Monday 16 January 2012

Red winter

Soup is my favourite thing at the moment. It warms me from inside out and always gives me the sensation of total nourishment. Another reason: you can create various types of soups with whichever vegetables you have in the fridge. Beetroot was on the top of my list this week, as I had some extras from my favourite stall at the farmer’s market.

I often make a soup I adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal’s recipe. It is easy and deliciously spiced with yoghurt, cumin and cayenne pepper.

I have already written another post on beetroot here and in our house we became good friends with this underrated vegetable.

For the beetroot-phobics: this soup may change your opinion.

The ingredients
Sautee onion, garlic and spices then add the beetroot
Add the stock and let it simmer for 30 min or until cooked
Ingredients for the spiced yoghurt. Garlic optional.
My beetroot soup!
Beetroot and cumin soup with spiced yoghurt
Serves 4
50g ghee (or butter)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, peeled and chopped
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
750g beetroot, peeled and cut into small chunks
800ml chicken stock (you can also use vegetable stock, or water)
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tbsp chives, chopped

For the spiced yogurt
1 tsp cumin seeds or powder
1 tsp coriander seeds or powder
½ tsp sweet paprika
1 pinch cayenne pepper
4 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil

Set a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the ghee or butter and olive oil. Throw in the onion, garlic and cumin and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion and garlic are soft but not coloured. Add the beetroot chunks, toss well with the onions then add the stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the beetroot is tender.

Meanwhile, if you’re using cumin and coriander seeds, instead of power, put them in a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant. Transfer to a grinder or pestle, and grind to a powder. Otherwise, just combine the powders with the paprika, cayenne and a pinch of salt (the toasted seeds adds a more fragrant flavour). Stir a heaped teaspoon of this mixture into the yogurt (keep the rest for use in another recipe - it's great with lamb, for instance), add the olive oil and whisk together.
Purée the soup, return it to the pan and season to taste. If it seems excessively thick, thin it down with a little more stock or water.
Serve the soup, hot or chilled, with a dollop of spiced yogurt swirled in at the last moment and some parsley sprinkled on top.

The main ingredient and its healthy benefits

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris): Contains Betain a nutrient that increases digestion and helps to prevent heart and liver diseases. It provides lots of fibre and that’s probably why it has shown to improve bowel function. It moistens the intestines, relieving constipation and regulates digestion. Studies have shown that beetroot strengthens the heart, regulates cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, benefits the liver and purifies the blood. Beetroot colours can show up even in your urine or faeces, which is a harmless condition called beeturia.

The juice of beetroot with carrot is a perfect combination to regulate hormones and relieving the symptoms of the women going through menopause.

Beetroots are great source of betacarotene, vitamin B6, folic acid, manganese, silicon and potassium. It is also is a very good source of iron which can prevent anaemia especially for people who follow a vegetarian diet.

Beet greens have a higher concentration of calcium, iron and vitamins A and C than beetroots.  It’s high in sodium, so little salt is required.  Caution: Those who suffer from kidney problems should avoid eating too much beet greens due to its high oxalic content, as it inhibits calcium metabolism.

Till next week!


  1. I love beets! Thanks for the recipe and all the useful info. I know I need some carrots and beets right about now...;-)


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