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Indian-spiced pea soup with paneer

You'll need

8 golden shallots 2 garlic cloves long green chillies 40 gm ginger, coarsely chopped 1 cup (loosely packed) each mint and coriander 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for shallow-frying 1½ tsp each brown mustard seeds and cumin seeds 1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock 100 gm dried split green peas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained 700 gm podded peas (about 1.4kg unpodded) Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste   Paneer ½ tsp cumin seeds 1 litre (4 cups) Jersey milk (see note) 250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk


  • 01
  • Coarsely chop three-quarters of the shallots. Process in a food processor with garlic and chilli until coarsely chopped, add ginger and one-third of the herbs and process to a fine paste. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot mixture and stir occasionally until fragrant (4-5 minutes). Add spices, stir until seeds pop (1 minute), then add stock and split peas and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium and simmer until split peas are tender (35-40 minutes). Add peas, simmer until tender (5-6 minutes), remove from heat. Remove about ¾ cup peas with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add half remaining herbs to pan, process with a hand-held blender until smooth, add lemon juice to taste, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 02
  • For paneer, dry-roast cumin seeds until fragrant (30 seconds) and set aside. Bring Jersey milk to the boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, quickly stir in buttermilk and 2 tsp sea salt and stir until curds form. Tip into a muslin-lined sieve placed over a bowl and stand to drain (15 minutes; discard liquid), then stir in cumin.
  • 03
  • Heat 1cm oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining herbs, shallow-fry until crisp (30 seconds), remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Thinly slice remaining shallot, add to pan, shallow-fry, until crisp (1 minute), remove with a slotted spoon and drain.
  • 04
  • Serve soup hot scattered with reserved peas, paneer, crisp shallot and crisp herbs.
Note Jersey milk has a high fat content. It’s available from select farmers’ markets and delicatessens.

This recipe is from the October 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 6 people

Drink Suggestion

Ripe, spicy pinot gris.

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