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This lauki soup recipe makes tastier soup than you might think – even for those who don’t particularly love bottle gourd!
As temperatures dip, the chilly weather increases our appetite and can make us reach out for unhealthy comfort food, which in turn makes us sluggish and prone to gain weight. This is also a time when we are more susceptible to colds and flu. Unhealthy food, which lacks nutrients, can weaken our immunity.
Eating healthy in winter need not mean staying away from delicious foods – one only needs to find healthier substitutes and add a little bit of creativity to that. Nothing beats the winter chill than a bowl of steaming stew or soup with a dash of pepper. It is very easy to make nourishing vegetable soups with the fresh ingredients at home, instead of depending on processed soups, which are full of sodium and mono sodium glutamate (MSG).
I am tempted to share my favourite lauki soup recipe (bottle gourd/dudhi) that is fantastic not just as a winter soup but throughout the year.
Doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? In fact, when I first heard of it, I was not so eager to have it, especially as lauki is not my favourite vegetable. That is the beauty of this soup- not just lauki but virtually any vegetable except perhaps bitter gourd and ladies finger can be used to make this kind of soup. The basic formula is the same and one just has to look around at the various vegetables sitting in the fridge and add them and experiment.
Another thing I love about it is that it has no oil in it. In addition, it is easy to make and nutritious. Lastly, very little preparation is required. So, without further ado, here is my lauki soup recipe.
(Makes about three bowls full)
I generally cook the whole mix, that is, all the ingredients including the water, in a large pot with a lid, partially covered. You can use a pressure cooker if you want.
Cook on a low fire until the potato and dal are cooked. Allow the mixture to cool. Then use a regular mixer/food processor to purée the mixture. I use a hand mixer.
Adjust the consistency according to your preference by adding water. Add salt and pepper and heat through before serving. This is the basic recipe.
What I love about it is that it is not prescriptive. If I do not have onion or am not in the mood to peel an onion, I do not add it and it still tastes wonderful. If you do not add dal, add a little more potato to thicken the mixture. If you do not have a potato, just add more dal to thicken the mixture. Sometimes, I skip the ginger. However, I think the garlic is necessary. You can add more tomatoes if you like it tangy and full of Vitamin C.
Other winter soup combinations, which work really well instead of lauki, are:
Sometimes I just add little bits of whatever I see in the fridge like cauliflower, some peas, a carrot or two, a few green beans (not too fibrous though), a small head of broccoli – they all taste great together.
To add a bit of excitement occasionally, one can garnish the soup with a blob of butter, a swirl of cream, a few croutons or little boiled and drained pasta shapes. To add bulk to the soup I have tried dropping in some cooked red kidney beans (rajma). You can use these if you have some handy (as I sometimes do if I have cooked and frozen them). Even if you do not add any of these extras, the soup is still nourishing and satisfying.
I hope this inspires people to try out this really easy, tried and tested veggie rich winter soup that is a regular feature in my kitchen at least twice a week and enjoyed by the most fussy eaters in my family.
Image of carrot soup used under a CC license credit jfchenier, and you may also enjoy his related blogpost on whole carrot soup and eating green.
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