Food has become our comfort!
With the restrictions in place resulting from the pandemic and having the entire family is at home, food has become the center of our anxiety, boredom, worry, fear, and triumphs. I think we have been doing more comfort eating than anything. Come on, let’s face it, we are snacking more than we used to. I may not be hungry, but I pick on food because it’s available. My children can finish a week of groceries in what seems to be a Nanosecond. My concern was just the amount of time I spent in the kitchen preparing meals because I wanted us to be eating the right kind of food and staying clear of the over-processed options.
I prefer healthy meals!
Nutrition and healthy meals are very important to me. I take this job of meal preparation very seriously. However, preparing healthy meals can sometimes be such a production. At the end of preparation and cooking, I am almost always exhausted, so I decided to simplify things a bit. I decided to try more soups. Soup is a quick, easy and tasty meal and depending on what your ingredients are, they can be very nutritious.
Split peas and potato soup
Split peas and potato soup is definitely a great option that encompasses quick, easy, nutritious and tasty. My children would eat this dish and ask for seconds. It’s very filling as well. This is a variation of the soup that my dad used to make for us on Sundays. Sunday was a tradition of soup in our home. In fact, I think most Guyanese can relate to having soup on Sundays.
Other Soup Options
My favourite was cow heel soup but now that I am on my vegan/pescatarian journey, I would either do the soup with veggies only or maybe add a piece of fish particularly grey snapper to the mix. When I am in Guyana and I can get my hands on some snook (according to Wikipedia, its scientific name is (Centropomus undecimalis) or basha (not sure about the spelling for this one or scientific name but it is found in the Essequibo River), those are great options as well.
I have included a copy of the recipe below. I tried my best to add the correct portions of ingredients needed. When I am cooking, I basically take an average of the ingredients needed.
This is an easy go to option. It’s great for either an appetizer or a complete meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
If you’re using a pressure cooker, the cook time will be 40 minutes.
Salt for taste
14 cups Water
1/2 cup of split peas
6 small potatoes
10 cloves of garlic
5 sprigs of cilantro
2 heads of green onions (shallot/scallion)
5 sprigs of parsley
1 teaspoon chili peppers (1 miwiri pepper)
1 packet of grace fish tea/chicken noodle soup
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried chives
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Chicken (2 cups cooked)
Any meat that you’d like to add
Bring 12 cups of water to boil on a medium heat. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt for taste, add more if needed. Add sesame oil, fish tea/chicken noodle soup, dried parsley, dried chives, split peas, peeled potatoes. Allow these ingredients to boil for about 25 minutes.
If you have a pressure cooker, you can pressure the ingredients for about 10 minutes
While the first set of ingredients are boiling, start the dumplings (see recipe at the bottom of the page) if you would like to have these added. If not go on to the next step.
Once the potatoes and peas are soft, blend the mixture for about 2 minutes, at about 30 seconds at a time or until creamy.
Sauté onions, garlic, chilis, parsley, cilantro, and green onions. Add a pinch or two of salt for taste, cook for about a minute to two.
Add this mixture to the blender. Blend for 30 secs to 1 minute.
Pour mixture back into the pot, add a cup of water and stir. Let the mixture boil for 5 minutes on a medium heat. If mixture is too thick, add another cup of water.
Add meat. If meat is cooked, boil mixture for another 3 minutes.
If the meat is uncooked fish, add it to pot and cover. Let it boil for about 5 minutes on a medium fire.
After 5 minutes have passed, it’s safe to add the dumplings. Take a teaspoon or tablespoon (depending on how big you want the dumplings to be) and scoop up dumpling batter and drop into the pot. Cover the pot and let the dumplings boil for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add any veggies you may have like carrots, broccoli, snow peas. I like my veggies crunchy so I let them boil for about 1 minute and then I serve.
Yield about 6 servings. Serve hot.
Combine 1 cup of flour, with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Work them together until olive oil is well mixed in.
In a measuring cup combine 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water. Mix well. Add solution to flour mixture. Mix in gradually until flour is a paste. Set aside until it’s time to add to the pot.