Bomdila Cuisine – Pea Soup with Morel Cream

Morel mushrooms feature prominently in the local cuisine of Bomdila. Dried and smoked, they impart a note of finesse on various gravies, sauces and soups.

At first glance, sweet peas and mint seem unlikely to ignite a fire of flavour. But topped with a swirl of rich morel cream, this soup suddenly tastes sophisticated and delicious. Planning a summer garden party or picnic? Hungry eyes are guaranteed when you pull this out of the basket.

INGREDIENTS (4 servings)

1 loose handful dried smoked morel mushrooms
Salted butter
4 large spring onions, sliced thinly
3 ½ cups vegetable broth
2 cups cow’s yoghurt
Salt
Red chilli powder
Extra virgin olive oil
4 cups fresh peas
1 ½ tbsp fresh mint, minced finely (plus 4 small leaves for garnish)

METHOD

Put the dried morels in a small vessel and cover them with ½ cup hot water. Set aside until morels are soft, around 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, lift morels out of the water (do not discard the soaking water) and transfer to a colander. Rinse with fresh water to remove any grit. Keep 8 small morels for garnish and chop the rest.

In a sauce pan, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add half the spring onion and the chopped morels. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Stir frequently. Add ½ cup vegetable broth and two ladles of the morel soaking water (don’t catch the grit). Boil for 6 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in yoghurt and add salt and red chilli powder to taste.

Pour the morel cream mixture into a blender and pulse till smooth. Transfer to a clean sauce pan and keep warm. Rinse your blender.

In a deep pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add remaining spring onion and stir over medium heat for a minute till glassy. Add remaining 3 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add peas and mint and simmer until peas start to get tender, about 7 minutes. Keep ½ cup of cooked peas aside for garnish.

Pour pea soup mixture into a blender. Add water as needed to achieve a silky consistency. Return mixture to a clean soup pot, reheat very gently and add salt and red chilli powder to taste.

In a small sauce pan, melt 1 tsp butter. Add 8 whole morels and peas kept aside for garnish. Add salt to taste and stir over medium heat for 1 minute.

Now transfer the warm morel cream into a beaked measuring cup.

Ladle the pea soup into bowls and “swirl” in the warm morel cream. Garnish the soup with mint leaves, whole morels and peas. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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