8golden shallots2garlic cloves1½long green chillies40 gmginger, coarsely chopped1 cup(loosely packed) each mint and coriander2 tbspvegetable oil, plus extra for shallow-frying1½ tsp eachbrown mustard seeds and cumin seeds1.2 litreschicken or vegetable stock100 gmdried split green peas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained700 gmpodded peas (about 1.4kg unpodded)Juiceof 1 lemon, or to tastePaneer½ tspcumin seeds1 litre (4 cups)Jersey milk (see note)250 ml (1 cup)buttermilk
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.
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.
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.
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.