Bowl full of goodness: This monsoon, follow simple and easy recipes to make innovative soups, broth and ramen

10 June,2024 09:23 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Nascimento Pinto

Mumbai is already experiencing the first of its monsoon. The season brings with it a need to enjoy a bowl full of warm and comforting soup or even turn it into a meal with broth or ramen too

While coffee and tea are popular companions during this time of the year, soups aren`t far, as they go beyond the beverages to offer more in terms of flavour. 

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Mumbai is already experiencing the first of its monsoon. The season brings with it a need to enjoy a bowl full of warm and comforting soup or even turn it into a meal with broth or ramen too

While coffee and tea are popular companions during this time of the year, soups aren't far, as they go beyond the beverages to offer more in terms of flavour.

Traditionally, a homemade vegetable or tomato soup is always popular in vegetarian varieties. Chicken soup or even cheap Chinese varieties are a staple for most non-vegetarians. However, Mumbai and Indian chefs believe you can do so much more with the simplest of ingredients to not only make a soup but also a broth or even bowl of ramen.

With the monsoon season here, spoke to Indian chefs to share their favourite recipes with a touch of innovation for the monsoon. They not only tell you how to convert a traditional spinach soup into something better but also share a recipe for a delicious mushroom broth, African peanut chicken soup, steaming char sui pork ramen but also a Bhutanese special.

Multi Millet Spinach Soup
With the popularity of millets in India in the last year, chef Varun Inamdar, who has put together the Godrej Vikhroli Cucina Millets Cookbook, says you can make a Multi Millet Spinach soup. It not only makes the most of millets but also gives a twist to your classic spinach soup this monsoon. He explains, "The soup is rich in nutrients and packed with the goodness of millets. They warm you up but also provide a healthy, nourishing meal. The earthy flavours of millets combined with fresh, vibrant spinach offer a delightful twist that goes beyond the regular tomato soup, making them a perfect treat."

Moong, sprouted 1/2 cup
Finger millets 1 tbsp
Barnyard millets 1 tbsp
Kodo millets 1 tbsp
Foxtail millets 1 tbsp
Brown top millets 1 tbsp
Jowar 1 tbsp
Bajra 1 tbsp
Onions 1/2 cup
Spinach leaves 1/2 cup
Groundnut oil 1 tbsp
Godrej Jersey milk 1/4 cup
Black pepper powder 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
Salt as required

1. Soak all the millets in hot water for at least 2 hours.
2. Pressure cook for 4 whistles with 2 cups of water or till all the millets are tender
3. Blend lightly using a stick blender.
4. Add sprouted moong and spinach leaves and continue cooking for 5 minutes on medium flame.
5. In a pan, heat groundnut oil. Add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter. Add onions and cook till they are translucent.
6. Pour in the multi-millet mixture along with Godrej Jersey milk and stir in salt and pepper.
7. Adjust consistency and serve hot.

Umami Mushroom & Wakame Broth
While soups are a favourite during the monsoon, a broth can do so much more. Chef Rahul Punjabi at Nom Nom, which has outlets in Bandra and Navi Mumbai, says you can make an umami mushroom and wakame broth this season. He explains, "This is a delicious soup that has oodles of umami coming from the Japanese ingredients as well as a well balanced sweetness achieved by slowly caramelising the vegetables. It gets even better because this recipe is naturally vegan too."

Japanese sesame oil 1 tsp
Vegetable oil 1 tsp
Carrots (peeled and sliced) 10 gm
Onions (peeled and sliced) 10 gm
Celery (washed and sliced) 10 gm
Garlic (peeled & sliced) 5 gm
Star anise 1 no
Cooking Sake 20 gm
Hon Mirin 20 gm
Water 1 litre
Dried shiitake mushrooms 10 gm
Dried Wakame Seaweed 10 gm
Shimeji mushrooms (tops only) 20 gm
Salt to taste

1. Heat up the water until just simmering but not boiling, switch off the heat and add all the wakame and dried shiitake mushrooms into the water. Cover with a lid and allow it to steep until later.
2. In a heavy bottomed pot, add the veg oil and sesame oil, bring up to medium heat. Add in the carrots, onions, celery and star anise. Cook the vegetables gently on a medium to low heat. Take your time to gradually develop a deep and dark caramelisation on the vegetables. 3. Cooking this on too high a heat will develop a more bitter and astringent taste so put some love into this step.
4. Once the vegetables are 90 per cent caramelised, add in the garlic and cook until the raw flavour has gone. Now the bottom of the pan should hopefully have some nice brown bits sticking to them, this is the best part and contains all the flavour. Add in your sake and hon mirin to deglaze all the flavourful bits off the bottom of the pan and into your broth.
5. Allow the sake and mirin to evaporate 90 per cent of the way until a sticky syrup is achieved, now add in the steeped water, wakame and shiitake mushrooms from earlier. Bring it up to a simmer and as soon as it simmers, switch the heat off. Wakame has a very delicate flavour that can't withstand boiling temperatures.
6. Cover with a lid and let it steep for a further 1 hour. Now your soup is ready to be strained. Once strained, add the shimeji mushroom tops and reduce it on a medium high heat until the broth has halved in quantity. Season to your taste with salt and sugar (only if really necessary)
7. Serve it in a large coffee mug and enjoy while curled up against a window.

