Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Thai Chicken and Aubergine Yellow Curry – The Basic Recipe

It’s time for a good old Thai curry! I was just revising the Thai recipes I’ve already posted and was amazed to discovered that I haven’t posted a Thai curry yet! Specially considering that I cook one at least every two weeks if not once a week. Thai curries are so a part of our weekly menu that I guess I didn’t consider making  a post about them until today, when I realised that they are totally worth sharing; not only because their deliciousness but also because they can become  a staple of any household menu : they’re easy and quick to put together, and you can use virtually any protein and vegetable available to turn an ordinary week-day supper in a special one, even cooking it for guests. All you need is to always have coconut milk, a good quality curry paste and Jasmine or Basmati rice in your pantry and let your imagination do the rest of the work!

Of course, you can always make your own curry paste from scratch if you have a good Asian market nearby where to get the right ingredients. This would make the preparation a little more time-consuming, but you can make big quantities in advance to store. However, in terms of practicality, I find that there are really good bought curry pastes that use no artificial additives and preservatives.

Today’s recipe is the basic method I always use to cook Thai curries, feel free to change the curry paste (red, green), the vegetables and the protein source. They can be easily turned into a vegan dish by replacing the fish sauce with soy sauce and the meat with tofu.

Thai curries entered my life almost ten years ago, when I was living in Australia for some months (such a good and dear memory to me!) and my Aussie housemate and good friend used to cook them regularly for supper. I had never tried a Thai curry before at that time, and it was “love at first bite” Besides, Thai restaurants and take away in Australia are sooo good that I also enjoyed  a lot of South-East Asian food when eating out.

Back at home, I made sure to find the ingredients to keep cooking them, a little bit harder to find in Spain, but possible if you look eagerly. In Australia you can find everything in a regular supermarket. The UK is a good place to stock up if you have the chance and of course, it is possible to buy online as well!

Let’s cook now, I hope you like it as much as I do!

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Tom Yum Gai – Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup

Hello foodies of the world! It’s been busy around here but there’s always time to squeeze a good Thai home-made food in. I often cook wonderful Thai curries with coconut milk, but I wanted to try something different that needed to be very easy and quick to put together as well. That’s why Tom Yum came to my mind, it is an aromatic hot and sour soup made with a lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal/ginger, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli base.  There are different variations depending on the protein component: fish, prawn, mixed seafood, pork or chicken (Gai/Kai); which is the one I’m sharing today.

If you cook Thai regularly, you probably already have all the basic ingredients in your kitchen and just have to add any protein source and vegetables of your choice. You can also turn it into a vegetarian dish by adding tofu and into a vegan one by trading the fish sauce for soy sauce.  Tom Yum makes an excellent week day healthy and complete dinner.

Let’s cook!

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Soup à l’ognion gratinée – French Grilled Onion Soup

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After overindulging ourselves a little bit with a tapas night, the morning after Mr. Soup Taster and I went for a bike ride in spite of a miserable weather… On the way back home we found ourselves craving for something light yet comforting and warming: Onion Soup! we said in unison. This was a regular soup in our menu long before I started this blog and we began having insane amounts of soup every week.

A classic soup recipe and I dare say a world’s favourite during winter months. As the tomato soup, I brought this idea home from my trip to Belgium. Onion soups have been historically a humble meal all around Europe, since onion are cheap, easy to cultivate and to preserve, but its origin (specially of the grilled version)  is attributed to France.

There are easy variations to this soup: It is easily adaptable to vegetarian and vegan options and to a lighter plain soup without the grilled bread and cheese on the top and it is delicious all the same! Although it takes some time to prepare it,  it is very easy. Today I’m sharing the full recipe, so you can adjust it to your taste and needs.

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Super Quick Wonton Soup

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A quick Sunday post: The Chinese Year of the Horse has just began, and what a better way to celebrate the Lunar New Year than a Chinese dish? By the way,  I am a horse (1978) on the Chinese Zodiac, so this should be my year!

Besides, I was just thinking, what to do on a lazy winter Sunday evening when you have already had a great roast for lunch and then some delicious tea & cake in the afternoon? Some take away? no need: I came up with a delicious wonton soup extra easy to prepare! This morning I’ve been to my local Asian grocery store and bought some frozen dumplings that I used in order to make this version so quick and easy, let’s go with it!

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Irish Leek and Potato Soup

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Back in 2008 I went on holidays by myself  and I couldn’t have made a better choice for a solo trip than Dublin; besides being a very pleasant city, people is so friendly that I hardly ever had dinner on my own, I always ended up chatting with someone at the pubs or restaurants.  And locals might have had a contagious spirit, because visitors behaved extremely friendly as well.

One of those evenings I was sharing table with a lovely English couple at a very touristy nonetheless excellent Irish food restaurant (sorry, I did not record the name of this one!) when I had my first Leek and Potato Soup. Happiness! It still amazes me how something so simple can taste so good!

