blend properly.
- Heat the ghee in a deep pan; when smoking hot toss in the cumin, sauté undisturbed for a moment.
- Pour in the stock mixture, bring it to a boil and cook for 10-mins.
- Strain the soup and serve hot.
Cream of Cauliflower Soup
The term `Cream’ applied to any soup means that the broth has been enriched with reduced milk or single cream to give it extra sumptuousness.
Thus a Tomato Cream Soup will have milk instead of meat/vegetable stock in the broth.
This is the basic `Cream’ recipe the process of which can be used to make soup with potato, Broccoli, Turnip, Kohlrabi, Data, Peas, and Tomatoes among others,
The first ‘Cream’ soup served in the dining room of the Club was most probably the Cream of Potato Soup;
somehow the idea of a potato soup did not appeal to the post-independence member,
and presently Tomato Cream Soup is the most popular one.
- Dissolve the stock cubes in the water.
- Place the following in a pan: stock (#1) + onion + celery + cauliflower. Lead to a simmer and cook for 30mins.
- Transfer cauliflower et al to a food processor. Mill to puree the ingredients.
- Now make the roux. Heat the butter in a saucepan, When the butter starts sizzling- drizzle in the flour in a trickle, stirring vigorously. Cook till the sauce starts getting tanned
- Pour in the puree (#3) and lead it to a boil.
- Pure in the milk, bring it back to boil. Reduce the flame to its lowest setting. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and immediately take the pan off the flame and season with pepper. Serve hot.
NOTE: Stock cubes usually come salted in case they are not or if you are using home-made stock use 4 tsp salt.
Chicken & Corn Soup
Chicken corn soup is considered by the parents to be the epitome of well-being food for children, as the Club variety contains: eggs, chicken stock, chicken meat, and corn.
In addition, it is, to the delight of the doting mother, well likes by the young ones.
- In a large pan place the flowing: chicken +stock+ corn. Cook till chicken is tender.
- Make a slurry with cornflour + cold water.
- Stir in the slurry into the cooking stock (#1). Cook till soup gets thick.
- Whisk the egg and pour it in a slow drizzle, and while doing so furiously stir the cooking broth with a ladle.
- Finally add the following: sherry + salt + sesame oil + spring onions.
There are certain European dishes that have become our own, one such being the French Toast, the spicy version (with chopped green chilies, onions sans the sugar) of which is known as Bombay Toast and is more popular in the Club Bar as finger food.
There is nothing like a French toast to help someone feel special though it is so easy to prepare.
The basic ingredients are always handy;
don’t limit yourself to stale white bread and use French Italian or Raisin bread’s especially if it has seeds on top of it.
It is easy to dress up French toast; take two pieces of toast, place preserved fruits of jam in-between close-up and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and you have an extra-special dish.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the following: eggs + milk + sugar + salt.
- Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture coating both sides.
- Heat the butter in a shallow fry pan. Slide in the soaked slices in batches.
- Cook each side for a minute or two until golden brown.
A popular dish in the Club bar in which green chilies also accompany the onions.
At home, this dish can be served as a snack for a cocktail party or as a side dish for roast meats or grilled fish.
- Slice the onions into ½ cm rings.
- In mixing bowl whisk: egg whites + oil + flour + red chilli + salt. Set aside.
- Mix bread crumbs and cornflour in a flat dish. Set aside.
- Dip onions in the egg mixture and then dredge them in the bread crumb blend (#3).
- Heat the oil for deep frying.
- Slide in the prepared onion rings (#4) and cook until golden brown.
NOTE: You can replace onions with cauliflower, broccoli, potato slices, green chili or capsicum – just as our Club cooks do.
Roasted Garlic Spread
A flavourful and tasty spread to enhance the simple milk bread slices served on the side.
Milk bread can be too bland for our South Asian taste; just spread some roasted garlic on the bread slice to get a bona fide our-or-the-world taste.
- Slice the roots off the garlic bulbs to reveal the cloves.
- Drizzle with olive oil and wrap garlic bulbs in aluminum foil. Bake in a 200 C oven for 45-mins.
- Cool and remove garlic cloves from their skins by gently squeezing them between your fingers.
- Mash the garlic core with a fork and combine it with the remaining ingredients, mixing well and adding enough milk to achieve a spreadable consistency.
- Spoon the pasta into a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with raw vegetables, toast, or roti.
Many different kinds of battered vegetables or Pakoras are served in the Club. This kind of deep-fried dishes started their career on the Club menu as “Battered Vegetable”.
