Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Caldo Verde (Green Soup) from Goa; Spiced Broccoli Rabe

The weather has become freezing here (temporarily and briefly, I hope), which turned my mind immediately in the direction of hot soup.

One of my favorite, and one of the simplest, healthiest and most inexpensive soups to prepare is the very typical and delicious Portuguese kale soup Caldo Verde.  There are many versions of Caldo Verde, but my favorite is this vegetarian version that originates in Goa, the former Portuguese colony in India.  Madhur Jaffrey, who collected the recipe, is the well-known Indian actress, cooking expert and restauranteur. 

It is my understanding that the apatosaurus (aka brontosaurus) lived principally on kale, a fact that always intrigues me when I prepare this soup.

Caldo Verde (Green Soup)
From The World of Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey

This hearty soup is served in the former Portuguese colony of Goa on the west coast of India.  It is not unlike a basic leek and potato soup, only it is flavored with couve – kale, garlic and oil.

(serves 6)

4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped into ¾ inch dice.

1 medium sized onion, peeled and coarsely chopped.

12 cloves garlic, peeled.

2 cups coarsely chopped kale leaves, firmly packed.

1 ¼ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. fruity olive oil.

Freshly ground black pepper.

In a large pot, combine the potatoes, onion, kale, garlic and salt.  Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat and simmer very gently for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until kale is tender.  

In as many batches as necessary, pour the soup into the container of a blender or food processor and blend until you have a smooth texture.  Pour soup back into soup pot and taste for seasonings. Add more water if the soup seems too thick.  Just before serving, add the olive oil and black pepper.

The following recipe for Spiced Broccoli Rabe  is one I discovered this year and I love it.  It's another Madhur Jaffrey recipe, which was adapted by one of my favorite food writers, the well-traveled Englishwoman in New York, Moira Hodgson.  It's enjoyable, easy to prepare and improves over several days, so it's worthwhile to make double-batches when broccoli rabe is available to you.  The recipe, incidentally, can easily and successfully be adapted for use with mustard greens, broccoli or spinach.

Spiced Broccoli Rabe from
Good Food from A Small Kitchen by Moira Hodgson

1 ½ lbs. broccoli rabe

1 ½ “ piece fresh ginger

1 fresh green chili (seeded)

Coarse salt to taste

2 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

3 tbsp. cornmeal

Chopped fresh coriander leaves or parsley for garnish

Chop the stalks and leaves of the broccoli rabe into 1 1/2" pieces. 
Simmer in 1 cup of water until they are barely tender.  Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
Combine the broccoli rabe in a food processor or blender with the ginger or chili.  
Puree until smooth, adding a little of the cooking liquid if necessary.  Season with salt to taste.  Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan.  Add the cornmeal and fry, stirring, 2-3 minutes.  Moisten with 1/4 cup broccoli rabe cooking liquid.  Stir thoroghly.  Add broccoli rabe and sautee gently over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Garnish with coriander or parsley and serve.

Yield, 4 servings.

Madhur Jaffrey

Moira Hodgson

Apatosaurus (illustration Charles R. Knight)


  1. These are both very easy to prepare and every bit as good as I say. I will prepare them (one at a time, I expect) for you.