When the sky turns grey and the sun hides behind the clouds, when lightning flaunts its electric white hue and thunder splits our ears, we know what’s coming next, pouring rain! Monsoon is a season for garam chai and pakoras and although you may enjoy the weather in all its glory, it’s also a good idea to keep yourself warm before the rains take their toll on you. The first thing that strikes our mind at that moment is to rush to the kitchen and make ourselves a cup of hot tea or a bowl of warm soup, to keep us company as we sit in the balcony and watch the torrents come down.
But sadly the excess of moisture in the air makes it perfect for microorganisms to breed and our metabolism tends to slow down. Your immunity levels tend to be low during seasonal change and your body becomes vulnerable to catch infections. Due to this, our digestion and immunity is compromised severely. To counter this, you need to fortify yourself from within with the maximum inflow of vitamins.
Here are a few healthy soup ingredients that you must experiment with
- Mushrooms: They are full of B Vitamins, Vitamin D and antioxidants. B vitamins have been linked with healthy immune functions. They are also rich in selenium- a mineral touted to alleviate the risk of severe infections. Mushrooms are a great source of proteins as they contain all 17 essential amino acids required by the body.
- Meat and Fish: Whether it's chicken, mutton or fish and seafood, all of them are rich in protein. Not only does our body need protein to build and repair its tissues, but it also plays a vital role in boosting white blood cells that are responsible for fighting infections. Meat also supplies Vitamin B, zinc and iron. Omega-3 fatty acids (from fish and seafood) is also an essential component in keeping up the body's defence mechanism.
- Dark and Leafy Vegetables: Leafy greens like cabbage, spinach and broccoli are high in vitamins A, C and E, as well as folate, antioxidants and fibre. Try and include them in soups with a hint of aromatic spices.
- Spices: Load up on immunity boosting and anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, mustard, asafoetida (hing), coriander, turmeric, fenugreek (methi), cloves, pepper, cinnamon, garlic, ginger and curry leaves. They not only add a fresh flavour to your soups, but also boost your immunity and aid digestion.
A bowl full of stock and just sauteed veggies along with milk flavouring. This is such a soothing drink for the throat. When you just want to sip in something hot, broths are the best. So, here are some piping hot soups that will help you keep you toasty this rainy season.
- Moong soup with paneer: this makes for an innovative Indian recipe! Soft, pressure-cooked moong dal actually lends itself as a grainy and cream base.
- Lentil and vegetable broth: It’s an ideal way to start a hearty meal; alternatively it’s so jam-packed with the goodness of vegetables that it could even serve as a whole meal by itself!
- Mixed vegetable clear soup: Try out this hot and spicy soup that is sure to satiate you, meet your nutrient requirements with a horde of veggies. This recipe is made for those looking to strengthen their immunity as it combines several yummy and healthy vegetables. Perfect for those with diabetes, this recipe uses vegetables such as carrots, French beans, tomatoes, and peas. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K, all of which promote immunity.
- Spinach Soup: Almost every parent has had trouble getting their little ones to gobble up those leafy greens and palak surely falls in that category. Spinach soup however, is healthy and tasty. And be it a kid or a parent, its subtle flavours of onion, garlic, butter and pepper are sure to delight everyone. In fact, that's all you need to create this delicious soup. Also, it takes less than 20 minutes to cook, which makes it the perfect quick fix after a long, rainy day at work. You can also try spinach soup loaded with the goodness of fenugreek leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric powder and topped with crispy cottage cheese.
- Cream of Broccoli: Broccoli is another green vegetable that kids (and some adults) run away from. But, what they’re forgetting are its innumerable health benefits. So if you’re looking for ways to incorporate this vegetable into your family's diet, blending it into a soup with pureed broccoli along with milk may just be the best idea. It tastes so good, they’re sure to slurp it up. The recipe combines the goodness of broccoli and mushroom to create a rich soup that is simply yummy. The recipe adds a hint of pepper and cream to elevate the flavours of the soup. Broccoli is a great source of fibre and protein. Additionally, it also contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, magnesium. Among vitamins, it contains vitamins A, C, E, K and folic acid. Mushrooms, meanwhile, are rich in antioxidants.
- Tomato Soup: Now this one's an all-time favourite! A perfect low-calorie option for those who love a wholesome bowl of soup for a meal. Tomato soup brings with it all kinds of memories. From train journeys to picnics, this simple but delicious soup was everywhere. And why not? It’s just that easy to make. It can be made plain with just tomatoes or it can be paired with other veggies like carrots and beetroot which makes it taste even better and adds to the nutritional value. Tomatoes are rich in potassium, vitamins B and E which help boost immunity. Getting kids their daily dose of veggies has never been easier. You can up the taste by adding peppercorns that help in regulating heart rate and high blood pressure.
- Chicken Noodle Soup: Who doesn't love the combination of chicken and noodles? This is one soup that can have varied flavours and preparations, going from just a subtle tang to outright spicy. So make your monsoon evenings even more fun with this amazing yet healthy soup. Oh and you can even add in some pureed vegetables to the chicken stock for flavour and an extra dose of nutrients.
- Cheesy Baked Potato: Soup For all you cheese and potato lovers, you can now make soup using baked mashed potatoes! For the flavours to pop, just include a hint of garlic and parsley in the mashed potatoes along with some milk, cream and cheese. Once you’re done making your potatoes, just blend it well along with the vegetable stock and enjoy! You could garnish it with some bacon or grilled chicken and cheddar or mozzarella cheese to make it a hearty meal.
- Mushroom & chicken broth: A sumptuous broth made with the goodness of chicken and a great variety of mushrooms - button, shiitake, shimeji, enoki, and chanterelle. Wholesome and satisfying.
- Carrot Ginger Soup: This soup is bound to be a hit with the family thanks to the lovely, rich flavours of ginger and carrot. The soup combines the nutritious benefits of vegetable stock, carrot, ginger, and thyme. Ginger helps to aid digestion as well as reduces inflammation in the body. Carrot has a significant amount of dietary fibre which helps in maintaining good digestive health. It also contains immunity-boosting elements such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as potassium, phosphorus, among others.
- Pumpkin Soup: This classic soup is easy to make and is full of nutritious benefits. The creamy soup is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate. These are all elements that help the immune system stay strong and are just what you need in the monsoon.
- Rasam: This south Indian staple is the perfect soup for the monsoon. Made with toor dal, tomatoes, and a bunch of spices, you can combine it with rice, too, if you want to skip making an additional curry at home. Rasam is usually made with ample pepper, which is rich in vitamin B and calcium and helps to detoxify the body.
So open the windows and catch a whiff of the wholesome and nourishing soups simmering in your kitchen!