6 Hearty And Desi Shorbas Perfect For The Monsoon Season
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Shorba is a term used in various Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Indian cuisines to refer to a type of soup or broth. The word ‘shorba’ comes from the Arabic term ‘shurbah,’ which means soup. It is believed that Shorbas made their way to the Indian subcontinent through Persian and Mughal influences.

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The Mughals, known for their love for food and rich and elaborate cuisine, incorporated shorbas into their diet, enhancing and modifying them with Indian spices and techniques. This led to the creation of numerous regional variants across India.

Shorbas can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian and are typically made with a base of water or stock, combined with spices, herbs, and other aromatic and flavourful ingredients. They have a warm and comforting quality that makes them particularly desirable on cold, rainy days. Shorbas are often considered to have medicinal benefits, particularly in traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda. Ingredients such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, and various herbs are believed to boost immunity and aid digestion.

Making shorbas at home can be easy and rewarding. They are easily adaptable and easy to experiment with. The spice levels, thickness and flavours can all be customised. Follow these simple recipes and tweak them as desired.  

Mutton Shorba

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This wholesome soup is slow-cooked and best made by using mutton with bones. The bones release a rich taste into the broth. Take a pressure cooker or a pot and heat ghee. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Sauté these till they become aromatic. Add chopped onions and sauté until golden brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Then add chopped tomatoes and cook them till they turn soft. Add in the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and salt. 

Add the mutton pieces and sauté them. Lower the flame, add some whisked yoghurt and cook the mix for a few minutes until it blends well with the spices. Add water, making sure that there is enough to cover the mutton. If you are using a pressure cooker, cook for 20–25 minutes or until the mutton is tender. If you choose to use a pot, cover and simmer for about 1–1.5 hours.

Dal Shorba

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Moong dal (split yellow lentils) is easy to digest. Dal shorba is easy to make and the consistency differs from the usual dal that is eaten with chawal (rice). Wash the yellow moong dal thoroughly and cook it with enough water until soft. You can use a pressure cooker for quick cooking. In a pot, heat ghee and add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Add chopped onions and green chillies. Sauté until the onions are golden brown.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and the oil separates. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, and salt. Mix well. Add the cooked lentils along with their cooking water. Add more water if needed to achieve the desired consistency. Simmer for 10–15 minutes, add garam masala powder and mix well.

Palak Shorba

Often included in diets for those who are trying to lose weight or want to eat healthy, the Palak Shorba is nutritious. To make this, heat some oil in a large pot. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Add chopped onions and green chillies. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 2 minutes. Add some chopped potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn soft.

Finally, add chopped spinach, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and simmer the soup for about 15–20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Blend the mixture to a smooth texture using an immersion blender or transfer it to a blender and then return it to the pot. 

Yakhni Shorba  

Yakhni shorba is a traditional Kashmiri soup that can be made with either chicken or mutton. Dry roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks in a pan until aromatic and grind them into a fine powder. Heat ghee in a pot. Add bay leaves and chopped onions. Add minced garlic, ginger, and green chillies. Add mutton or chicken pieces and cook on medium-high heat. Add chopped tomatoes and then turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ground black pepper, and the ground spice mix. 

After 2-3 minutes, pour in water, mutton or chicken broth to the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer till the meat is tender. In a bowl, whisk the yoghurt,  which is at room temperature. Gradually add a ladleful of hot broth from the pot to the yoghurt while continuously whisking to prevent curdling. Slowly pour the yoghurt mixture back into the pot, stirring gently to combine. Cook for another 10–15 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.

Beetroot Shorba

Beetroot soup may sound like it’s too healthy to be delicious. On the contrary, if made well, it can be very appetising. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cloves to the heated oil. Sauté until the seeds splutter and the spices are fragrant. Add the finely chopped onion, and ginger-garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the grated beetroots to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. 

Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, black pepper powder, and red chilli powder. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20–25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cloves from the shorba. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. Stir in the whisked yoghurt and simmer for 5 minutes.