You know how so many health and nutrition article suggests that all of us should eat all colors of fruits and vegetables each day. Well this is easier said than done, it is definitely not easy to include veggies and fruits of all colors each day....each week maybe... but each day......not so much. Having said that, just knowing that we need to get all colors of vegetables in our diet motivates me to at the very least try and get a good variety of vegetables and fruits in my diet each day. Soups play an important role in my kitchen as a means to getting in as many veggies as possible in one serving.
This barley and vegetable soup of mine is something I came up with in an attempt to try and create a soup that was balanced in the sense that it included veggies, some protein and at least one grain. Since I was looking to give the soup some unusual flavors (at least they are unusual for me ) I went with dried herbs like mint and fenugreek leaves for flavoring. I also spiced it with a mixture of freshly roasted and ground coriander and cumin seeds and added a touch of tartness with some dry mango powder. Since I gave this soup flavors from Indian cuisine , I also served it with oat pav (a healthier variation of rustic Indian bread ) to complete the meal.
Ingredient and Method to make Barley and Vegetable Herb soup
3 stalks celery cut into 1/4 inch slices (Yielded about 1 1/2 cups cut celery)
3 carrots cut into 1/4 pieces (yielded about 1 1/2 cup carrots)
1 cup frozen or fresh green peas
1/2 cup whole moong bean soaked for about 6 to 8 hours
1/2 cup fine barley
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
1 tsp dried mint leaves
a handful fresh cilantro cut fine
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (dhania)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
3 dry whole red chillies (or according to taste)
salt according to taste
1/2 tsp dry mango powder (amchur powder) (see notes)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Soak whole moong beans for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and dry whole red chillies in a heavy bottomed pan until the mixture starts giving out a pleasant aroma. Alternatively place all the spices in a microwave safe plate and place in a microwave. On a lower power level, heat for a minute or a minute and a half until the spices are slightly warm and give out a fragrance.
Cool to room temperature and grind in a spice grinder until the mixture turns to a fine powder.
In a heavy bottomed pan place the soaked and drained moong beans, fine barley and sufficient water and place pan on high heat. When the water begins to boil,lower heat and allow the beans and barley to simmer for about 15 to 20 mins.
When the beans and barley are softer, add dried fenugreek leaves, dried mint leaves and all the vegetables. Let this mixture simmer for a little while on a medium to medium high heat.
When the vegetables are nearly cooked, add the ground spice mixture, salt to taste and adjust water to achieve required consistency.Let this mixture simmer for another 5 to 10 mins for the flavors to assimilate.
Garnish with cilantro (coriander leaves)
Serve hot with bread of choice. ( I served mine with some rustic Indian Oat Pav)
Serves approximately 3-4
I used dry mango powder (amchur) to give the soup a slight tartness. You can skip this if you wish and use lemon juice instead, use lemon juice according to taste just before serving.
Do not add salt to the water while moong beans and barley are just beginning to cook, it delays the process of cooking for moong beans. Add salt after the beans are fully cooked.
This soup is off to the No Croutons Required monthly event being hosted by Lisa