Indian Tomato Rice Soup (or, Cooking With November Garden Greens)

Indian Tomato Rice Soup

I'm always on the lookout for vegetarian recipes that can be made with local organic ingredients. When I get to eat straight from my garden, especially in November, I get even more excited. The rice aspect of this soup isn't so local, but I always use leftover rice, so I'm reducing food waste. Plus, it's shipped dry (from California), so the calories per gallon of diesel fuel ratio is pretty high (I can say things like that because it's already well established that I'm the world's biggest eco-nerd).

Anyway, I adapted this recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special Cookbook (p. 81).  Here are the ingredients:

  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1-2 cups leftover rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • some tomatoes
  • swiss chard and/or kale from an Edmonton garden

I started by chopping the onions and garlic, and frying them in the soup pot until they were soft.

Edmonton-grown Garlic

While the onions and garlic were cooking (it took about ten minutes), I ran out to the garden. In Edmonton, we can harvest food from our gardens a lot later in the season than we think. The key is to plant cold-hardy vegetables, and the kings of those are kale and swiss chard. Both taste great after being frozen, and that's a good thing, because they were frozen solid when I picked them:

Swiss Chard, November 19, 2008. Edmonton, AB.

More Chard

Kale, November 19, 2008. Edmonton, AB.

These two types of leafy greens are extremely nutritious, and they taste great once you know how to prepare them.

Once the garlic and onions were ready, I added a touch more oil, and then fried the cumin, coriander and curry powder for a minute or two. Cumin and its friends should always be fried up when added to food to bring out the aromas. Like this:

Then, I added 4 cups of water along with 4 teaspoons of vegetable stock, and threw in a can of tomatoes. More prolific gardeners would have their own tomatoes canned or frozen to add, but I ran out a while back, so I used these:

Eden Organic Unsalted Whole Tomatoes

They're organic, grown in Canada, and unsalted. The salt is a big thing for me. It's a silent killer in this country, so I do my best to cut down (while still adding enough make food enjoyable). The only salt that I added to this soup was the 2800 mg in the vegetable stock.

Then I washed and chopped the chard and kale:

Zero-carbon Edmonton Greens

And added the tomatoes, greens and some leftover rice to the soup:

Because I was using the world's most efficient soup pot by Kuhn Rikon, I immediately turned off the stove, placed the pot on its insulated base, and covered it up:

It cooked on its own, with no more added fossil fuels, for another 20 minutes or so.

Indian Tomato Rice Soup is delicious. It's a well known fact that tomatoes love cumin, and in this soup they dance a beautiful dance, all while saving the planet. Good times.

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