Pakistani Chinese Chicken Corn Soup

This soup takes me right back to the hospital room where my aunt is ladling her famous Chicken Corn Soup into bowls for the kids as we younglings excitedly watch another heavily pregnant aunt breathe through her labor pains on the hospital bed. We slurp the soup. The pregnant aunt heaves a sigh. That’s a really strange memory. This aunt was a “soup bearer” and would always bring a huge stainless steel pot with a giant ladle along with her to family picnics, dinners and funerals.

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French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup Rookie with a Cookie

There aren’t too many things that speak of winter, rain, overcast and gloom quite like a steaming bowl of French onion soup. This soup that often intimidates newbies requires only caramelization and simmering of onions in a basic beef broth. That is it! But my goodness, this soup is all you need on that cold afternoon when the weather app on your phone is showing 50% chance of rain and all your friends have gone into hibernation.

Right after shooting this video, I came down with a nasty cold. And believe me when I say this… I had 6 cups of this soup throughout the day and was back to 100 within 12 hours without popping a single tablet! You may not think that’s a big deal, and Ill ask you when you’re cocooned in a blanket waiting for the Day/NyQuil to kick in.

French Onion Soup
 
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This is how I make French onion soup, complete with a slice of toasted french bread and the pungent gruyere cheese!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: French
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large yellow onions
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 3-4 Bay leaves
  • French bread slices
  • Gruyere cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil.
  2. Slice onions thinly and add to the pan. Stir for 5-6 minutes until onions are soft.
  3. Sprinkle salt and sugar and allow the onions to caramelize and brown on medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Next, sprinkle flour over the caramelized onions and mix really well. This will help to thicken up the soup just a little bit. Just a tad!
  5. Next, pour in beef broth and add bay leaves. Let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
  6. While the soup is simmering, slice french bread and toast it on both sides. I toast it under the broiler in my oven.
  7. To assemble French onion soup, pour a couple ladles of the soup into an oven-safe bowl.
  8. Place the toasted french bread on top, and grate gruyere cheese generously on top.
  9. Place the bowl into the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and brown.
  10. Serve immediately!
 

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

I have to admit I am that girl you see at the grocery store sampling soups at the soup bar. And this Tomato Basil Bisque or soup (but let’s go with bisque because it sounds more sophisticated) was inspired from one of those samplings. Anything I try lights up a tiny bulb in my head and I whisper to myself I need to make a video on this. So after sampling the tomato soup one fine afternoon, I brisk walked to the fresh produce, scooped up tomatoes on the vine into the plastic bag until the bag ballooned and threatened to rip, threw in carrots, onions, heavy cream from the refrigerator.

Tomato soup can be boring if you just throw tomatoes and other stuff in a pan and puree them. And people do that! But that’s not fun. I want that roasted punch. I have been hooked on roasting veggies lately. It brings out the sweetness in them and the slightly charred edges are worth picking at. So that’s what I did. Roast the veggies till they blister a bit and puree them. Voila! This is really a no-fail soup that will keep you filling your bowl again and again if only for the aroma of basil. KEY. The bisque is light and creamy. You want to serve it with a slice of buttery toasted baguette. Like my Chicken Tortilla soup and Clam Chowder, this Tomato Basil Soup is not fussy. I don’t like fussy soups and fussy people.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
 
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This Tomato Basil Soup is luscious and creamy. And best of all I roast all my veggies to kick up the flavors!
Author:
Recipe type: Tomato Basil Soup
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 6 tomatoes (preferably on the vine)
  • ½ medium onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp crushed chili peppers
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • salt to taste
  • Basil leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line two baking sheets with foil.
  2. Slice carrots, onion and tomatoes in circles. Lay tomatoes in one pan and the rest of the veggies in the other. Toss in garlic cloves with the peel on.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle brown sugar and a pinch of salt evenly and give the veggies a toss. The brown sugar will help the veggies caramelize and bring out the sweetness.
  4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. The tomatoes take a little more time so take out the pan with the carrots, onions and garlic early if they look nice and roasted.
  5. In a pot oven medium heat, melt butter.
  6. Next, squeeze out the roasted garlic pulp out of the husk and stir for a few seconds.
  7. Next add tomato paste and crushed chili and stir for a few seconds to bring everything together.
  8. Tip all the roasted veggies into the pan. Scrape using a spoon if they are stuck to the foil. The charred bits are the best! (Make sure you don't accidentally add in the foil as you scrape.)
  9. Throw in basil leaves along with chicken stock. Let simmer gently for 3-4 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse together.
  10. To puree, pour everything into a blender and blend until smooth. If you have an immersion blender, that will work beautifully!
  11. Now pour the pureed soup back into the saucepan, add in cream, a few basil leaves and stir.
  12. On very low heat, let the soup warm up.
  13. Pour your tomato basil soup into bowls and top with a basil leaf and serve alongside a slice of baguette.
 

