The really great thing about winter vegetables is that a lot of things that come into season together, also pair well in dishes. Think winter carrots and green chickpeas in my hara chana falafels with roasted red carrot hummus, or a sarson ka saag puff pastry pie, also with winter carrots and sweet peas. Here’s a great vegetable soup that’s delightfully sour and spicy that I think works beautifully with all the winter vegetables. I’ve used hara chana or green chickpeas with red carrots and potatoes, but you could use green peas, regular orange carrots, add cauliflower if you like, it’s just great. Much like rasam, you could have it with rice too, but I prefer to just dive into a bowl of this by itself. The crunchy toppings are a chana chor garam mix, but if you can’t find it, just top with other crunchy farsan that you have access to. I even considered serving fafda on the side instead of breadsticks, so go crazy.
Note: You can also make this in an electric pressure cooker/ instant pot by selecting the soup mode after bunging all the vegetables, chickpeas, tamarind extract, besan slurry and water.
Winter Vegetable Soup With Chana Chor Garam Topping
Yield 4 servings
Swap out imli or tamarind paste with kokum and unlike the way besan or roasted chickpea flour works in a Sindhi curry wherein it is activated at the beginning, here it acts as a mere thickening agent that lends a smooth thick texture to the soup.
Jeera or cumin seeds 1 tsp
Dried Kashmiri chillies 4-5, tone roughly
Black mustard seeds 1 tsp
Curry leaves 8-10
Bay leaves 2, torn
Vegetable oil 3 tbsp
Onion 1 large, finely chopped
Garlic 10-12 cloves, bashed in and chopped
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Maggi veg stock cube 1 whole cube
Green chillies 1, slit lengthwise and halved
Water 1 litre
Besan or roasted chickpea flour 2 heaped tbsp, made into a slurry with 2 tbsp water. (Use your fingers to smoothen out any whole balls of besan in the water)
Tamarind extract from 1 golf ball sized piece of tamarind soaked in hot water
Winter Carrots 450g, cut into small chunks
Green chickpeas 150g
Potatoes 2 medium sized, cut into small chunks
Garam masala 1/2 tsp
Freshly chopped coriander 2 tbsp
Lime wedges for serving
Chana chor garam mix 4-5 tbsp
In a large saucepan or stockpot set over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and when hot, add to the pan the cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, torn red chillies, curry leaves and bay leaf. Toss everything together till the spices are aromatic, and the black mustard seeds have started to splutter.
Add to this the onion and stir. Cook the onions for 5 minutes over medium heat or until the onions soften and start to turn golden from the edges. Add the garlic and stir for 2 minutes to activate it. Next up, add the turmeric and red chilli powder, the salt and crumble in the stock cube. Add the green chillies here as well.
Add the carrots, potatoes and green chickpeas and give everything a good toss. Splash in the water until the vegetables are well immersed, reserving some for the besan slurry and any extra if needed to thin out the soup later.
Add the besan slurry in, followed by the tamarind extract. Bring everything up to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes with the lid on until the potatoes, carrots and the green chickpeas are cooked through.
Once everything is well cooked, taste and adjust the salt and tamarind water if necessary, or adjust the consistency with water until it is to your liking. Finish with the Garam masala, fresh coriander chopped and scattered on top with lime wedges on the side.
Add the chana chor garam mix to the soup bowls after you ladle it out and serve.