I learned this recipe from My Green Roots back in university and it has brought me nothing but comfort and envious glances from other backpackers – a great way to make new friends, really.
The recipe uses tomatoes that keeps the broth light, while adding turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper which gives it a slightly spicy kick and a warmth that’s perfect on cold summer nights.
While travelling, I’ve made this countless times, often swapping out vegetables for whatever I can find cheaply in the local markets or supermarkets. Other times, I’ve skipped out on some spices, using whatever I can in the kitchen cabinets of whatever hostel I happen to be at. The one thing I never skip out on is fresh ginger and use the leftovers to make ginger tea.
I thought it’d be fun to share my version of this recipe that has made countless people smile.
Utensils: Mug, Tablespoons, Teaspoons, Large pot
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 fresh tomato chopped up for extra tang
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped (I use a lot thanks to my Baba Nyonya taste buds)
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- Salt and pepper
- Water to add as needed
Optional spices you find
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 2 pieces of star anise
- 4 – 5 cloves
- 4 -5 whole pepper corns
- Half a fresh chilli (chopped) or a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
- 1/4 Vegetable bouillon cube
Any vegetables you can find
- 1 mugs of fresh hard vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces (For example, carrots and broccoli)
- 1 mug of fresh soft vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces (For example, brinjals, green beans, peas, peppers, cucumbers, zucchinis)
- 1 mug of fresh leafy vegetables cut into pieces that you can fit into your mouth (For example, spinach, lettuce, radicchio, kai lan)
- If you’re having this dish without rice, add 1 mug of something starchy (For example, cooked lentils, cooked chickpeas or cut-up potatoes)
Cooking instructions (20 – 30 minutes)
- On medium heat, add oil garlic, ginger and onions into the pot. Fry till onions are translucent and begin to turn brown.
- Next, add all the spices you’ve managed to find. Fry till turmeric has turned the oil yellow or until the kitchen smells spicy.
- Add your canned tomatoes now.
- Then, toss in your hard vegetables like carrots and broccoli. If you’re using potatoes, add them in here. Let it come to a gentle bubble.
- Add your tomato and softer vegetables in next and stir well. If you’re using lentils and chickpeas, add them in here.
- Make sure your vegetables are covered in liquid. Add more water if needed.
- Throw in your tiny piece of vegetable bouillon.
- Cover the pot with a lid or plate and let it simmer again.
- Once it’s simmering, turn down the heat and add in your leafy vegetables.
- Put the lid back on again. Once it’s simmering, turn the heat down and leave it be for 10 minutes. Crack open a bottle of beer or wine.
- Taste it. Does it need more salt? Pepper? More spice? Add a little at a time till your taste buds dance.
- Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with rice or quinoa or with a thick slice of bread and plain yoghurt.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!