Thursday, October 1, 2009

Indian Spiced Celery, Potato and White Bean Bisque

We started our dinner tonight with an Indian spiced soup. Going to two Indian markets yesterday I had Indian food on the brain and couldn’t stop thinking about it so I went with those flavors for our first course.

This soup did not come from a recipe it is a result of what I had on hand. I wanted something hardy and warming since it was so cool today on the east coast. When I want to make “cream soups” I frequently use either white beans or potatoes as the base, but today I used both. The celery was organic and had beautiful dark green leaves that gave the soup its color.

Even though this soup looks like split pea it tastes nothing like it. Although the texture of the soup is rich and thick like you would expect of split pea soup. This soup has the unmistakable aroma of Indian food.

Indian Spiced Celery, Potato and White Bean Bisque
Serves 6 – approximate 2 cups portions


1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
20 ounces potatoes, scrubbed and roughly chopped (if not organic peel)
2 cups cooked white beans (no salt added)
4 cups celery, roughly chopped including leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 ¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon fenugreek
¼ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
water to cover the vegetables
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 tablespoons reduced fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons cilantro for garnish


Water sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to cover the vegetables. Cook until are the vegetables are soft. Process the soup in your blender until it is completely smooth. Return to a saucepan and cook on low until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve add the white vinegar to the soup and stir. Taste the soup for salt and pepper and adjust as necessary. In each serving swirl a tablespoon of coconut milk and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 196.15
Calories From Fat (8%) - 16.44

Total Fat - 1.79g
Saturated Fat - 0.94g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 393.79mg
Potassium - 951.96mg
Total Carbohydrates - 37.67g
Fiber - 10.29g
Sugar - 3.14g
Protein - 8.44g


The first flavor you get from this soup is potato. Turmeric is the next flavor to come forward. The Indian spices are subtler than you would find in most authentic food. I liked the drizzle of coconut milk on top the soup. As with all soups the flavor of this soup will improve overnight in the refrigerator.

I have a few things I do every time I made soup and it seems to make a difference in the final product. When I add water or stock to cook the vegetables I add only enough to cover the soup and than add more if I need to. This seems to result in a richer flavor to the broth. At the end of cooking I always add a little acid, citrus juice, vinegar or wine. This has the additional benefit of needing less salt in the soup. The last thing I like to do is add fresh herbs when I serve the soup. Fresh herbs add lightness to a cooked soup.


  1. This looks like a wonderful soup full of flavor...but this is so weird...I swear we are on the same wavelength. As we speak, I am cooking a celeriac and pear soup for my post tomorrow, much plainer than your fab bisque, but much the same as the main ingredients in yours...potaotoes and celery.

    Actually today at work, I was wondering what to call it, and I thought...could I call it a bisque? But then I thought that since I didn't really know for sure what a bisque was, I should just stick to soup.

  2. Rose,

    You won't believe this but I also have a celeriac in the frig and it almost went in the soup tonight. That would have been very weird if I had used it.

    I wouldn't have thought of the pear that sounds interesting. What type of pear are you using?


  3. Bosc pears...I'm not a pear expert but I think any kind would work...I'm leaving the skins on to give a golden color to the soup.

    I used to work in a vegetarian restaurant, and one of the chefs there made a celeriac and pear soup one was years ago and I don't know exactly what she put in it other than those two ingredients, I don't even remember whether it was good, but that's what gave me the idea. Seems very autumnal. ;)

  4. Rose,

    The soups sounds really interesting. I can wait to see your recipe tomorrow. I love both pears and celeriac so why not combine them.
    How fun that you used to work in a vegetarian restaurant. That sounds right up my alley.

    I always leave the skin on organic fruits and vegs. I have convinced myself that the food has more nutrition that way and can't make myself peel it when it is organic. Chefs everyone are cringing as I type this. Oh well ;)


  5. OMG, you should open a vegan restaurant of your'd be a natural. I agree about the skin thing...can't beat organic produce.

  6. Rose,

    You are too nice. But I greatly appreciate the compliment.


  7. I mean it...have a good night.

  8. I leave the skins on too!!! That's where all the good stuff is! Insoluble Fiber, vitamins, not to mention the flavor of organic produce's skin! Yum. I myself worked in a vegan restaurant, and peeled only when absolutely necessary!


  9. Michelle,

    Thanks for stopping by. We have a friend that is a chef and I am sure he is horrified at the idea of not peeling produce. However, I agree with you on the nutritional aspect of leaving the peel on.



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