Eastern European Cream of Mushroom with a South Indian Spice Tag
1 tablespoon butter
4-5 small white onions, finely sliced
1 1/2 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1/4 cup roasted New Mexico green chiles, finely chopped
2 cup low fat milk, hot
1 cup half and half milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sambar spice mix (found in Indian grocery stores, or homemade)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 stick fresh rosemary
Chives, finely sliced, to garnish
In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat the butter. Add the sliced white onions and fry till golden brown.
Add the rosemary stick to the onions, and fry for a couple of seconds. Remove and set aside.
Add the sliced mushroom and New Mexico green chiles and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
Slowly, pour the hot milk into the pot, while stirring the contents.
Mix the half and half milk with the corn starch till blended. Add it to the saucepan.
Add the the sambar spice mix, salt and the finely ground black pepper.
Mix the soup well, cover the pot, and set at low heat.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring the soup from time to time.
Garnish with chives, the rosemary stick and serve hot.
Pairs Well With
When Eastern European Borscht meets South Indian Sambar, it’s all “masala”, which can mean “a spice mix”, or “a mix of genres in one work”. And it also means a “rocky road” in the kitchen, and that does not refer to ice cream.
I come from Moldova, an Eastern European county, and my husband hails from a very orthodox South Indian Brahmin family. And we settled in Texas, to add to the fusion (or confusion).
Eastern European cuisine relies mainly on herbs, onion and garlic for bringing up the flavors in a dish, while its South Indian counterpart makes the best use of spices, both hot and fragrant, by the spoonful.
So how do you make a happy meal? I, who cannot stomach so much spice heat, and my husband, who cannot live without his daily, ubiquitous hot lentil sambar stew?
Pretty much, one step at a time, reducing this, adding that, cutting off little of this, pushing in a pinch of that…till you got it perfectly fused, and happy.
Meals in our home are mainly fusion ones, for the above stated reasons. And it’s been 13 happy years, and counting!
Here I have a perfect soup to qualify for a “take me back home” dish, back to India and Moldova. My mother taught me how to make this dish, and my husband inspired me to perfect it. Flavors of onions, rosemary and chives embrace those of the complex “sambar powder” ever so subtly, without overpowering or disappointing.