Bombay Soup – Kosher Cream of Chicken Soup (dairy free)
I’m sitting on my porch in Kansas City. It’s 11.00pm, the temperature is 17°, my shabbat (sabbath) meal is cooked, table is set and my beautiful wife is fast asleep on the couch. In Jerusalem it’s 7.00am, the temperature is thirty degrees warmer, and friends and family are waking to put the final preparations to their shabbat plans before heading out to their favorite coffee shop for brunch with friends. I spent over five years living in Jerusalem, five years that I would never take back and an experience I recommend to all. My plan was to stay in Israel for life. Man plans and G-d laughs. When I sat on my flight from London to Tel Aviv, with no return ticket in my hand, never did I expect I’d be raising my child in the Mid-West.
While the years I lived in Israel were brief, they gave me friends I plan to keep for life. I met my wife in Jerusalem, my son was born in Jerusalem and our Israeli rescue dog still lives with us today. I can’t put in to words the hows or whys behind our decision to leave the holy land, but I can tell you that I can love the land from afar. The summer that we decided to remain in the US was a summer that saw five other couples in our social circle make the same decision, and while I miss the life I lived in 2005, I feel that the streets of Jerusalem have changed and that life no longer exists.
2005 was a wonderful year. I was young, living in a new country, speaking a new language, and meeting new people. Many of those people are still in my life today. 2005 was the year of drinking Affligem at O’Connels, Fridays at the shuk and watching 24 with new found friends. I didn’t work in 2005. Between the savings I had and the stipend the Israeli government gave me as a new immigrant (sal klita), I was able to get by, get to know the new society I had chosen to adopt and was able to enjoy lunch specials with friends when our Hebrew classes finished at noon.
Many discover hummus, felafel and shwarma in Israel and these are all dishes I we continue to eat, made from scratch in my Kansas City kitchen, but of all the dishes Israel taught me, “Bombay Soup” is one that I hope to never forget. A good friend of mine introduced me to lunch at a restaurant called Yoja on Emek Refaim street. This is where we would set the world straight. This is where we would do homework for hebrew class. This is where we’d discuss our lives. This is where we agreed to be room-mates. This was where I ate sushi for the first time. This is where I discovered Bombay Soup.
I have no idea where the name comes from, but the soup is divine. Yoja is no longer in business, but this soup lives strong in our dining repertoire. I love to serve it on at our Shabbat (sabbath) table on Friday nights, but it’s a dish that demands attention but I assure you, it’s worth it in the long run.
You will need the following ingredients for a delicious Dairy Free Cream of Chicken Soup:
- Two chicken thighs
- Four turkey necks
- Three carrots
- One large parsnip
- One ruderbager (in some countries this is known as swede)
- One butternut
- One zucchini
- FRESH parsley and dill
- One onion
- Salt to taste
- Coconut Milk
- Fresh Bean Sprouts
- Baby Tomatoes
Start by making my chicken soup. This can be done ahead of time. Cool the soup, skim any fat that rises to the top and strain. I use cheesecloth to make sure I get a clear broth. About two hours before you plan to serve the dish, re-heat the soup on a low light. When it starts to boil, add 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Taste. If you like it, excellent. If you want a creamier taste, and a little more coconut milk until you are happy with the flavor.
Remove the stalks from your mushrooms and add the tops to the soup. One punnet should be plenty. Leave the soup on a low heat and allow the mushrooms to cook. This should take about 30 minutes.
About 15 minutes before serving, add baby tomatoes to the soup. A guest once suggested I cut the tomatoes in half as they might burn your mouth when you bite in to them. I prefer to warn guests rather than cut the tomatoes because they look so nice whole!
When ready to serve, put a spoonful of beansprouts at the bottom of each bowl. Ladel the soup into the bowls and serve. The beansprouts add a delightful crunch, similar to that of a crouton.
This soup does demand attention, but it is delicious, and with every taste, I am reminded on the life I lived in 2005 which lead me to the wonderful life I live today.