Tibetan Kitchen – Vegetable Momo Soup

February 28, 2016 § Leave a comment


I am on holiday in south India in the state of Kerala which is known for its beautiful beaches. Varkala beach is situated on a cliff and 3 bodies of water merge there making the sea very tumultuous. At midday it gets unbearably hot and I retreat to the Tibetan Kitchen  on the cliff top to rest in the shade where there’s a full breeze. 


I usually get this Momo soup for lunch as its a light meal. It comes many veggies including carrots, spinach and celery in the soup and the broth is light and simple. The monos are handmade by the Nepali cooks and have shredded carrots, cabbage, ginger and garlic inside. Tibetan food has so much soul which is why I keep going back. 


Thai Tom Kha Soup

January 20, 2016 § 2 Comments

This soup had to be my all time favourite for warming my bones on a cold winter day. The coconut milk makes it very creamy and the sweet and sour flavour is perfectly balanced on the palate. I like to serve it with cooked quinoa or vermicelli rice noodles to make it into a meal. 

The lemongrass and lime leaves are critical to the flavour, so it’s best to buy them fresh. You can buy them in produce or Asian stores but I go to Granville Island Public Market as the quality is best there. This soup does take some time to make but trust me it’s worth it.

Cooking Time 45 minutes
Serves 4

1 Tblsp (15 ml) olive oil x 2
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 small onion diced
3 cups (750 ml) boiling water
2 stalks lemon grass cut into big pieces
8 lime leaves
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Bragg or soy sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 lime juiced
1 tsp (5 ml) Siracha
1 tsp (5 ml) agave or sweetner
1 400 ml can coconut milk
2 cups (500 ml) chopped kale
1 cup (250 ml) crimini mushrooms
chopped thai basil and cilantro(optional)

1. Heat 1 Tblsp of oil in a medium stock pot. Sautee the garlic and onions. Add water, lime leaves,lemongrass and simmer for 25 minutes or until fragrant.
2. Add the Bragg, salt, lime juice, siracha, agave and coconut milk. Bring to a boil.
3. Remove the lime leaves and lemongrass. Puree the liquid and set aside.
4. Heat 1 Tblsp oil in the stock pot and the kale. Sautee until wilted. Add the mushrooms and sautee for a minute and add the liquid. Bring to a boil and serve. Garnish with thai basil and cilantro.


Broccoli Ramen with Kale and Bok Choy

January 19, 2016 § 1 Comment


My son loves those noodles soups that come in a package and so I started to experiment with a healthier version. This recipe is very healthy as it has lots of greens and I use organic noodles made from brown rice. It makes a hearty meal on its own and warms the soul on a cold day. 

Cooking time 30 minutes
Serves 4

2 Tblsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) each, broccoli florets, chopped kale, bok choy
2 tsp (10 ml) Bragg or soy sauce
2 Tblsp (30 ml) miso paste
5 cups (1.25 ml) boiling water
1 tsp (5 ml) siracha
1 Tblsp (15 ml) sesame oil
1 tsp (5 ml) each dried onion & garlic
1/4 tsp (1 ml) each tumeric, dried ginger
1 cup (250 ml) cooked ramen noodles per bowl

1. Heat a medium stock pot on medium heat. Add the oil and 3 veggies. Cook until soft about 10 mins.
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the noodles. Bring to a boil.
3. Cook the noodles as instructed and add 1 cup to a bowl and top with the soup.

Tomato Basil Soup

January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment


One of my favorite soups as a kid was Campbell’s tomato soup. My mother was obsessed with making curry and this soup  she allowed us to eat regularly. Tomato soup has always been a healthy comfort food and perhaps why Andy Warhol used it as one of his subject. My recipe is very quick and easy to make and definitely hits the spot. 

Cooking Time 20 minutes
Serves 4 

1 Tblsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/3 bulb minced garlic
1 small onion diced
1 tsp (5 ml) Himalaya salt
1 798ml can organic diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp (2 ml) dried basil
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
1 Tblsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground pepper
25 grams fresh chopped basil
sprinkle with grated parmesean(optional)

1. Heat a medium pot on medium heat and add the oil and garlic. When brown, add the onions. When they turn brown and soften add the salt.
2. Add the can of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Now add the basil, pepper, balsamic vinegar and water. Bring to a boil.
3. Puree the soup in a vitamix or blender. Serve with freshly grated parmesean.


