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Cucumber and Mung Bean Soup
(Kheera dal Shorva)
It's an exotic first course; serve hot to 6-8 people; distinctively the subcontinent of India.
Wash and pick over the mung beans, then put in a large saucepan with the turmeric and 2 and 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes--until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally. Puree coarsely, then measure and add enough hot water to make 5 cups of puree. Add the potatoes, onions, cucumbers, and salt to the puree, and bring to a boil, stirring, over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. At this point, you can remove the soup from the heat and keep until you are ready to serve.
When ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer. In a small pan, bring the oil to the smoking point, add the cumin and black pepper, and fry until the cumin turns dark brown--a couple seconds. Remove from heat quickly and pour into the soup. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro leaves and mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, and serve hot, with a spray of whole cilantro leaves on top.