One thing is for sure; It was adopted from the local pakora concept with the addition of the Baking Powder or the Khabar soda to make it more light and `airy’ to conform to the Belati taste.
Though this dish is a popular Club bar item at home it can be served as a snack or as a side dish with any meat or fish dish.
- Slice the aubergine as thinly as possible. Sprinkle with 1 Tbs salt and let them macerate in a colander for an hour.
- In a mixing bowl; blend the following; chickpea flour + ½ tsp salt + ginger + garlic + red chilli + carom + baking powder.
- Pout in enough water to make a thin batter.
- Drain the aubergine pieces and wipe them with a tea towel.
- Drop the pieces into the mixing bowl (#3) and coat them evenly with the batter.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying. Slice in the coated aubergine pieces into the hot oil and fry them till the coating is golden brown.
- Using a slotted spoon; strain out the pieces. Drain on absorbent, paper for further soaking off the surface oil Serve hot.
Broccoli Au gratin
Menus Of all ex-British Clubs will have a Meuniere, Smoked, Fricassee. Cold Cuts, Cutlets, Au Gratin, A la Florentine, Custard, and Pudding dishes.
All these dishes have changed with the times and are row well adapted to Bengali taste.
Some of them have traveled to the local restaurants as novelty foods-Cutlets and Pudding leading the way in the next few recipes I’ll chat about dishes with high sounding names.
It is a common misconception that au gratin dishes must contain cheese; a traditional French gratin is a move often made with a Bechamel sauce.
In French, au gratin refers to anything that is grated and put on top of a dish in British Bengal it always referred to dishes with a cheese sauce.
Presently Gratin is a type of casserole dish that is covered with cheese or buttered breadcrumbs and baked or broiled.
Till recently Cauliflower Au gratin was a popular party dish in the Club served as an accompaniment to Roast Beef.
Perhaps the demise of the old oven in the Club kitchen and the overpowering influence of the Bangla dishes are pushing out the foreigners.
- Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for 12-15 mins, until tender. Drain the potatoes thoroughly. Keep aside.
- Cook the broccoli in lightly salted, boiling water for 5-mins. Drain the broccoli though-roughly. Keep aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour and mustard powder.
- Cook stirring for 30 seconds.
- Gradually add the milk in a trickle. Cook, stirring until you have a smooth thickened sauce.
- Reduce the flame to very low and stir in the cheese into the sauce.
- Simmer very gently for 5-mins stirring from time to time.
- Season sauce with salt & pepper.
- Chuck the potatoes and broccoli into the cheese sauce, and mix up. Take the saucepan off the flame.
- Spoon the mixture into an oven-to-table type flameproof dish.
- Combine breadcrumbs + oil. Scatter this over the top.
- Grill under medium heat for 3 to 5-mins until the topping is golden and crispy.
- Place the dish on the dining table and let guests help themselves.
Excellent as a snack or as a garnish; I really love deviled eggs too much that I need everyone to love them.
Start enjoying normal foods such as roasted peanuts and deviled eggs with your drinks.
The deviled egg is probably an excellent finish to a night of over-indulgence in alcohol. The extra fat and protein might prevent a nasty hangover.
- Cut peeled eggs lengthwise and scoop out the yolk. Mix yolks with the above ingredients and blend well.
- Fill whites with mixture, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
Mushroom a la Florentine
From the Italian term all Fiorentina, the French name a la Florentine (in the style of Florence) has been coined to refer to dishes (usually of eggs or fish) that are presented on a bed of spinach and topped with.
Mornay Sauce (see `Fish Moley’ recipe below). A Florentine dish is sometimes sprinkled with cheese and browned lightly in the oven.
In the Club kitchen, a Florentine is a baked dish – prepared, cooked, or served with spinach and always topped with cheese.
If you are short of time you may replace the white sauce with bottled Mayonnaise but the taste will be more `oily;
- Clean and de-stem the spinach.
- Grease a large baking dish with butter.
- Layer the dish in the following order: onions -1/2 cup white sauce-spinach-fish (dark side down).
- Squeeze juice of a lemon over the fillet.
- Lay the mushroom on top of the fish fillet.
- In a mixing bowl combine: 1 cup white sauce + cheese + Worcestershire sauce.
- Spread this mixture over the mushrooms.
- Place the baking dish in a preheated oven. Bake at 190 C (350 F) for 20 to 25-mins. The top should be golden brown.