Let’s start this thing, shall we? I started this project a few weeks late, so I’ll have to make up the missed recipes at some point. Anyway, on to the cooking.
First up were the crispy onions. Now, I wouldn’t really describe myself as a picky eater, but others might. There are many things that I will not eat because I do not consider them to be food. There are other things I will not eat because I think they taste bad or they make me sick. Onions fall into that category. It’s not so much the taste as the texture that I find so repulsive, but I hate onions. But, I’m going to try to follow these recipes somewhat closely, so: onions. I used half of what the recipe called for. I did not, however, use half the amount of oil/butter, which may have lead to the disappointing lack of crispiness in my onions. They did caramelize nicely, though, which somehow made them edible (enjoyable, even) to me.
While I was working on my onions, I made the mistake of thinking I could start the soup while my onions were cooking. Nope. Mise en place is something I really need to work on (along with knife skills), and my onions ended up
burning caramelizing unevenly while I ran around the kitchen trying to get things in the soup pot before the previous additions burned. The poorly chopped onions in the soup did get a little brown, but everything was mostly okay. Once my onions were off the heat, I could properly focus on the soup.
I don’t really measure things. I mean, if I think the ratio of certain ingredients are critical, I will, but normally I don’t bother. I just kind of poured what looked like roughly the right amount of olive oil in the pot, and instead of measuring out the spices, I just dumped in whatever amount I thought would be good. I probably put in way more cumin than called for, and I really don’t remember how much allspice I put in. I had whole berries and just threw some in my mortar and ground them up as quickly as I could and promptly dumped it in the pot. (I was still rushing at this point.) As for garlic and ginger, even though I had a nice little bulb and a pretty little root, I used the jars of minced I had in the fridge. So much easier. The one drawback is trying to figure out how much to scoop out of the jars
with your finger.
I was a little surprised at how flavorful the soup turned out after realizing that I only had 2/3 of the amount of veggie broth I needed. I guess the extra water soaked up the extra spices. After adding in the rice and (washed!!!!!!) lentils, waiting the half hour for them to cook was hard. “Fragrant,” indeed. Once they had cooked and the spinach and mint had joined the party, I decided it needed a little lime juice and was ready to go. (Also, don’t forget to take out the cinnamon stick and bay leaf.)
A little extra lime, some sea salt, and a pretty little pile of onions on top made this soup a definite winner in my book. I licked my bowl clean. And I liked the onions? Basically, this is a really satisfying soup. It tastes great, and is really filling, not to mention healthy and vegetarian. (Vegan if you leave the butter out of the onions!)