Zucchini and Coriander Flower Soup

Hey guys - At last succeeded in getting a regular net connection from YOU Telecom. I had a harrowing experience with the cable wallas here! First I went in for a local cable connection, and this guy stalled, gave excuses and delayed for nearly two months. Last month I applied to MTNL, and they gave a booking time of 1 and 1/2 months before they could even deign to come and see the cabling! Last Saturday we found some pamphlets in the letter box from YOU with their tariff rates etc. Their sales people came to our house and promised connection within 24hrs. I immediately gave them the required amount and got no response the next day! When I called the first day the sales fellow at least responded and excused like the rest of sales people! The next five days he disconnected whenever we called on his cell. Meanwhile another YOU telecom subscriber gave me the call center numbers. I called them and placed my complaint and was told that they had a usual time lag of seven working days, but they had received complaints from many customers that their outlets have been promising connection within 24hrs just to get more clients!! It seems so dirty to resort to such tricks and causing unnecessary stress and irritation! We got the connection within 10hrs of launching a formal complaint - I felt so relieved after that two month long ordeal!

The best thing is - Well! I will be regularly looking up you guys now:) i.e., after all of us finish checking up our pending mails!

This brings me to the purpose of the post - celebration with a soup for FIC - Green hosted by me. Do send me some green entries fellas! The post has to be between 1/09 and 30/09 - Look up the details here! The link also contains the round up of last month's event in RED.

I have regularly cutting recipes from 'Me', the monthly magazine supplement that comes with 'DNA'. In the July 2008 edition, the theme was 'Flower Power', and all the recipes were made with flowers as the main ingredients. I have tried two of these recipes so far. Both were new to me and tasted excellent. I am also reproducing some of the 'flower power' facts that came with the recipe.

What you see below are coriander flowers. Earlier when I would see flowers in a bunch of coriander I would look for another one with just the leaves, so P was naturally very surprised when I searched the 'bhaji-market' (Vegetable Market) the other day looking for bunches that had more flowers:).

Source - ME
Facts that interested me:
Coriander flowers, like the leaves and seeds, have a strong herbal flavor. Use RAW, as the flavor fades quickly when cooked. Sprinkle over salads, beans and cold vegetable dishes as a garnish.

Tips while cooking with FLOWERS:
I must acknowledge my son's help in making this soup! This is how we did it 'together':

I (showing him the cutting with the picture) - "Do you like what you see?"
Jr. P. - "Can I help you?"
I - "Why not? That will be great!"
Jr.P. - "Give me the cutting."
I - "Why?"
Jr. P. (Taking the cutting) - "I will give you instructions."

Hah! Isn't that so typically male?

I had already washed and peeled the parwal and washed and separated the corainder flowers from the leaves as a preliminary before showing him the picture. Here is how we made it.

Jr. - "It says zucchini. What is that?"

I - " I haven't got them, so we use parwal instead."

What is PARWAL?
[I rarely buy zucchini as it is expensive, not easily available at the local vendor's, and because it can be so easily substituted without compromising on the taste. I use parwal instead of zucchini. These are a little smaller than zucchini, about four times the size of tondli/courgettes. They more or less look and taste like gherkins and since the vegetables essentially belong to the same family I used it here too. I promised to buy some soon just to show him.]

Parwals are about 4 to 5 inches long, gherkin like veggies very commonly used in Rajasthan and North Indian dishes.

Jr. - "Fine. Just wash and roughly chop them."

I finished and asked - "What next?"

Jr. whos been dancing around in the hall like a rapper looks into the paper - "Chop two onions," He said, "wait! Let me go to the bedroom before you begin. You know how I my eyes burn." And rushed off to the next room!!

So much for helping! I finished chopping the onions fine, and he inspected later whether it was done well enough. Only after that did we proceed to the next few steps with him watching over me like a hawk. I burst out laughing when I put the soup on fire and he exclaimed "Mummy, I love this. Helping you is fun." The soup was completed in about 20 to 30 minutes with such interruptions but it was really fun to see him interested in the ingredients, the way I crushed the garlic cloves before peeling, questioning the process and giving me a few hugs every now and then!

Here's the saner version - I halved the recipe and it still yielded about 4 bowls of yummy soup
Zucchini and Coriander Flower Soup
(Recipe Source - July 2008 edition of 'ME')
3 cups - Zucchini, washed, roughly chopped (I used parwal)
2 - Small onions, chopped fine
2 - cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped fine
2 - green chillies, chopped fine
1 cup - Coriander leaves, roughly chopped
150 ml - Olive oil [I used sunflower oil and reduced the amount to half]
1.5 litre - light vegetable stock [I used water as I did not have stock in reserve]
200ml - Cream [I made a vegan soup so did not use this. In fact I do not think it is necessary at all unless - you would like to have some fat for the psyche!]
Salt to taste
I sprinkled freshly crushed coarse pepper too

A handful of coriander flowers

Heat oil in a pan over low flame.

When hot, add onions, garlic and chilli.

Stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes [Do not brown].

Add chopped zucchini / parwal. Season with a little salt and cook till the zucchini/parwal is cooked through.

Remove from flame. Puree in a mixer to smooth. Return to flame.

Add stock/water. Bring to a boil and simmer till you finish doing the step that follows.

Puree coriander leaves with a little of the simmering soup to an almost smooth puree. Add this to the simmering soup. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm garnished with some coriander flowers.

If you are using cream

Combine the pureed coriander with cream. Keep aside. At the time of serving, mix in the coriander cream with the soup very lightly and serve garnished.

Soups are something that you have to learn to love. If you are someone who likes tangy soups or spicy soups this one is not for you. My neighbour - MIL and DIL did not like it but their son loved it! We in the family are big on soup, and this time all of us except Jr. H (My daughter) loved it! She felt it was too mild, and said she prefers tomato or veg. manchow soup!

This one is a warm, uplifting, not tangy but very nutritious and feel good soup! In my opinion it is perfect for growing kids and convalescents alike if made without the cream. Why not warm up your winters with it?

This one was made with Easy's WYF - Soups, salads and starters event in mind. But somehow I just forgot to send it! Thanks Easy for bringing it to my notice:)


May I offer you these too?

Cream of Mushroom

Grissini - Italian Breadsticks

Herb Sticks

Spinach Soup / Palak Shorba

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