Going by food activist Anna Lappe’s assertion that our view of food is largely an “illusion of abundance,” a light cabbage soup would sound like something a hard-nosed dietician recommended. Or perhaps what Beatrix Potter’s Flopsy bunnies cooked in a dented vat by watering down suitably, with the scraps of cabbage lent by Peter rabbit. Yet, the light cabbage soup is satiating, comforting, and uplifting. What brings it together, really, is the blend of spices from the Tadka kitchens, in addition to the whey-like essence of lemon plunging into its depths, leaving a trail of warmth down the gullet as it sashays down, sip after soothing sip.
Lemon and Spice Cabbage Soup
- ¼ Of a medium-sized cabbage, julienned with care
- 1 Small onion or ½ a big one, sliced thin and small
- 2-3 Cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1 Small green chilli, minced
- A pinch of turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 Quart (approximately 4 cups) of chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 Tablespoon masala blend – a combination of roasted cumin, fennel and coriander seeds, powdered fine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- The juice of one medium-sized lemon
In a medium-sized pot, warm the oil and add the turmeric, onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli and cabbage, in that order, stirring briskly following each addition. Sprinkle a dash of salt and let it cook down, for 6-7 minutes. Add half of the masala blend, stir well, and add the stock. Add salt and pepper to taste, let boil for 10-12 minutes. Add the remaining masala blend, cover and let sit for another 3-4 minutes. Serve hot, with lemon juice squeezed right into the bowls and hot-off-the-oven garlic bread on the side, perhaps. Add a couple of lemon wedges and some cilantro for a Tadka style garnish. This soup can also be made in advance and refrigerated for upto three days – make sure the lemon juice is added in just before serving to keep the soup from turning bitter.
Inspired by Savoy Cabbage and Coriander Soup from Sarah Raven’s “Garden Cookbook.”