FRAGRANT BEETROOT AND VEGETABLE SOUP WITH SPICED LAMB KUBBEH

The Jewish community from Cochin in India is scattered now but they are still famous for their cuisine. This tangy soup is served with dumplings make of bright yellow pasta wrapped around a spice lamb filling and a spoonful of fragrant green herb paste.

SERVES SIX TO EIGHT
INGREDIENTS
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 courgette (zucchini), diced
  • ½ celery stick, diced (optional)
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 2.5 ml / ½ tsp curry powder
  • 4 vacuum-packed beetroots (beets) (cooked, not pickled), finely diced and juice reserved
  • 1 litre / 1¾ pints / 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 400 g / 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 45-60 ml / 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 15-30 ml / 1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar, to serve
  • For the kubbeh
  • 2 large pinches of saffron threads
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp hot water
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 250 g / 9 oz lean minced (ground) lamb
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp vinegar
  • ½ bunch fresh mint, chopped
  • 115 g / 4 oz / 1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2-3 pinches of salt
  • 2.5-5 ml / ½-1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 45-60 ml / 3-4 tbsp cold water
  • For the ginger and coriander paste
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 15-25 ml / 1-1½ tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
  • ½-4 fresh mild chilies
  • ½ large bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
    COOK'S TIP
    Serve any leftover paste with meatballs or spread on sandwiches.
  1. To make the paste, put the garlic, ginger, and chilies in a food processor and process. Add the coriander, vinegar, oil, and salt and process to a puree. Set aside.
  2. To make the kubbeh filling, place the saffron and hot water in a small bowl and leave to infuse (steep). Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion until softened. Put the onion and saffron water in a food processor and blend. Add the lamb, season, and blend. Add the vinegar and mint, then chill.
  3. To make the kubbeh dough, put the flour, salt, and ground turmeric in a food processor, then gradually add the water, processing until it forms a sticky dough. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes, wrap in a plastic bag and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 10-15 pieces. Roll each into a ball, then, using a pasta machine, roll into very thin rounds.
  5. Lay the rounds on a well-floured surface. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each. Dampen the edges of the dough, then bring them together and seal. Set aside on a floured surface.
  6. To make the soup, heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add half the garlic, the carrot, courgette, celery, if using, cardamom pods, and curry powder and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add three of the diced beetroot, the stock, tomatoes, coriander, bay leaves, and sugar to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  8. Add the remaining beetroot, beetroot juice and garlic to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside until ready to serve.
  9. To serve, reheat the soup and poach the dumplings in a large pan of salted boiling water for about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dumplings from the water as they are cooked and place on a plate to keep warm.
  10. Ladle the soup into bowls, adding a dash of vinegar to each bowl, then add two or three dumplings and a small spoonful of the ginger and coriander paste to each. Serve immediately.
Fragrant Beetroot And Vegetable Soup With Spiced Lamb Kubbeh