My real love for food lies in those dishes pervaded by a sense of warmth and richness, qualities which are epitomised by autumnal cuisine. The idea behind this dish came from a GoodFood recipe entitled Indian Winter Soup. However, it was used more as a guide for what one should do with pearl barley, something I had never cooked before, rather than as a set of defined directions. This meal was simply delicious, so warming and nutritious – this soup really does perfectly encapsulate what autumn, my favourite season, means for my kitchen.
At this time of the year butternut squash, one of my very favourite fruits, comes into season. Despite the unfortunate fact that it smells rather like a pumpkin the butternut squash, when cooked, develops a sweet and nutty flavour perfect for this time of the year. These wondrous fruits are also extremely low in fat and carbohydrates, yet are packed full of vitamins and fibre, which means that they are rather filling and are therefore jolly healthy.
As I mentioned above, this was my first experience of pearl barley, barley which has had its hull and bran removed, which turned out to be a very impressive grain. Once cooked it becomes tender and juicy very much like rice, which is probably the reason it can be used to make risotto – something which I shall attempt in the next few days. Pearl barley is also exceptionally cheap at a mere 68p for 500g, which is enough for five meals for three or four people making it an exceptionally frugal ingredient.
Right from the start I really wanted this dish to be as warming and as satisfying as possible. Caraway seeds, another unfamiliar ingredient, more than any other allowed me to attain this ideal. These little seeds look a little similar to cumin seeds but taste more like a cross between orange peel and aniseed, which made me feel a little as though I should be making mulled wine and not an Indian soup. Anyway, that’s quite enough about ingredients and flavours, please enjoy this delicious autumnal soup.
Autumnal Indian Soup
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 200-300g butternut squash, fairly large chunks
• 100g pearl barley, rinsed and cooked for 10 minutes beforehand
• 200g split red lentils
• 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
• Knob of ginger
• 2 large cloves of garlic
• 1-2 chillies, depending on taste
• Small handful of fresh coriander
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• ½ tsp ground turmeric
• ½ tsp caraway seeds
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1. Make a paste out of the ginger, garlic, chillies and coriander – this can be done by chopping, or much quicker in a food processor. Fry the dry spices in a little oil until the caraway seeds begin to pop. Add the onion and the fresh paste to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes.
2. Add the squash, pearl barley, lentils and tomatoes and around a litre of water. Simmer until the squash is tender and the lentils are cooked through. One may need to add a little more water. Serve with a little fresh coriander.
Cost: As they are coming into season a 650g squash costs exactly £1 which makes this dish exceptionally frugal indeed – the entire dish should cost little over £1 to make. This means that each portion comes in at a very tasty 25p. I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty incredible.
62 replies on “Autumnal Indian Soup”
I’ve never seen this paste-making technique, exactly. The photo was helpful — thanks. — Sharyn
I don’t know why, but it really does help the flavour. I guess it must release the juices better.
Perfect timing. I brought home a squash and barley earlier this week. Great rainy weather dish.
Phenomenal looking recipe and absolutely perfect for this time of year. Cheers!
Thanks so much! That’s what I was going for 😀
I love barley soup and I love yours!
My first ever barley soup and it was soooo delicious.
I have not eaten pearl barley for the longest time! It’s great and seriously cheap! Thank you for the reminder, I have just added it to my shopping list. I always thought a butternut was a vegetable – live and learn hey.
Have a happy day.
So, it is so good. I can’t wait to make a risotto out of it.
This sounds SO good.
it was 😀
we are having soup this friday, that is as far as my decision went, but now i think we will have your soup! c
Hope it went well!
I was just thinking it was time to pick up some squash. Definitely, now!
Wow, wow and double wow! looks so rich in flavors! What I would do to get a taste!! congrats!
Thanks so much 😀
That looks delicious. I love butternut squash also but it needs some spice to liven it up!
Definitely just a little, I love the quality it gives
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This looks DELICIOUS! I can’t wait to try this, thanks so much for sharing, and great pictures!
Hope you enjoy it!
Wonderful! Can’t wait to try it–butternut squash is one of my husband’s favorites, so I’m sure he’ll enjoy it as well.
Hope he does 🙂
I love all of the spices in that recipe!
Me too 😀
looks amazing! i’m going to try this. we just recently roasted red kuri squash, which is similar! fall is great!
Soup looks good.
Go the Pearl, have used it this winter in soups as my elderly Aunt has been living witrh me and said she liked it, now I do too!
I also made us the cheese and garlic scones yesterday….no British tasty he but used Aussie tasty cheese and some parmesan…Yummmo, may I share this recipe with a link back to your site?
I have been wanting to try cooking barley at home, I must try this sometimes. Thanks for sharing!
Wow, this looks incredible-along with all the other recipes on here! Beautiful photos, as well!
Thanks so much 🙂
Wow, that looks delicious!!! I bought butternut squash today and was looking for a new recipe…I was thinking more so along the lines of a creamy butternut squash soup..but now that I see this recipe I think I shall give this a try:D And I love barley! Thanks for sharing! Also, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me a sweet comment…it really was appreciated:) See you around!
Please do! Thanks for commenting 🙂 Barley is one of my new favourites.
So very seasonal! Might just have to make its way into my Canadian Thanksgiving meal this month
😀 I hope it does.
soupe très consistante ! elle doit bien réchauffer, j’aime beaucoup les épices, de plus elle est de saison, à retenir pour les jours froids
Perfect. I love dishes like this. Wonderful flavours!
Definitely an autumn soup — hearty and heartwarming!
YUM. This soup looks fantastic!! Perfect Fall soup.
It is 😀
This is a great Fall recipe! I love pearl barley because is such a hearty grain and so nutritious. I always make it Italian style but this Indian version sounds delicious!!
Thanks! I love barley now.
[…] substitute for meat. These also make meals much much cheaper.” Take a look at Nick’s Autumnal Indian Soup on his blog, Frugal […]
Yum this looks so tasty! I think you just served me an excellent idea for what to have for dinner tonight 😉
This is a perfectly luscious sounding soup, just right for the season. Thank you for it!
Nick this looks astoundingly delicious. Have you considered entering it into our Soup of the Month competition? This month’s theme is ‘recovery’ and this soup has so many antioxidants in it that it makes green tea look suspicious! We’d love for you to enter! http://bit.ly/oTeAAU
Thanks so much! I shall enter this evening!
this looks wonderful – can’t wait to try it.
I hope it works alright!
This looks wonderful! I might try it with sweet potato instead of squash…
Give it a go! It would work equally well.
[…] came out of what I could find around the house. I had half a butternut squash remaining from my Autumnal Indian Soup and there were also a couple of half dead leeks lingering in my fridge following our last trip to […]
This soup looks delicious and perfect for a chilly Autumn day. I can’t wait to try it so I can repost to my blog http://www.eatingwithoutmeat.wordpress.com–all the credit going to you of course! 🙂
It really is incredibly delicious – one of the more satisfying soups I’ve ever made.
[…] Take for instance Frugal Feeding, a marvellous blog that takes to heart the pleasure you can get when you put good quality locally sourced food at the heart of your cooking. When I asked Nick, the author, about his experiences about frugal cooking he responded, ‘I’d say that frugality is more about what you’re getting for your money rather than spending as little as possible.’ And I think that really hits the nail on the head, you can still eat fantastic food you just have to be a little clever about it – the saying ‘a little goes a long way’ springs to mind. Use cheaper cuts of meat and slowly cook them to tenderise them a perfect example of this is his Beef Bourguignon whilst pulses are cheap to buy, don’t go off and a bulk out curries such as this Autumnal Indian Soup. […]