Its raining, in fact pouring all day here in Hyderabad. So much so that when I went to pick up Varun I was soaked to the skin. I somehow managed to keep him dry.
We came home, a bit cold and wet. And I wanted something light and piping hot for dinner.
Soup came to my mind. Or rather rasam did. I didn’t have any curry leaves on hand so wondered how rasam would taste without it. Without another moment’s hesitation I decided to make simple tomato carrot soup. Now that alone wouldn’t be sufficient for dinner. I always wonder when people say they had soup for dinner, how much of that tureen of soup they had? I decided to make some rice so Varun could eat plain rice if everything else failed.
When I opened the fridge to take out carrots and tomatoes, I saw the red and yellow bell peppers smiling at me. They wanted to join the party and thus the idea of a simple bell pepper rice along with the soup was born.
Rice was being cooked. Tomato and carrot were merrily boiling with a clove of garlic and a couple of peppercorns. I diced up green onions and bell pepper and then went to solve a couple of puzzles with Varun.
Once the rice cooled, I quickly stir fried the pepper with simple spices ( turmeric, bay leaf and cinnamon), puréed the soup’s vegetables and then added cooked rice to the pepper stir fry.
Within minutes we had a hearty and comforting dinner ready to eat.
Varun was hungry by now and we sat down with our respective meals.
Making the dinner was super easy, if only other things in life were as quick and easy!
Pepper Rice and Tomato-Carrot Soup Recipe
For Pepper Rice
- 1 cup long grained rice
- 2 cups water to cook rice
- 1/2 cup green onions sliced ( just the white and pale green parts)
- 3/4 cup yellow bell peppers cubed
- 3/4 cup red bell pepper cubed
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 2-3 medium-sized dried red chillies
- 1 1/2 tablespoon urad dal soaked in water for 10 minutes or so
- 1 tablespoon channa dal soaked in water for 10 minutes or so
- Pinch of turmeric
- Pinch of red chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup green onions ( green parts) diced (for garnish)
For Tomato Carrot Soup
- 2 roma or 1 beefsteak tomato
- 1 carrot – peeled and chopped into 1 ” peices
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 pepper corns
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
- Salt and Pepper to taste
To Make the Pepper Rice
1. Set the soup ingredients (other than salt and pepper) to boil while the rice cooks. Once rice is done, fluff it and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Once it is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds.
After they sizzle, add bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Keep stirring for 20 – 30 secs. Now add the dried chillies. Crush them if you prefer a spicier rice. Keep stirring while the spices cook without burning them.
3. Now add urad and channa dal after draining the water. Let this cook for about 1/2 a minute. Keep stirring to prevent them from sticking to the pan.
4. Add the green onions, flash cook for 30 seconds. Add the bell peppers.
Cook for another couple of minutes.
5. Once peppers are partially cooked, add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning’s.
6. Add the cooked rice, stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning’s. Cover with a lid and let cook for a minute or so on low flame.
7. To make the soup, blend the cooked soup ingredients together till there are no lumps. You can strain the soup to remove any lumps or skin.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve soup with rice while its still piping hot.