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RECIPES: Try these yummy immune boosters

Spicy Butternut Soup with Chilli Cheese Crisps

Spicy Butternut Soup with Chilli Cheese Crisps

Published Dec 28, 2021


LIFESTYLE- AT a time when our bodies need all the help they can get, Videhi Sivurusan shares recipes loaded with immune-boosting goodness.

*Spicy Butternut Soup with Chilli Cheese Crisps

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Spicy Butternut Soup with Chilli Cheese Crisps

2 tbs (30 ml) olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tsp (5ml) garlic, finely chopped

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2-3 dry red chilli, roughly crushed

550 – 600g butternut, chopped into squares (4 cups)

2 tsp (10ml) coriander powder

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1 tsp (5ml) cumin powder

1 tsp (5ml) mixed herbs

1½ tsp salt

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1 litre water.

1½ cups grated veg

Chedder/gouda cheese, grated

2-3 finely sliced green chilli

Serving options – crushed red chilli. Milled black pepper. Roasted pumpkin seeds.


Heat oil in a pot. Add the onions, garlic and red chilli. Fry for a few seconds. Now add the butternut, coriander powder, cumin powder, mixed herds and salt.

Cook for 5 to 8 minutes on high heat stirring every now and then – making sure it does not burn. Then add water and boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the butternut is soft and mashes easily. Cook for about 30 minutes.

While the butternut is cooking down, spoon 2 to 3 tbs of cheese on a baking tray into disks. Add the chopped chilli. Make sure you leave significant gaps between them.

Place under a hot grill and toast until bubbly and golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they tend to burn quicky. Remove with a spatula.

Blitz the butternut in a food processor or a hand blender until smooth.

Handy Hints: Serve with crostinis or croutons. For an extra creamy texture, add a dollop of fresh cream. For a vegan option, add coconut cream.



Rasam is a South Indian staple that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is also known as the king of soups. There are many variations of rasam which differs from state to state in India. However, there are a few ingredients that are essential to rasam along with a number of health benefits.

The key ingredients are: tamarind, coriander seeds, turmeric powder, curry leaves, asafoetida (devil’s dung), cumin seeds, mustard seeds and garlic.

Rasam, one of the most nutrient-dense foods, is packed with vitamins; thiamin, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and niacin along with minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, copper and magnesium. Rasam helps to clean out your respiratory tract and helps you fight off flu-like symptoms as well as eliminate sore throats.


1/2 cup (125ml) dried tamarind soaked in 1 cup water for 5 minutes (black or brown tamarind) or 1-2 tbsp tamarind concentrate. You may use more tamarind for a tangier output.

3 -4 cups water

1 tbs (15ml) oil (add more if you like)

½ small onion finely sliced (optional)

4-5 small cloves garlic

1/2 tbsp (7.5ml) chopped ginger

1 small tomato finely chopped

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp (5ml) salt

¼ cup (60ml) coriander leaves with the stems

Ingredients for Rasam powder

Dry roast and pound together coarsely

½ tsp (2.5ml) black pepper corns

1 tsp (5ml) whole coriander seeds

½ tsp (2.5ml) whole cumin seeds

1 pinch fenugreek seeds

3-4 dry red chillies (adjust according to heat tolerance)

½ tbs (7.5ml) thoor dhal (yellow split pigeon peas)


1 tbs (15ml) vegetable ghee (optional)

½ tbs oil

¼ tsp mustard seeds

10 – 12 curry leaves

½ tsp (2.5ml) yellow asafoetida

1-2 red chillies roughly crushed

1-2 green chillies slit lengthwise (remove seeds to reduce heat)


Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. Remove the seeds and pulp – keep aside. Dry roast and pound all the rasam powder ingredients.

Heat oil in a pot. Add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the garlic, ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add the turmeric powder and tomatoes. Cook for a minute. Add salt as required and rasam powder. Stir it.

Add the tamarind extract and the balance of water. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn off the heat.

To temper: In a separate pan, heat the oil and ghee, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. The seeds should pop and the leaves should splatter. Add asafoetida and chillies. Pour into the rasam. Add fresh coriander leaves.

*Turmeric Tea

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric is a bright yellow aromatic powder which comes from the turmeric root. It is commonly used in curries and savoury rice dishes in Indian cooking. It has a warm and bitter taste, and a wealth of health benefits including reducing inflammation, increasing antioxidants and lowering risk of heart disease. This tea is a popular way of consuming turmeric. It has a unique but subtle flavour. The tea is also a great way to reap the health benefits.


1 cup (250ml) almond milk (unsweetened)

½ (2.5ml) turmeric

¼ tsp black pepper (optional)

1 tsp (5ml) brown sugar (optional)

Option 1:

Add all the ingredients to a small pot and bring to a boil.

Note: The black pepper helps with the absorption of curcumin, a chemical produced by the turmeric plant.

Option 2:

Boil 2 to 3 cups of water on the stove. Add 1 to 1½ teaspoons of turmeric powder, a small cinnamon stick and stir. Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the tea into another container. Add unrefined sugar to sweeten (optional).

*Follow Videhi on her blog and on Youtube.


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