Thursday, November 11

Quinoa-corn chowder with aji amarillo

Viva Vegan! has been getting lots of praise lately. I preordered the book but haven't made more than one or two things from it-- basics, really, not even a full recipe. But then I saw Lisa from Sweetpea's post, and remembered that I had planned to make one soup a week during Vegan Mofo.

I leafed through the cookbook and saw a number of recipes that looked good, but most of them required ingredients that exhausted me with the thought of trying to acquire them. That is, until I saw the quinoa-corn "chowder" with limas and aji. I had three of the year's last ears of sweet corn crying to be used, so I read up on aji and set out to find it.

Soup ingredients

Unable to find the paste, I bought two kinds of dried aji peppers-- amarillo and panca. Following directions from the book, it was easy to make my own aji paste.

After boiling (2 minutes in heavily salted water) I grated the corn into the soup, per a suggestion in the beginning how-to section of the book. I liked that it made for an all-over sweet taste and left most of the indigestible covering of the kernel on the cob (you can really appreciate that part later). I also used northern beans instead of limas, because that's what I had on hand.

Prepping aji amarillo

This soup was delicious. I would definitely make it again, although I'd try some variations like using chickpeas instead of limas, adding spinach or another green, and making more aji paste! Even my spouse, who claims to dislike quinoa, enjoyed this soup for multiple meals. The quinoa really becomes a seamless part of the soup, so if you know someone who hates the texture of small starches like couscous and grits, you can safely feed them this quinoa-corn chowder.

Finished soup

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Always read ingredient labels carefully (and re-read periodically) to make sure that products actually are vegan and/or gluten-free.