6 Tastes Vegetable Soup

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In Ayurveda, we aim to have all 6 tastes with each meal. This helps us to feel full faster, remain satisfied for longer, and generally feel more balanced. I had the opportunity to experience this first hand when I went to India for three weeks this year. Every meal had all 6 tastes and I was surprised at the lack of cravings most of us experienced. We didn’t have processed food, sugary or snack foods, or even coffee or alcohol (or chocolate)! Yet I looked forward to each meal, which typically consisted of curried vegetables, rice, fresh naan bread, a soup or dahl, raw fresh radishes and carrots, spicy hot chutney, and some fresh fruit. We had chai made with buffalo milk twice a day instead of coffee or a snack. Considering my food obsession and love of variety, this was a real departure from my typical diet. The fact that I enjoyed eating this way and had so few cravings made me want to learn more about how to add the tastes missing in most North American diets: bitter, pungent and astringent.

Here’s a list of the six tastes and a breakdown of where the ingredients fit in. Some items fit in under more than one taste.

Sweet-carrot, onion, milk, coconut oil
Sour-lemon
Salty-broth and salt
Astringent-lemon, celery
Bitter-turmeric, lemon
Pungent- curry powder, celery, salt, black pepper

Time- about 30 minutes
Makes 2 large servings

1 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 tsp curry powder
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
6 medium carrots chopped
1 celery stock chopped
1/2 small onion chopped
1/2 cup organic whole milk or soy milk
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 lemon, peeled
Optional garnish- sour cream and green onions

Heat the oil and curry powder together and toast gently (about a minute depending on heat). Don’t step away from toasting spices as they can burn very quickly (I’m speaking from experience here). Have the broth and vegetables ready to toss in once you can smell the toasty curry powder. Simmer for approx 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and add to blender with the milk, turmeric, salt, pepper and lemon. Or you can use an immersion blender and blend right in the same pot. Drizzle with sour cream and top with green onions if desired.
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This is a great soup to eat in the fall, or like today, a cool rainy August day. If you need more texture (or calories), pumpkin seeds would be a nice addition. Always try to include as many local foods as possible. Today I was able to source fresh local carrots, celery, both types of onions, and milk. Reason number 87 why I love a farmer’s market…the carrots taste like carrots did when I was a kid!

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