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Season for celery

Enjoy the flavour of celery and almond soup


Celery has become a household staple along with carrots, onions and potatoes. Its crunchy texture and distinctive flavour makes it a popular addition to salads and many cooked dishes. Although it is available throughout the year, you get the best tas te and quality during the summer months when celery is in season.

It is a biennial vegetable belonging to the Umbelliferae family whose other members include carrot, fennel, parsley and dill. While most people associate celery with its stalk, the leaves, roots and seeds can also be used as a food and seasoning as well as a natural medicinal remedy.

Medicinal benefits

The whole plant is gently stimulant, nourishing, and restorative; it can be liquefied, and the juice taken for joint and urinary tract inflammations, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystitis, or urethritis and for nervous exhaustion The seeds, harvested after the plant flowers in its second year, are the basis for a homeopathic extract used as a diuretic. The extract is believed to help clear toxins from the system, and is especially good for gout and arthritis. .

Culinary uses

The most common use of celery is for its thick, succulent leaf stalks that are used, often with a part of the leaf blades in soups, cooked dishes and salads for the Western style kitchen. Celeriac or turnip-rooted celery is mainly used as a cooked vegetable in stews and soups but is becoming increasingly popular grated as a raw salad. Leaf celery, also called smallage, is chopped and used as a garnish and for flavouring. Celery seeds can be used as a flavouring or spice either as whole seeds or ground and mixed with salt as celery salt. Celery salt can also be made from an extract of the roots.

Now, for a recipe.

Almond and celery soup

Ingredients

Almonds: 50 gm

Celery: 1 shoot

Carrot: 1

Spring onions: 25 gm

Asparagus tips: 5 gm

Garlic: 3 cloves

Coriander root: 5 gm

Red chillies: 2

Salt to taste

MSG to taste

Chinese cabbage: 5 gm

Pak choy: 5 gm

Method: Make a stock using celery roots and leaves with onion and carrot, coriander roots and red chillies. Soak the almonds in hot water for 15 minutes, remove skin and make a paste. After the stock is boiled, strain and pour it into a pan. Add sliced carrots, asparagus tips, Chinese cabbage and pak choy and bring the mixture to boil. Add seasoning and thicken the soup by adding the almond paste little by little. Again give it a single boil; check for seasoning and serve the soup hot garnished with fried sliced garlic.

PRADEEP PRASANNAN

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