Bhindi in Hindi or bhendi in Konkani is okra. We also call it lady finger but I really don’t like that name so I call it one of the first three I mentioned. Dahi is the word for yogurt or curds, as we say with ease. Tadka means tempering (of spices) and the versions of it are as myriad as the diaspora.…
Sunchoke mango soup with a side of self-discovery
This Friday after work I went right to my next job – volunteering as a photographer for Ladies Rock Camp here in Seattle. While the rest of my co-workers were talking about how tired they were, I was bragging and doing leaps of joy that I was going to be on my feet for the rest of the day. I love Rain City Rock Camp for Girls. It’s my therapy. I love the work that we do and the environment we’re creating for girls and women to go through these amazing life-altering transformations. I’ve witnessed it and it’s magical. The part that brings me the most joy is that every woman and girl is encouraged to be 100% themselves without any fear of judgement. There are no expectations to be perfect and you are given the tools to tackle almost any real-world problem by other badass-at-life women. How often do you see that?! All you need to do is say “YES” and you can be one of us. If you’re in Seattle and you want to Power Up! and Activate! with RCRC, this is your chance. There are opportunities for volunteers for 2 week-long summer camps available right now. Here’s where you can sign up. Oh and in case you were wondering: You don’t need to have music experience.
Now for some things I’d love to discuss more in the comments/or in real life if you’re up for it.
– I can be an introvert and still make an impact: I’ve seen a lot of people put away their ability to interact with others in some of the most important situations only because they feel that it’s just their personality and “what could I possibly do to affect change!?” I was one of those people. I took the label and went with it because it gave me comfort. I was happy to let others talk. I didn’t think I had much to add, knowing that deep down it wasn’t even the truth. I have so many gifts and I want to share them all. Sometimes it’s overwhelming because I’m required to turn whatever I thought about myself as true, on its head. But I do it because I want to be a better person. I am more than just an introvert. Life isn’t about doing what makes you comfortable. That job is reserved for mac and cheese.
– Self-care/love is a radical act: This.
– And speaking of self, here’s a little bit about Anita Hill, a lady I’m glad I now know about: “Testifying has helped me understand that one individual’s behaviour and actions make a difference. That my actions are important to people other than myself.” You can watch a documentary about/named after her on Netflix.
What are your views about “self” and the whole being an introvert pride? If I’m with one person, I tend to put them first. If I’m around many, I hide in the background and am happy to let others lead me around. BUT deep in my heart, I know that I want to be known for more than just being quiet. I’ve always been told by Matt, my friends and family that I need to share my creative talents, yet this “self” (whom I have a love-hate relationship with) that dictates my interactions has been holding me back. I have things I want to do! Being shy isn’t going to help that. I love taking downtime, don’t get me wrong. But once I’ve recharged, I would like to take on the world with more gusto. Hey new me! Happy almost birthday.
Which brings me to mango season (not sure how) – a season that’s non-existent in Washington. But it is in Goa and maybe Mexico. I’m lucky that we get mangoes for sale at grocery stores here. I don’t buy them often but when I do, I feel extra super-Goan. I know how to cut them, how to eat them around the seed and make a whole mess of my clothes doing so. Every time I do, I feel like I never left home. Sometimes it’s okay not to buy local, I think. You just have to trust yourself.
Sunchoke mango soup
- My way of picking the best mango for this soup is to look for one that almost yellow but that still has some green on the skin. If you press it, it should be hard but not so hard that you can’t cut through it. Almost ripe mangoes have that sweetness but are still somewhat sour, giving your food that perfect sweet-sour balance.
- This was my first time cooking with sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. They are hard to peel but all the best foods are! If you aren’t using them immediately once you peel and prep them, place them in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration. If you aren’t planning on peeling them, scrub the mud off them and use the same way. The peel might make your soup look a little different but it shouldn’t affect the taste.
- My food processor is teeny tiny so I needed to puree the soup in 2 batches. This meant nothing except I had to divide the cream into 1/4 amounts while blending.
- My 2-part ingredients list has a part just for something we call “tadka” or tempering. Here is NPR’s explanation of it. You will need to use oils that can withstand high temperatures. I used bacon fat because it was just sitting there in a pan across from me all morning. I’m crazy. You do you.
- This soup can be served warm or cold. If you’re going to eat it as a cold soup, make the tadka just before you serve it up. It cannot be made in advance. The best part is, it takes less than a minute once you have all your ingredients in front of you.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 stalks spring garlic, cut in rounds (or you can use 2 cloves garlic)
- 2 cups sunchokes, peeled and chopped evenly in 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 cup almost-ripe mango, skin removed and diced
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk (optional)
- Pea sprouts, to garnish
For the tadka
- 2 tbsp bacon fat or coconut oil or ghee
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 4-5 dried red chillies (I used chile de arbol)
Place a soup pot on medium-high heat. Once the pot heats up evenly, add 2 tbsp of oil to it. Wait for a minute and add the onion and spring garlic to the oil. Give them a light stir every now and then until they soften a bit. Next add the sunchokes and give it a big stir so that it’s well coated with the oil and onion-garlic flavours. Let it cook for just a minute and then add the diced mango. Stir to combine and let it all cook for 2 minutes. Add the chilli powder and ground turmeric, mix it all together and breathe. It’s going to taste amazing. Add the vegetable or chicken stock into the soup pot and bring to a simmer on the same medium-high heat. Once the stock starts to simmer, turn down the heat to a slow simmer. Place a lid on top of the pot, leaving a slit open for steam to escape. Let the soup cook for about 20 minutes, until the sunchokes are just tender. Once that happens, take the pot off the stove and let it cool slightly before blending.
Pour half the contents of the soup pot into a high speed blender or food processor. Add the cream or coconut milk if using (it tastes good with either or neither) and blend until it turns to a smooth puree. Once you’ve pureed all the soup, add it back to the and add salt to taste. Let the soup warm up.
While the soup is doing its thing, place a pan on medium high heat. Have all your other ingredients for the tadka ready because you’ll be adding them in quick succession. To the pan, add 2 tbsp of bacon fat or coconut oil or ghee depending on what you’re using and let it heat until it starts to almost smoke. Quickly add the mustard seeds. They should start to pop immediately. Wait 5 seconds and then add the dried red chillies. Stir constantly and fast, being very careful (hot oil/popping mustard…all fun stuff) for about 10 seconds more and then take the pan off the heat. Spoon the tadka – oil and everything – on top of the soup. Mix it all into the soup, garnish with pea sprouts.