African Spicy Peanut Chicken Soup
If you love your chicken soup but want to innovate with it, then Veeraj Shenoy, who is the chief operating officer â€" F&B, Imagicaaworld Entertainment Ltd., run by the Malpani Group, says you can make the African Spicy Peanut Chicken Soup. It is on their menu at Zeze Bar & Grill â€" the Afro-American specialty restaurant at Imagicaa Theme Park. He explains, "The combination of chicken, peanuts, and spices creates a hearty, nourishing dish that provides comfort during rainy, cooler weather. The protein from the chicken and the healthy fats from the peanuts make it both filling and energising, helping to ward off the chill that often accompanies the monsoon."

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
450 gm of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste to your preferred level of spiciness
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups chicken broth
300 gm tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings: chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and minced ginger. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent for about 5 minutes at the least.
2. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Stir in the ground cumin, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
4. Add the peanut butter to the pot and stir until it's melted and well combined with the other ingredients.
5. Pour in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes (with their juices), and tomato paste. Stir well to combine.
Bring the soup to a simmer and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the flavours have melded together.
6. Mix in the chopped cilantro and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve the soup hot, garnished with chopped peanuts, additional cilantro, and sliced green onions if desired.

Char Sue Pork Ramen
While soup and broth are enjoyable, one cannot ignore the popularity of ramen over the years in Mumbai and India. It's also why chef Manas, sous chef at Taki Taki says you can make a delicious Char Siu Pork Ramen. He explains, "Originating from Japan, ramen is a hearty soup filled with noodles, a flavourful broth, and an array of toppings like sliced pork, eggs, seaweed, and green onions. The combination of umami-rich flavours and the comforting warmth of the broth makes ramen an ideal monsoon meal."

Braised Pork Belly 4 to 5 slice
Pork Stock 400 ml
Kikkoman Soy 30 gm
Hondashi 4 gm
Sugar 4 gm
Salt to taste
Boiled Ramen Noodles 100 gm
Pok Choy 1 pc
Soft boiled egg 1 pc
Fish cake (Narutomaki) 3 to 4 slice
Spring Onion 1 strip (for garnish)
Nori Sheet 1/4 pc (for garnish)

1.Take a saucepan, put pork stock and season with Kikkoman soy, Hon dashi, sugar, salt.
2. Blanch the Pok choy and fish cake (narutomaki).
3. Take a ramen bowl and put boiled ramen noodles, stock on the bowl and arrange all the ingredients like blanch Pok choy, fish cake (narutomaki), cooked pork belly, soft boiled egg and garnish with spring onion, nori sheet.

Tingmo & Ema Datshi
If you're looking for a delicious soup that isn't Indian but lets you experiment with flavours then chef Vedant Newatia at Atelier V in Indore says you can make the Tingmo and Ema Datshi, a traditional Bhutanese steamed bun and cheese chilli soup, that is also the national dish of Bhutan. He explains, "It is a flavourful and spicy Bhutanese soup that is perfect for the monsoon as it has all the umami, spiciness and comfort in every spoon."


For the bread:
All-purpose flour 225 gm
Instant dry yeast 3 gm
Fresh yeast 9 gm
Salt 5 gm
Sugar 18 gm
Vegetable oil 18 gm
Ice cold water 125 ml

For the chilli cheese soup:
Red onion, thinly sliced 1 no
Garlic, thinly sliced 5-6 cloves
Spring onions (white part), chopped 1 no
Tomato, diced 1 no
Red chilli, sliced 1 no
Salt to taste
Butter 1 tbsp
Cheese (processed or any other of choice) 1 tbsp
Water/Vegetable stock according to desired consistency


For the steamed buns:
1. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix water, yeast, salt, sugar, and oil. Stir well to dissolve any large salt and sugar crystals and to hydrate the yeast. Add the flour and mix to form a dough.
2. Knead dough: Tip the dough out onto your table and knead for around 5 minutes. Aim for a dough temperature of 25-26 degrees Celsius (77-79 degree Fahrenheit). 3. Adjust proofing time based on the dough temperature.
4. First fermentation: Cover and ferment the dough for 1 hour.
5. Fold dough: After the first hour, fold the dough.
6. Second fermentation: Ferment for an additional hour.
7. Shape the dough: Roll the dough out to a large rectangle.
8. Brush with vegetable oil.
9. Fold into three layers.
10. Cut into 4 equal pieces, then cut each piece into 6 strips.
11. Stack three strips on top of each other, grab both ends of the stack, stretch it out, twist it, and tie it around your fingers. Ensure the ends are tucked underneath the bun.
12. Final fermentation: Place the buns on pre-cut pieces of non-stick paper. Cover and ferment for 1 â€" 1.5 hours or until well puffed up. During the final 15 minutes, prepare a pot of boiling water and the steamer. Place the buns in a preheated steamer.
13. Steam the Buns: Steam the buns for 12 minutes. Steam in batches if necessary, keeping the remaining buns in the fridge to prevent over-proofing.

For the chilli soup:
1. Cook soup: While the buns are steaming, combine all the chilli soup ingredients except the cheese in a pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add cheese: Turn off the heat and add the cheese, allowing it to melt. Stir everything together, and the soup is ready to serve.
3. Serving: Serve the steamed buns with the chilli soup on the side.

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