“Winter in Mumbai” is probably the biggest oxymoron of all. Here in Mumbai, we get our woolies out when the mercury touches
20o Celsius. After the wretched October heat, we start looking forward to November, which brings with it cool and pleasant climate. And what better food than soups to welcome the winter, right? I am a big…BIG soup fan. But I don’t make much soup at home; primarily because I still have this silly notion that soup will not be filling enough for Devansh; that I will need to give him something solid soon after he has his soup. I decided to test my preconceived notion by making a sweet potato soup, which I wanted to make for quite a while now.
Sweet potatoes are definitely one of the top superfoods as they are nutrient-rich—calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, to name a “few” nutrients. But I wanted use something more than only sweet potatoes to make the soup interesting. I thought of using carrots—another healthy vegetable with high nutritional value. I searched for sweet potato and carrot soup recipes on the Internet; there were plenty to choose from. I liked one particular recipe that used curry powder to make the soup spicy. Of course, since I was making this soup for a toddler, I couldn’t make it too spicy. I decided to use khada masala instead of using a readymade masala. The original recipe requires you to bring the mixture to a boil and then cook for another 20 minutes. I really hate babysitting my food for long, so I decided to use a pressure cooker. What you see below is a recipe modified as per my requirements, namely, cooking healthy food for a toddler and a shortcut phataphat method. 😉 You can view the original recipe here.
I fed Devansh this sweet potato and carrot soup in the evening. He ate all of this thick soup, so I’m guessing he liked it. I’m saying “guessing” because he ate half his soup without a fuss; for the remaining half Kalpesh and I had to entertain him with some kiddie videos on iPad. This has become a routine with all his meals lately. Smart Alec has realized that we’ll do anything to entertain him so that he finishes his meal. He is not very interested in TV otherwise; he will definitely not watch it when I want to get some work done and want him out of my hair for some time. But come meal time, he wants to watch some cartoon on TV or some video of a nursery rhyme on YouTube…”Wheels on a bus go lound and lound…” 8 out of 10 times. It is not enough to just play the cartoons or videos, we have to give running commentary. “Haww…look Nobita is going into run into Gian now…MY GOD!!” Only if the commentary is interspersed with adequate number of gasps and exclamations will the kiddo finish his meal. But finish the soup he did. Thank heavens…how life changes as your kid grows up. “My son eats everything I feed him without a fuss”, I used to boast once upon a time…SIGH…Can’t wait to see how things will be when he grows up to be a teenager. (Don’t know how to insert “rolling my eyes” smiley…)Although I made this soup for Devansh, who is now a toddler, I can recommend this soup even for younger babies. You can reduce the quantity of spices used if you want. As I’ve mentioned in my recipe, you can even remove the spices (khada masala) from the mixture before blending it. This will just add flavor without making it spicy. To enhance flavor, I used to add jeera powder (powdered cumin seeds) in Devansh’s food even when he had just started having solids. If you are not sure as to when is the right time to introduce spices in your baby’s diet, you might find this link very useful.
Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup Recipe
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato
- 2-3 carrots
- Half small-sized onion
- Small piece of cinnamon approx. half cm
- 2-3 black peppercorns
- Half tsp cumin seeds
- 1-2 cloves
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Chop sweet potato and carrots into small pieces. (Chopped sweet potato and chopped carrots should be of equal quantity. So you can decide how many carrots you need depending on the size of the carrots.)
- Chop the onion finely. (Onion shouldn't overpower the flavor of the soup. So it's better to use a small onion, that too half.)
- Coarsely grind the cinnamon, cumin seeds, cloves, and peppercorns using a pestle. Decide on the number of peppercorns and cloves depending on your child's age. If you haven't introduced spices in your baby's diet yet, you can add the spices without grinding them. You can later remove them from the mixture before blending it in a blender/mixer. You won't be able to remove the cumin seeds of course.
- Heat a small pressure cooker and add olive oil.
- Add the ground spices, sauté for 10-15 seconds, and then add chopped onion.
- Sauté till the onion turns soft. (This won't take more than 4-5 minutes since we're using very little onion.)
- Add chopped sweet potato and carrots, and sauté for a minute.
- Add salt and give the mixture a good stir. (Note: It is recommended to avoid adding salt in babies' food till they turn one. However, in my case I found that Devansh just wouldn't eat his food without salt. Hence, I started adding little bit of salt in his food. You can decide whether you want to add salt or not after talking to your child's pediatrician.)
- Add one cup water and then cover the lid of the cooker.
- Cook the mixture on medium-high heat till the first whistle, and then lower the flame.
- Turn off heat after the second whistle.
- Allow the mixture to cool, and then blend it to a smooth paste in a mixer. (If you're not keen on adding spices in your baby's diet, you can remove the peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves before blending the mixture. Cumin seeds should be fine but they need to powdered finely, so it's better to use jeera powder instead of whole cumin seeds. As I've mentioned above, I had started adding powdered cumin seeds in Devansh's food since he was 6-7 months old. Consult your child's pediatrician if you are not sure.)
- Heat the soup before serving it. (I wanted to feed Devansh thick soup so I didn't add any water. If you want, you can add some water or even milk to the soup at the time of heating it again.)