Some of my favorite foods are not easily available in Japan such as vegetarian chili, refried beans, or pea soup. Japanese food is great, but we all like a change once in a while. Luckily I have a source for dried organic beans and split peas (Tengu Natural Foods), so I can make my own comfort foods.
Here's how I make it - give it a try:
Hopefully, you have a pressure cooker.
Why a pressure cooker? First because the air is pushed out during cooking which saves a lot of the vitamins and flavor of the food. Second, your cooking time will be far less, and third, you'll save up to 70% of the energy you would otherwise use. But don't worry if you don't have one, you can still enjoy this soup.
What you'll need:
* 1 1/3 Tbsp. olive oil (20 ml)
* 1 onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots (350 ml)
* 4 cups vegetable broth (1000 ml) - preferably homemade or "low sodium organic"
* 1 cup dried split peas, sorted and rinsed (240 ml)
* 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves (5 ml)
* 1/2 tsp. ground chili pepper (2.5ml)
* 1/2 tsp. salt (2.5 ml) - optional, I leave it out for my hypertension
* 1/4 tsp. pepper (1.25 ml) - careful. I'm not a fan of hot seasoning and use less, but this amount seems right to many sailors.
* 3/4 cup uncooked brown rice (175 ml)
Some people would add chopped celery - feel free to improvise.
Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker and saute onion, garlic, and carrots for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add vegetable broth, split peas, thyme, chili pepper, salt and pepper to pressure cooker. Cover and bring up to pressure. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam the brown rice in a rice cooker, pressure cooker, or microwave rice cooker. Depending on the method, you may want to start the rice first.
Release pressure on the soup (I use the cold water method to bring it down quickly), open and stir in the brown rice. You're done. Enjoy!
I get about six servings from this recipe. Leftovers can be put into containers and kept in the refrigerator for a few days, or frozen for a couple of weeks. The rice absorbs water over time, so when you reheat it on the stove or in the microwave you'll need to add a little water or soymilk to get the consistency you like.
Add a salad and a French baggette and you have a great lunch or dinner.
Until next, sweet sailing.