Fresh broccoli, simmered with onions, celery, garlic and green chill, and store-bought unsweetened almond milk. Tempered with cumin seeds and paprika, and served with a garnish of fried rice vermicelli and avocado-salsa relish (optional). It’s vegetarian and gluten-free.
I fell in love with the taste of broccoli and almond soup, on my recent visit to Mumbai. On a weekend escapade to the Taj Lands End hotel in Bandra, we had the gastronomical pleasure of indulging in a gargantuan lunch buffet. Everything was delicious, and sampling a bit of each of the gazillion dishes spread out, I simply had to go for a second helping of the soup. It was light, flavorful and had the freshness of the broccoli and nuttiness of the almonds. Yummy!
Fast-forward : A couple of weeks later, back in my kitchen, many thousands of miles away from my hometown Mumbai, and I’m craving the same soup. I use basic five ingredients, and to simplify it further, I decide to substitute one of the main components, with store-bought help – unsweetened almond milk, which is readily available nowadays. Fresh broccoli is a cruciferous available all year round and a powerhouse of nutrients and vitamins. I also incorporate the stalks in the soup. The final touch in the cooking process, is a tempering of cumin seeds and paprika in the soup.
Frill #1 : I garnish the soup with fried rice vermicelli, which my daughter loves.
Frill #2 : One of my favorite fruits, the avocado, mixed with yoghurt and store-bought fresh tomato salsa. Take a scoop of the relish with a tortilla chip, followed by a sip of the soup, or vice versa!
Servings : 4
Fresh broccoli florets, with stalks – 4 cups
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. green chilly
Unsweetened almond milk – 2 cups
Water – 1 cup
Salt and black pepper
For the tempering:
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. paprika
A drizzle of olive oil
For the garnish:
1 tbsp. store-bought salsa
1 tbsp. yoghurt
In a deep bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and celery and sauté till the onions start turning translucent and light pink. Add the garlic and green chilies and sauté for a minute. Add the broccoli florets and stir well. Add salt and pepper and 1 cup of water. Cover with lid and steam for a couple of minutes on low flame.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend till smooth. Return the purée back to the cooking pot. Add the almond milk. Bring to a gentle boil. Again, season the soup with salt and pepper, accordingly.
P.S. I usually use an immersion hand blender, but in this case, a regular blender gives a smoother consistency, to my liking.
Just before serving, heat a tad olive oil. Add the cumin seeds, remove from flame once they start spluttering, and add the paprika. Pour over the soup.
Garnish with the following :
Fry the rice vermicelli, drain on paper towels.
For the avocado relish (optional) :
In a bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Add the salsa and yoghurt. Mix well. Season with salt.
Serve the soup in individual soup bowls, and garnish with the fried rice vermicelli and a spoonful of the avocado relish.