Saya’s Vegetable Nabemono – Japanese Soup

August 31, 2013 § Leave a comment


I’ve always wanted to visit Japan and 20 years later, I finally made it. The food in Japan is so delicious and flavourful but the only problem is the menus are not in English. My first night in Tokyo I went out with friends who were meeting a Japanese friend for dinner. She was kind enough to let the restaurant know that I did not eat meat, fish, or eggs. We ended up having a full on feast and sampled about 10 items from the menu. I ate so much that I thought that I was going to burst.

The next day, I went sight seeing alone and was ambitious enough to follow a Japanese woman into a popular soba restaurant. I sat down and conveyed my dietary requirements to the waitress. She was very polite and spoke in broken English. She said that the broth had fish in it so I left.

In Japan most menus are full of photos so I stopped at a restaurant that had what looked like a vegetarian curry dish. The guy assured me that there was no meat or fish in the dish. So I sat down and ordered my meal. When the food came, I realized that had forgotten to mention that I do not eat eggs. Well this dish was an egg dish. I decided to make the best of it and ate the few pieces of eggplant with the rice and curry. I was still so hungry as even the salad had pieces of meat in it.

I didn’t know what to do.  For the next day and half I ate barely anything. The problem is that nothing is in English. I walked through 7-11’s in Tokyo and ogled the amazing Japanese food like noodles and sushi with hopes that something would be edible, but no luck. Fortunately, I soon went to stay with my Japanese hosts who were gracious enough to cook me delicious authentic Japanese dishes.

Japanese food, is prepared using simple cooking methods. The quality of the ingredients is very high and their cucumbers are beyond what I am used to in Canada. Their dairy is exceptional and the best that I’ve had next to France.

The Japanese value their relationship with their food. They say “Itakakimasu” before they eat, meaning I humbly receive. It signifies paying gratitude to the farmers and nature for creating the nourishing meal. After the meal they say the phrase “Gochisosama” which means thank you and gives thanks to the food for borrowing it’s energy.

I am very gracious to my hosts who have made the effort to feed me delicious authentic Japanese meals. Nabemono is one of my favourites that I can easily make at home. It is a hot pot dish that translates into dish of one. This dish originated in the rural areas and each family has it’s own recipe.

This is Saya’s recipe who made a vegetarian version for me. It is a filling dish with many healthy vegetables. The Japanese include foods that are good for them in their daily diet. I must say, that I am very surprised that there are no obese people here, almost zero.

The soup’s broth is light and citrusy because of the ponzu sauce. The vegetables are warming and would be enjoyable on a winter’s day.

8 cups (2 L) kombu stock
1/4 head nappa cabbage
1 carrot
1 large bunch green onions
1 stalk gobou (burdock)
1 cup (250 ml) mushrooms cut in half
1 yamaimo (Japanese yam) or regular yam
1 package firm tofu cut into 1.5 inch square pieces
ponzu sauce

1. Bring the pot of kombu to a boil
2. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise and then again lengthwise. Cut the cabbage on a diagonal angle in 1/2 inch strips. Cut the carrot, yamaimo and greens onions the same.
3. Cut the gobou in half lengthwise and then on a diagonal.
4. When the stock boils, add the firm veggies and let cook on high for 5 minutes.
5. Add the rest of the veggies and arrange the mushroom to one side of the pot and the tofu to the other side.
6. If you have a portable stove, set it on the dinning table and transfer the pot and continue cooking. If not, continue cooking on the stove. Cook until the veggies are cook and the colour of the stock turns a slight yellow from the veggies.
7. Add the 1-2 tsp of ponzu to your bowl and ladle the soup. Add hot sauce or spices if you like.


Tibetan Food

April 8, 2013 § 2 Comments

I spent the last few days of my trip in one of my favourite places in India, McCleod Ganj, home to the Dalai Lama. When the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet, India opened it’s doors to him and the Tibetan refugees. McCleod Ganj is up in the mountains and about a 12 hour windy bus ride from Delhi.

