My mom was a good cook and baker, but soup was rarely part of the menu when I was growing up. Occasionally, we would be served the canned variety for lunch, which probably explains why it took a few years of cooking for myself before I developed a passion for a comforting bowl of homemade soup. I enjoy soup year round, but when the cold temperatures have me in their grip, there's really nothing finer to ward off the winter chills.
This Indian-style creamy pea soup that includes frozen peas in addition to green split peas is quite possibly one of the best pea soups that I have ever eaten. Slightly spicy, earthy, thick and satisfying, I served it up to some friends with some cardamon rice cakes and plump Cheddar Dijon Biscuits. If my dining pals were still hungry after dinner, it wasn't food they were craving.
Green Pea Soup
1 1/2 cups of green split peas
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 hot red or green chilies, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
dash of cayenne
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
5 cups of vegetable stock or water
2 cups of frozen peas
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh mint
yogurt or sour cream (optional)
Soak the split peas in enough water to cover for at least 2 hours. Drain the peas and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, celery and carrot and saute for a few minutes, or until the onion is soft but not brown. Stir in the ground spices, ginger and chilies and stir and fry for a minute. Now add the split peas, tomato and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the frozen peas and mint and cook for another few minutes. Puree the soup with a hand blender or in batches in a food processor or blender. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream if desired.