Clam Chowder

 

I don’t make soups all that often at the apartment. Usually, I throw down some tacos or a quick old-fashioned chicken curry with all the Pakistani spices to get myself out of a pickle on a work day. Honestly it’s more out of sympathy for my poor brother than anything. But when I make something good, I make it a lot of times until I tire from it. This Clam Chowder proudly simmers about twice a week in my apartment. Yes, I use canned clams for convenience and yes I cut corners, but I would totally scrub scrub scrub 3 lbs of fresh clam shells, boil it in salted water if i didn’t work and read books all day with bottomless mimosas…eh coffee in my case. But I’m being practical. Regardless, this chowder is delicious and thick and smells wonderful.

Clam Chowder

You are really just opening some canned clams, chopping some veggies, pouring some juice, adding some cream and before you know it, you’ll be chowing down on this chowder! But I don’t know which of my soups I like the best because I have a killer Chicken Tortilla Soup here that will knock your socks off.

Clam Chowder
 
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A few ingredients will whip up the best clam chowder!
Author:
Serves: 6-8 bowls
Ingredients
  • 3 cans of clams in clam juice
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cups potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup half and half (or cream if you like a really thick chowder)
  • Croutons for garnish
Instructions
  1. Open the can of clams and drain them. Reserve the clam juice.
  2. Dice the vegetables.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter and saute vegetables for five minutes with the spices.
  4. Next, add 2 more tbsp of butter and let it melt.
  5. Sprinkle flour and stir really well to incorporate.
  6. Add in the reserved clam juice. Give it a quick stir then pour in chicken stock.
  7. Add bay leaves and let the soup simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft.
  8. Next, add half and half or cream.
  9. Finally, throw in the clams and simmer only until clams are heated through. If you cook the clams for too long, they will get tough.
  10. Serve hot, top with croutons and enjoy!
 

 

Best Chicken Tortilla Soup

At the time of filming this video, it was 80 degrees outside–temperature that definitely doesn’t warrant standing before a hot stove to cook soup. But if weather deterred me from making soup on a hot day, I wouldn’t take my coffee extra hot at the coffee shops I frequent. So my solution is to turn up the AC to full blast and get cooking. And just to be in the spirit of the changing “season,” I’ll throw on the coziest knitted sweatshirt because there is nothing like holding a warm bowl in hands gloved loosely with the sleeves of your sweatshirt. If the weather is particularly overcast, I would pull away my blinds, turn on some nostalgia-evoking classic movie and enjoy this bowl of comfort.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
  Now about this soup, I must admit with a great deal of humility that this chicken tortilla soup is very different from the ones I have tried at restaurants. The roasted pepper adds a wonderful smoky flavor and the tart tomatillos balance out the sweetness of the tomatoes and sweet onion. And of course, the spices are there to bring all these flavors together in holy matrimony... or something like that. Also, I am happy to report that the heat is finally letting up now. My a/c is turned off, so aside from me clicking way on my laptop and the fridge slumbering away in the kitchen, the night is pretty quiet and cozy. I've slipped on that cozy sweatshirt for real this time, too. The only thing that makes sense right now is to pour some of that amazing soup and build a canopy of tortilla strips!
Best Chicken Tortilla Soup
 
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A chicken Tortilla Soup that will make you want to cozy up in front of the TV watching some classics!
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • ¼ tsp each cumin powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper (roasted on stove and chopped)
  • 4 tomatillos, husk removed and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes in jalapenos (OR diced tomatoes in chilli, OR just diced tomatoes if you can't find the other two AND ½ of a jalapeno pepper deseeded and chopped)
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2-3 corn tortillas
  • cheese (optional)
  • coriander leaves for garnish
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle chicken breast with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper and rub evenly.
  2. In a saucepan with high sides, add about a tbsp of oil and cook the chicken on high flame until brown on both sides. Remove to a clean plate. *The chicken doesn't need to be fully cooked right now.*
  3. To roast the green bell pepper, simply place it directly on the burner with the flame on. Rotate the bell pepper until the skin is charred and you get black spots around it. Remove from burner. Let cool for a few minutes, then chop.
  4. In the same saucepan in which you seared the chicken, throw in chopped onion, bell pepper and chopped tomatillo. Sautee the vegetables until soft, about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  5. Next, add garlic, stir, then add in cumin and cayenne pepper.
  6. Stir the vegetables really well until they're coated in the spices.
  7. Next, tip in the can of diced tomatoes in jalapeno along with the chicken stock and black beans.
  8. Squeeze the juice from one lime and let the soup come to a boil.
  9. Once the soup is bubbling, immerse the half-cooked chicken breast into the soup and turn the flame to medium-low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Remove the chicken from the soup to a clean plate and shred it thinly.
  11. To thicken the soup, ladle half the soup into a blender and puree until smooth.
  12. Pour this back into the soup along with the shredded chicken and let the soup simmer for about 5 minutes.
  13. To make the tortilla strips, cut corn tortilla length wise.
  14. Next, heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a pan for frying. Add in your tortilla strips and fry them until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove them to a kitchen towel.
  15. To assemble, ladle the soup into a bowl, add shredded cheese, crushed tortilla strips, and a few cilantro leaves. Serve warm and become a couch potato!
  16. This easily serves 6-7 people!