Friday, August 28, 2009

Salan, All Souped Up: Two In One

Though this blog is named for soup, there aren't many soups to be found here. I blame that entirely on the weather, it's too hot for soup most of the time. But, as I read in another blog a few days ago (I forget which), we don't complain about the weather being too hot to eat piping hot food, so why crib about it being too hot to eat soup? Why indeed? Food for thought, isn't it?

Then, there's the other kind of hot, the Scoville units-kind. Sweltering heat and searing spices may not sound like a harmonious combination but we do end up eating that way, especially when we are used to it, don't we?

There might be some answers here.

The other day, I noticed a pack of the nicest banana peppers ever in the store - so smooth and blemish-free, so immaculate, they almost looked like waxworks. Now, why does something have to look fake for us to consider it the most perfect specimen? Amdist such ruminations, I then had a brainwave and decided to send a souped up version of the salan to No Croutons Required but discovered just now that I'm a week late. Oh well!

But back to the heat. The weather's hot, the soup's hotter, and I had to eat it with great gobs of curds to be able to finish it.

Note to Sra: Don't take banana peppers for granted - they are as hot as any other. So when the recipe says boil the peppers first, do it.

There's an onion in the ingredients list but it disappeared by the time the method was explained, so the book shall remain unnamed. I also made a few substitutions.

Note: Read through the entire recipe, and then prepare the vegetables, otherwise, they will stay in your fridge forever, like my onion did!

Chillies: 250 gm
Dessicated coconut: 1 tbsp
Peanuts/Groundnuts: 1 tsp
Sesame seeds: 1.5 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Cumin: 1 tsp
Dry ginger powder: 1 tsp
Garlic: 5 cloves, skinned, mashed
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
Tamarind: Soak a big lime sized amount in 1.5 cups of water and extract the juice
Oil: 2 tbsp
Curry leaves: A few
Salt to taste

Boil the chillies in salted water till they change colour. Drain.

Roast the sesame, peanut and dessicated coconut. Add the coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric and grind to a paste with just a little water.

Heat the oil and pop the cumin. Add the paste, dry ginger powder and garlic and fry till the oil separates.

Now add the chillies and curry leaves. Let them fry for a while.

Pour in the tamarind extract, and add salt to taste.

Simmer till the gravy is thick and oil floats to the top.

Now the Salan is ready.

On to the soup:

Take some of the curry, chillies and all, and pulverise it in the mixer. Your salan is all souped up and ready!


  1. I always thought banana peppers were slightly milder than other versions....but I've only ever used them to make bajji. So maybe the deep frying takes away some of that heat.

  2. Sra, I wouldn't drink the salan but refreshing it is with rice and ofcourse gobs of curd.

    Hot foods do actually cool you down. My mom atleast swears by it not that she cooks hot spicy foods though.

  3. This sounds so Unique!! I am not sure if i can have that as a soup, but makes me wonder what if it is turned into a gravy base? I am thinking fish!

  4. Sra,
    liked the US pics you posted in previous posts and this salan ,i am sure is very hot with those peppers...and it will add to the hotness of the weather there!! here it's always windy and cold, a much relief from the usual summer hotness back in home...

    hugs and smiles

  5. Very unique and one of it's kind recipe to me...

  6. Banana Pepper soup, mmmm sounds interesting!

  7. But they are mild when you remove the seeds.Whatever it may be I love hot soup!

  8. We make something similar (minus the peanuts ) and add in plenty of vegetables. Reminds of what we call Ambat.

  9. hehe, i like the notes to sra bit :D

  10. Note to Sra was good, I thought that banana peppers are milder that other peppers...

    And this is a new recipe to me...Thanks for sharing!

  11. Lovely!..My exposure to Banana peppers is only in Subway sandwiches:D

  12. I can't of having this spicy a soup.... may be like Soma suggested could turn it as a gravy base. :)

  13. I thought Salan was a kind of semi-dry subzi, guess I was wrong.
    I've only made and had bajjis with these peppers. They're supposed to be mild but the occasional fiery one can take the roof off your mouth!
    Didn't know boiling them took the fire out.
    Btw, why do you keep onions in the fridge?

  14. But Sra why would you morph the salan to a soup ? Just for the title of your blog ...naah naah...I love the salan but blending it all might masquerade the subtle flavors of the spice mix. But looks like it is still hot. But the weather has changed now and I think I can try this over the weekend ;)

  15. Jayashree, that's what I thought too. But I suppose boiling them and frying them takes away the heat.
    Indo, yeah, I have to eat really hot stuff and see whether they do that for me!
    Soma, good idea!
    Jaya, thanks, stay cool, lucky one!
    Lubna, really? Try this, then!
    Namratha, yes, and v hot!
    Rachel, yeah, yours truly didn't de-seed.
    RC, yeah, I've heard of ambat, must review the recipe now.
    Nags, yeah, talk about overconfidence!
    Cinnamon, thanks. Maybe these were a particularly hot strain!
    Shri, really? I don't much care for Subway here.
    Vijitha, salan isn't new, really, the soup might be.
    Vidya, careful, you can't handle the heat.
    Aparna, I mean the onion that I cut without reading through the recipe - by the time I came to method, the onion had disappeared from the recipe!!!
    Ni, just to create a sensation ;) But you're very right - I also felt that after I pulverised a portion to make soup, the soup only tasted of chillies, whereas the gravy had different flavours.

  16. Interesting soup...Thanks for warning about the banana peppers...I always thought they are so mild!

  17. Banana peppers are usually pickled in vinegar in the U.S. I've never had them freshly prepared in a recipe. I have, however, had Hungarian Wax Peppers, the palest yellow (perfect, like wax :D), but what a smack in the face!

    I've bookmarked this, Sra. Too delicious. And I will be sure to adopt your admonition as a note to self. ; )

  18. So salan, means soup ? I have only heard of mirchi ka salan, must be pretty hot

  19. Jyoti, not these!
    Susan, oh yes, there were hotttt! They were not sold as banana peppers, but I gathered that from the blogs.
    Bong Mom, no, salan does not mean soup, I made soup from some of the salan:-)