I arrived in the evening and the first meal that I had was a vegetable thukpa, noodle soup. It comes in a bowl with thin noodles, veggies, and lots of broth. The thing that I like about it is that it’s hearty and filling but easy to digest so you feel light after eating it. Like all Tibetan food it leaves a warm fuzzy feeling in the body.

veg thukpa

The next day I awoke early to head to the Dalai Lama’s temple for his annual public talk for Losar, Tibetan New Year. I am fortunate to say that it was my second time seeing His Holiness up close and being in his divine grace. The temple grounds were full of Tibetans chanting mantras with a handful of foreigners trying to get a glimpse of him. He spoke in Tibetan and some had radios where they could tune into various stations to hear the translation in other languages.

The early morning talk had stirred my appetite and I went for breakfast. I absolutely love Tibetan food and I have tried many different things. I can’t seem to get enough of it, well that is except for butter tea which is basically tea with a big chunk of butter in it. For breakfast I had Tibetan bread with an americano at a popular restaurant that overlooks the valley and the mountains. The Tibetan bread is pan-fried and quite dense and the americano went with it perfectly.

momosMomos- Tibetan dumplings

Street stalls selling momos, Tibetan dumplings, are scattered all over the town. For 20 cents you get 5 vegetarian momos either steamed or fried with hot sauce. I usually get the steamed version as it’s healthier. The soft and chewy dumplings have crisp and flavourful veggies inside, usually grated cabbage, carrots and tofu lightly seasoned with soy sauce. Momos are a Tibetan snack food staple that I love.

If you would like to try cooking Tibetan food for yourself, I came across a great website by a Tibetan chef. His website has many amazing Tibetan recipes with clear instructions including youtube videos, visit his website at yowangdu.com.

Chef Ned Bell’s Heirloom Tomato Soup

July 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

On Saturday July 21, 2012, Chef Ned Bell cooked an heirloom tomato soup at the Vancouver Farmers Market, Market Kitchen series. The second installment out of four, I was not only curious to see the Chef in action, but to see how the kitchen was set up during the event. To my surprise, they had transported a full kitchen with a gas range and fridge to the outdoor parking lot at Trout lake. A crowd gathered around to watch the demo and learn insightful cooking techniques.

The heirloom tomato soup is simple and something that everyone can make at home. Chef Bell added layers of ingredients and flavours that made the soup heavenly. After the demo, samples were given out with recipes cards and all the ingredients were available at the market.

I was quite excited to get a sample and try the soup. My first bite had a chunk of sorbet which made the soup feel cool though there was a spicy after note. On my second bite, I scooped up some of the cherry balsamic which was warm and tangy. The cucumbers were refreshing and felt like a palate cleanser. Overall the soup was delicious and I will make it soon.

This is Chef Ned Bell’s recipe for Heirloom Tomato Soup

Served 6-8
2 lbs heirloom tomatoes – assorted and seeded
1/2 lb cucumber – peeled and seeded
2 roasted red peppers – char grilled, peeled and seeded
1 clove fresh garlic
2 tbsp sea salt
fresh herbs – your favourite in-season variety
1 jalapeño – seeded and chopped

Puree all ingredients in a bar blender until smooth. Season to taste. Chill for at least an hour until very cold.

Cucumber Pickle:
1 cup honey
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 of 1 medium English cucumber

Bring honey and vinegar to a boil. Slice cucumber thin and soak in honey vinegar. Chill.

Cherry Balsamic Syrup:
1/2 litre white wine vinegar
2 cups honey
1 cup salt
1 lb cherries – stemmed but not pitted
1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

Put cherries in a heat-proof bowl or jar. Bring vinegar, honey and salt to a boil. Pour over cherries. All balsamic vinegar. Let cool.

Chef Ned Bell brought this spicy sorbet to add to the soup. It was amazing.

To serve, ladle the soup out into chilled bowls or a large family style bowl. Garnish with the cucumber pickle, cherries balsamic and fresh herbs. Optional, add one scoop of fruit sorbet per serving. Crack some fresh black pepper over top and enjoy.

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