And you probably know the rest of the history if you have been reading any of my previous posts; back at home I made my homework and find myself a nice Leek and Potato Soup recipe to reproduce some of the holidays bliss at home. I served this one with sauté champignon mushrooms, traditionally you would serve it with bread and butter. Shall we share it?

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Mercimek Çorba – Turkish Lentil Soup

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One year ago, my sweetheart and I have been to Istanbul and we immediately fell in love with the city! It was a place I had desired to visit for a long time, since I read “The Museum of Innocence” from the Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orham Pamuk, and I was not a bit disappointed when the dream came true, on the contrary, it was even better than I expected! I was totally overwhelmed by the beauty of its buildings, particularly by the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque), the hectic activity in its streets and in the Grand Bazar and the funky and grunge districts like Beyoglu and Kadiköy respectively.  By the way, The Museum of Innocence, does exists and is worth the visit if you have read the book, besides is located at the very charming bohemian district of Çukurcuma, full of antique shops.

Well, let’s get to the point now, the food was amazing too! Once you’ve tried a REAL kebab there, you’ll never feel the same about your local ones. Or baklava! I thought I didn’t like it until I had one piece in Istanbul. And it turned out that soup was a typical dish served everywhere, locals have it for breakfast or at any other time during the day. The most common ones were chicken and lentil soup, served with lemon wedges to season and lots of bread.

We ate very well almost everywhere, but a bit outside the most touristy areas, we found this pearl: Ciğerci Salih Usta restaurant (no website available, so I give you the address: İskender Paşa Mah. Şekerci Sok. No:6 ; Aksaray, Istanbul) that specialises in şiş (meat brochette) cooked in an in sight barbecue. They don’t serve any alcohol, but the ayran (a kind of buttermilk) was a great beverage option. The lentil soup was also delicious, in fact I enjoyed it that much, that a picture of it is the image I chose for my blog header.

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When we came back, I immediately did my research for the Turkish lentil soup recipe, which resulted very simple but utterly delicious. This time I added some cabbage to the usual recipe, and really liked the result. My granny’s best friend was from Syria and taught her a lentil stew with cabbage that she kept on cooking for the rest of her life, so to me, lentils and cabbage are matching and dear flavours. Here we go with it!

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Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup

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The other day, a good friend of mine gave me some wonderful organic pumpkins from her home vegetable patch. Pumpkin is one of my most-liked veggies and I cook it in different ways, being of them, of course, soup. This time, I  first thought of preparing a pumpkin version of the ginger and curry soup I usually make with carrots. But then, while doing something else, a whole recipe took shape in my mind: a Thai-style curried soup.

Since Thai food is among my favourite foods, it is usually my choice for special occasions. I always cook Thai for birthdays celebrations (love ones and mine),  for my guests (all my friends have tasted my Thai cooking) and on weekends when we fancy something special. I even cooked a Thai green curry the last Christmas eve! However, once in a while I cook Thai just because is delicious, conforming and I feel like it. This was the case and here is the recipe I hope you will enjoy as much as we did at home.

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Shchi- Cabbage Sour Soup from Russia with Love

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Cabbage, not everybody’s cup of tea. But I like it! I can think of at least three dishes cabbage-based that I love: sauerkraut, Middle Eastern stuffed cabbage rolls and cocido, a spanish kind of soup with cabbage among its main ingredients. And more simply, I like it shredded  really thin and added raw to my green salads.

But most of all, I’ve always loved sauerkraut; I have first discovered it as a very young girl in an annual fundraising festival held by the German Evangelic  Church at the corner of my parents home. I recall the lovely German ladies that, dressed in traditional suits, were serving delicious typical cakes in the afternoon and sauerkraut in the evening and I just could not get enough! Definitely  a lovely memory. Many years later, entering my thirties, I have enjoyed sauerkraut in Prague, as a topping for the best street hotdog I have ever tried! or as a side dish with meat and sausages, so yummy!  Also, a couple of years ago, in a road trip along North Eastern France – Alsace and Lorraine -I have tried the Choucroute Alsacienne, a great variation prepared with various kinds of meat and sausages, just another success! I even cook this recipe at home sometimes (with bought sauerkraut).

CIMG8691Besides, cabbage is in season right now and I had some waiting to be transformed in something delicious in my fridge. Therefore, Shchi, a very traditional Russian cabbage soup seemed like the right choice for today. Great option for a comforting winter supper.

Being such an old and popular dish in Russia, there are many variations to Shchi: it can be prepared with or without meat, with fresh cabbage only, or with sauerkraut and varying the rest of the vegetables, being cabbage the constant one.

After some research; I came out with this approach I hope you will enjoy. I took the liberty of simplifying the cooking method, that originally splits the cooking of the cabbage and the rest of the veggies to later combine them, by doing it consecutively in the same pot. In order to reduce cooking time and to ensure that the cabbage will be tender I used the pressure cooker*, but you may also cook the soup in a regular pot. Let’s go and prepare it!

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