Wednesday, October 3, 2012

You say gula ärtor, I say gula delade ärtor?

Grocery shopping in another language, hmmmmm....

I know I've spoken about this before, but sometimes there are minor accidents in selection.  Mostly, there are ways around the error.  Sometimes it's hard to know what you've bought exactly and if will work at all.  Yesterday I did my first grocery shop without the car.  I cycled around town, bought from market stalls and health food shops as well as a good local supermarket and piled it into my basket - loved every moment!  Well...apart from the long minutes I spent in front of the legumes shelf, pocket dictionary in hand, trying to figure out what to select.  This is usually my area of expertise and I felt like a newby!  I could have asked someone, everyone here speaks beautiful English, but I was feeling stubborn and wanted to figure it out on my own.

I had a plan to make a Coconut & Lentil Soup, made with red lentils and split yellow peas among other things.  Split yellow took me a while, but eventually I found them.  Gula (yellow) ärtor (peas).  Fantastic.  When I got home and opened the packet I realised I had bought whole yellow peas, not split ones.  I guess the photo on the packet was a giveaway.  Oh.  Dammit.  Hmmm....will it work? Will they ever cook?  Will the skins come off the peas and turn to slimy gunk?  Will I end up wasting all the other lovely ingredients if it doesn't work?

An hour or so later, I was rewarded with the most delicious soup I have had in a while.  It had a dahl like consistency, but could easily be watered down a bit to make it less viscous.  The lentils went to complete mush, but the peas kept their shape and seemed to hold on to their skins too, which made it much more interesting and less like baby food (I'm not a fan of that texture)  The whole peas definitely took a bit longer to cook, maybe 20 minutes extra, but I just added a little more water to stop the soup mix burning and hey presto, perfect result while I did some light housework!  I served a few ladlefuls over some basmati rice and it was a meal in itself.  Recipe below if anyone fancies trying it out!  It will serve 4 hungry people or 6 light lunches.

What you’ll need:
1 cup / 200g yellow split peas (or whole ones for more texture!)
1 cup / 200g red split lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups / 1.6 liters water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter)
8 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup / 45g sultanas
1/3 / 80 ml cup tomato paste
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
2 teaspoons sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
Cooked basmati rice for serving (optional)

  • Put the split peas and lentils into a large saucepan and give them a good rinse - strain off the water and repeat a few times until the water runs clear.
  • Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1/4 of the ginger. 
  • Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft. (Whole peas took about an hour)
    In the meantime, in a small dry frying pan or saucepan over low heat, toast the curry powder until it is fragrant. Be careful not to burn it though, just toast it gently and set aside. 
  • Place the oil/ghee in a small saucepan over a medium heat, add half of the scallions, the remaining ginger, and sultanas. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another few minutes.
  • Add the toasted curry powder to the tomato paste mixture, mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt.  (The smell of this mixture alone nearly sent me to aromatic and
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or so. The texture should thicken up, but you can play around with the consistency if you like by adding more water, a bit at a time. Or simmer longer for a thicker consistency. 
  • Serve with rice or on it's own if you prefer and sprinkle each bowl generously with coriander and the remaining green onions.  I like a bit more spice than Mountain Man, so I added a dollop of harissa to my bowl, feel free to adjust the seasoning/spice as you like.  Enjoy!

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