Cool Off With
a Spicy Soup
by Dana Jacobi
for The American Institute for Cancer Research
When the weather is hot, spicy
dishes provide a form of internal air conditioning. This is one
reason Indian dishes, as with those in most tropical parts of
the world, use fiery ingredients so liberally. Whether its
a vindaloo heavy with cayenne pepper, curries studded with fresh
chile peppers, or a steamy cup of masala chai spiced with cinnamon
and black peppercorns, Indian dishes all encourage your bodys
natural cooling system by making you perspire.
During the Raj, the period
when India was ruled by the British, Anglo-Indian cooks, understanding
the health benefits of highly-spiced food yet aware of the more
sensitive Western palate, created dishes whose intensity was
adjusted to please the colonials. They succeeded so well that
recipes for favorite dishes of the Raj, especially gentler curries
made with prepared curry powder and mulligatawny soup, traveled
as far as the United States. For Americans who grew up before
the influx of Indian immigrants brought more authentically native
cooking to our shores, dishes popular during the Raj were among
the first Indian foods Americans tasted.
Summer and winter, mulligatawny
soup, a ruddy purée that the British enhanced by adding
chicken, is a light but filling one-dish dinner. To enrich the
broth, whole, bone-in but skinless breast, can be poached in
a commercial chicken stock. It comes out beautifully succulent,
while boneless cutlets overcook easily, turning dry and tough.
This mulligatawny includes
beans and an apple. Puréed in the soup, the beans assure
a creamy texture while keeping it healthfully lean and adding
beneficial complex carbs. The apples sweetness softens
the underlying edge of the gingers flavor and the many
spices used in curry powder. Adding a dollop of yogurt to each
bowl of the finished soup provides a cooling contrast to the
soups flavor. You can also garnish it with unsweetened
coconut flakes, available now with reduced fat and without sulfites,
at many health food stores.
Soup - Makes 5 servings.
- 1 skinless whole chicken breast,
1 1/4 lbs.
- 4 cups fat-free, reduced sodium
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained
- 1 large onion, chopped, 1
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled,
cored and diced
- 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 small green bell pepper,
seeded and diced
- 1-1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
- Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
- 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 medium potato, peeled and
- 1/2 cup plain (unflavored)
non-fat or low-fat yogurt
- 8 tsp. reduced-fat dried coconut
(optional), for garnish
Place the chicken in a deep,
large saucepan. Add the broth, beans, 1 cup of the onion, and
apple. Over medium-high heat, bring the liquid to a boil, reduce
heat, and simmer until the chicken is white in the center, about
25 minutes. Remove the chicken. When it is cool enough to handle,
pull apart the meat into bite-size pieces and set aside. Transfer
the remaining contents of the pot to a blender and whirl to a
puree. Set aside. Wash out the pot.
In the clean pot, heat the
oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the remaining onion,
and green pepper until soft, about 6 minutes. Mix in the curry
powder, ginger, and cayenne, if using, until they are fragrant,
about 1 minute. Add the puréed soup, potato and tomato
paste. Simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
To serve, divide the chicken
among 4 soup bowls. Add the soup, then the yogurt. Sprinkle on
the coconut, if using, and serve.
Per serving: 323 calories, 5 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated
fat), 34 g. carbohydrate, 38 g. protein, 6 g. dietary fiber,
530 mg. sodium.
Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author
of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICRs New
American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy
The American Institute for
Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research
on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight
management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature
and educates the public about the results. It has contributed
more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities,
hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published
two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research
in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review.
AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help
millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower
cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is
presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the
World Cancer Research Fund International.
AUGUST 25, 2005