Vegetable barley soup with the taste of Little India
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Fall and winter are about warming and nutrit soups. For me a soup is about the art of slow cooking and the perfect balance of flavor. Every future in the world has soup, from the lager noodle bowls in Asia to the elegant vichyssoise and minestrone in Europe to gumbo in New Orleans. In Persian, the word for soup is "ash" which is also the word for chef, signifying the importance of a wonderful soup in their culture. This soup is a beautiful combination of French cooking technique and a burst of Indian flavors. This is a hearty soup, I served it with a homemade bread and some cheese. Slowly simmering this soup extracts all the flavor from the vegetables and allows the spices to shine. If you find the soup spicy, you can drizzle some yogurt on top to calm your palate. ‘this book from Dorie Greenspan is the perfect French cookbook. Filled with traditional recipes, as well as. Some gems like this one, this book is one that I work with often. For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 to 3 onions, chopped into small dice
3 big carrots, trimmed, peeled, chopped into small dice
1 parsnip, peeled, chopped into small dice
3 cloves garlic, split, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
A pinch teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Red pepper flakes, optional
6 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 lime, halved
Warm the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, parsnip, garlic and ginger; turn them around in the pot until they glisten with oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over low heat, about 5 minutes. Stir in the turmeric, garam masala and red pepper flakes, if you're using them. Cover and continue to cook very gently, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft but not colored, about 15 minutes.
Add the broth or water; heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the barley. Reduce the heat. (The broth should just simmer). Cover and cook until the barley is tender and considerably puffed. (The kernels will blossom and open a little.) Depending on the type of barley you have, this can take from 15 to 40 minutes. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or spices as needed. Ladle the soup into bowls; finish with a drizzle of olive oil and lime juice if you like.
As this soup sits, it tends to thicken. Dilute with water to a consistency of your choice. Served in bowls with bread and cheese on the side.