The key to this soup is the garam masala. Garama masala is a spice mix used in Indian cooking that has a trademark mysterious, spicy and yet sweet taste. Literally meaning ‘hot mixture’ in Hindi, garam masala is prevalent in Northern Indian food. The mix of spices in each blend of garam masala varies, but most are comprised of some combination of the following spices: peppercorns, cloves, malabar leaves, mace blades, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, nutmeg, star anise and coriander seeds. While you could try to source each of these spices individually, for the sake of cost and convenience, I suggest looking for a garam masala blend in a local spice shop, gourmet food store or (if you happen to be lucky) your local grocer.
A few other notes. Because I roast at least one chicken per week, I usually have homemade stock on hand. Homemade stock is best because it contains nutrients from the bones that are normally tossed into the garbage after eating the chicken. In addition, a good amount of meat comes off the bones into the stock when stewed that again, would normally be tossed out. If you don’t have homemade stock on hand, purchase organic and low-sodium stock to ensure quality. You may want to add more chicken to your recipe, too.
Like all of my soups, this one is paleo. An Indian soup would normally include potatoes and especially lentils. I simply pump up the veggies and substitute white sweet potato for the regular tubers. White sweet potatoes are less sweet than the orange ones, and less sweetness works best in this recipe. I finish my soup off with a whole can of full-fat coconut milk, which gives it a slightly creamy texture and off-sets the spice of the sriracha and garam masala. Enjoy!
8-10 cups chicken stock
1 T each olive and coconut oil
2 medium carrots
1 large white sweet potatoes
3 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium zucchini
1-140z can roasted red or yellow peppers
2 cups mixed mushrooms
1 medium onion (yellow or white)
1 T curry powder
2 T garama masala
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks
sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste
1 T dried dill
1 T fresh, finely chopped anise fronds
1-14oz can of coconut milk
sriracha, to taste
Heat of your stock and drop chicken into it, cut into bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile, heat a big saute pan with olive and coconut oil to medium heat. Saute onions, mushrooms, celery, carrots and sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper, garam masala, dill and curry powder. Once veggies are soft, about two minutes, add them to the soup stock. Add roasted peppers. Let simmer about five minutes. Add coconut milk and fennel fronds.
Serve when desired, sprinkling extra fennel fronds on top of each bowl.