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The simple procedure of roasting eggplants, bell peppers, and tomatoes concentrates the sweetness of the vegetables. Add to this the slightly smoky flavor, the Indian influence of the spices and coconut, and the creamy smooth mouth feel and you have a velvety, complex, and novel soup, sure to intrigue and delight everyone. To round out a meal, we would probably choose a salad with a grain or other protein to accompany this soup
Yields 9 CUPS
- ¼ cup olive oil, more or less as desired
- 2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)
- 2 red bell peppers (about ¾ pound)
- 3 tomatoes (about 1 pound)
- a sprinkling of salt and ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne or red pepper flakes
- 1¾ cups reduced-fat coconut milk (14-ounce can)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ to 3 cups water
- Preheat the oven to 500°.
- Lightly brush two baking sheets with some of the olive oil.
- Halve the eggplants and bell peppers lengthwise.
- Stem the tomatoes and halve them crosswise.
- Place all of the vegetable halves cut side up on the baking sheets.
- Brush the vegetables with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 45 minutes, until dark brown and soft or, for a smoky flavor, even slightly charred.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet on medium heat, warm 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
- Add the black mustard and cumin seeds and simmer until they begin to pop.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and cayenne or red pepper flakes.
- Stirring constantly, heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant, taking care not to burn the spices.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- When the roasted vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove their skins. In batches in a blender, puree the vegetables with the coconut milk, salt, and enough water to make the soup the thickness you like.
- Place the puree in a nonreactive soup pot and gently heat.
- Stir in half of the reserved spice mixture and then add more to taste.
Reprinted from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special, Copyright © 1999 by Moosewood, Inc. All rights reserved. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers New York, Crown Publishing Group/Random House, Inc. New York