Dum Aloo

Dum Aloo – North Indian Tomato Potato Curry - The Lotus and the Artichoke

This recipe and story first appeared as a guest post on Scissors & Spice. Thanks again, Lynn!

Dum Aloo is one of many unsung heroes of Indian vegetarian cooking, with paneer, kofta, and mixed veg dishes usually stealing the spotlight. If you like potatoes and enjoy creamy, tomato-based curries, this delicious wonder will win you over. Soon you’ll be cooking it regularly and looking out for it on menus.

When I lived in Amravati, India, teaching Art and English for a year at a Cambridge International School, I quickly made friends with much of the neighborhood. From the first day, I was invited to family meals and constantly got amazing offers of home-cooked lunches. It was culinary heaven!

I learned so much about traditional Indian cooking (and a lot of Hindi) from the family of one of the local vegetable cart vendors who lived down the street. In the evenings, I’d often hear a knock at the door or get a short text message, and within minutes the kitchen was alive: full of cheery voices, sizzling sounds, amazing smells, and the incredible, vivid colors of spices and fresh vegetables.

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Carrot Ginger Zucchini Soup

Carrot Ginger Zucchini Soup - The Lotus and the Artichoke vegan cookbook

I’ve been making variations of this vegan Carrot Ginger soup recipe for over ten years. The inspiration came from a former co-worker from South Africa that I met while working as an English teacher with Berlitz Language School in my early years in Berlin. The recipe she gave me after a dinner party was for Carrot Ginger Pumpkin soup. I’ve modified it over the years to include potato (for a vegan creamy texture) and use soy milk instead of cream. I often use other vegetables (in this case zucchini) instead of pumpkin.

I love to cook with what I have in the kitchen, and I change up this soup accordingly all the time. This is an all-year soup that you can vary in thickness and spice according to weather and whim. Like thicker soups? Easy: add less water. Not in the mood for thick wintery soup? No trouble: increase the water and/or soy milk slightly. It’s also easy to make a more Indian version by increasing the appropriate spices, and I’ve even turned this into a sort of dal (lentil) fusion soup using a cup or two of boiled red lentils along with the vegetables before puréeing. If you want a more European and less Asian soup, replace the cumin and coriander with fresh thyme, basil, rosemary and add some tomato paste or 1 chopped tomato.

This soup works great as a starter served along with a healthy salad (such as my Arugula Pear Walnut salad favorite) warming up to a nice, hearty meal. It impresses guests every time and everyone always asks for more. You can double the soup and have enough for several days (you won’t get bored of it, especially if you have plenty of good bread, tasty crackers, or your own tasty croutons.) It can also be frozen and kept for a quick, delicious future meal when you’re too lazy to cook.

Do you have any other suggestions or ideas? Share your thoughts and experiences!

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