Soup is a relatively easy process for me. I’ve been making it since I could reach the stove top. I’ve come a long way from my mother’s pre-packaged, pre-flavored soups, and from ham hocks and beans (one of the few things my mother cooked well). As a chef I’ve learned the nuance of spices, what to blend to make something savory, sumptuous, and loaded with good stuff. My instincts usually guide me to the right places.
Last weekend as I looked through what was left in the fridge, I noticed I hadn’t used up the cabbage and I had some potatoes that needed cooking. Then, there’s carrots, always carrots. I went to work slicing and dicing in order to produce a soup.
Of course, I wanted to add some spice for a balance between the vegetables and the broth. I poked around the spice shelf and found fennel. Fennel loves cabbage, fenugreek likes fennel, and turmeric is always a good base spice. The important thing for this soup is the steps. It’s called “stacking” flavor. The order in which ingredients go into the pot and the length of time you cook the ingredients are the keys to a really good soup.
I believe there are super curative powers in the final concoction. I came down with a nasty cold and ate this soup throughout the week. Between that and lots of ginger tea, I’m better. So try this soup on your loved ones when they are feeling sniffly. It just might help.
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 cups carrots, small dice (4 medium carrots)
- 1 cup yellow onions, small dice (1 medium onion)
- 2 cups white rose potatoes, medium dice (3 potatoes)
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp turmeric, ground
- 1 tsp fenugreek ground
- 1 tbsp grated or powdered ginger
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp mirin (cooking sake)
- 4 cups cabbage, sliced fine
- 1 tbsp lime juice fresh pressed
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 6 cups water or vegetable broth
- Prepare all the vegetables. Make the curry powder with turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, and cayenne pepper.
- Heat up a large stock pot and add 2 tbsp sunflower oil. When the oil is hot add the carrots and onions. Turn the heat to medium and saute the vegetables until almost translucent and soft, give the veggies a pinch of salt at this point.
- Add in garlic, fennel seed and cumin. Stir for a minute, then pour in the potatoes. Cook until potatoes start to become tender.
- Add in the curry mixture. Turn heat up to high and cook at high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add in the mirin and lime juice to de-glaze the vegetables. Toss in a little more salt.
- Turn down the heat and toss in the cabbage. Stir to coat the cabbage. Pour in water, bring to a boil, let boil for a couple of minutes then turn the heat to simmer.
- Let simmer for 30-40 minutes until all the flavors incorporate.
- At the very end, stir in the chopped spinach. Taste, adjust seasoning, and cool to a proper temperature.
- Serve with your favorite bread/crackers.