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.: 12.18.2007 

Zabet 1, Soup 0

I suppressed the inner voice that told me the recipe was no good. I ignored that part of my brain which has made countless curries and dahls. I didn’t want to think, I just wanted yummy soup with minimal work. It sounded good: chickpeas, potatoes, coconut milk. But in the back of my mind, that spot that keeps track of all the unlabeled spices in the kitchen was screaming, One cannot use only curry powder and expect any good to come of it! I turned my back on it and started quartering small red potatoes.

Of course the soup came out awful. The hot curry powder added two only two notes to the dish: that squeaky, high, raw turmeric taste and then searing heat that would make you gasp. You could hardly taste the coconut milk, the chickpeas, the generous helping of onions, or the potatoes. I told Hubby we’d have to forage for our dinner, but after he nuked some black bean burgers I was back at it, determined to fix it.

First, I lowered the heat and strengthened my resolve to get rid of that raw spice taste if I had to simmer the soup all effing night. Then I added a secret zucchini (read: minced, so I don’t notice it and disturb my squash phobia) in hopes it might diffuse some of the heat. I pulled out my mortar and pestle and ground cumin seeds for a low note. I added some garam masala for variety, and some ground coriander seeds to compliment the turmeric. And some salt. I had forgotten that I’d been using saltless or low-sodium ingredients and that you really need about 2tsp of salt per 6-8 cups of liquid to get soup to a proper level of saltiness.

I stirred, spiced, simmered. Rinse and repeat. Midnight neared. It was better, but missing that thing, that ingredient that really helped bind it together. I was tired and getting desperate. Sweet red pepper? Parsley? I stood in front of the pantry cursing when inspiration struck. Peanutbutter. I grabbed the jar of Jif, which is not my first choice, as I’d rather crush peanuts to just before a paste and add them, but this was not the time to be snobby. I spooned out the biggest spoonful of peanutbutter I could (about 3/4 cup) and added it to the pot. I stirred. I waited. I immersion blended. And then I tasted. Everything was there. The peanuts and the coconut went perfectly together. The blended chickpeas and potatoes gave it a wonderful creaminess, and you could actually taste each. Instead of a one-note song I had a symphony. The searing flame was tamed somewhat when it was no longer the only thing you could taste (though I will admit I worry what will happen to it after it’s had time to sit in the fridge and develop).

Dear Epicurious,

Consider your ass kicked.

That is all.

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thus proclaimeth the Zabet  3:20 PM   0 comment(s)

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