- Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes, mushrooms and garlic. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 30 minutes. The vegetables should be soft and break up when squashed against the side of the pan with a fork.
- Meanwhile, prepare the curried onion. Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the onion and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10–12 minutes or until the onion softens and begins to caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for a further 1–2 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and 1 tbsp water, then cook, stirring, for 2–3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- To make the raita, grate the courgette and cucumber into a bowl. Core and grate the apple and add to the courgette and cucumber. Lightly stir in the yogurt and parsley. Tear the mint leaves or coarsely shred them with scissors and fold them into the raita. Add seasoning to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.
- Purée about half of the soup in a blender or food processor until just smooth, then pour it back into the soup in the pan. Alternatively, use a hand-held blender to coarsely purée the soup in the pan, leaving some vegetables diced. Reheat the soup and taste for seasoning. If the soup is slightly too thick, add a little boiling water to thin it to your liking.
- Lightly stir in the curried onion and chopped fresh coriander, then ladle the soup into warm bowls. Serve at once, offering the raita separately, to be added to the soup in large spoonfuls or eaten with the naan bread or pitta as an accompaniment.
For a smooth, dhal-style soup, add 100 g (3½ oz) yellow split peas with the vegetables in step 1, leaving out the parsnip and potatoes. Use only 900 ml (1½ pints) stock. Also add 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g, with the juice, 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds, 1 heaped tsp roasted and ground coriander seeds, 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and chopped, and ½ tsp turmeric. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for 1 hour. Purée all of the soup until fairly smooth, then reheat it gently before stirring in the curried onion and fresh coriander.
Yogurt is a good source of vitamins B2 and B12, and the minerals calcium and phosphorus. * Antibiotics, stress and poor diet can easily upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Eating yogurt ensures a regular supply of good bacteria and prevents the growth of the bad bacteria that can cause thrush and candida. There is also some evidence to suggest that the good bacteria help to strengthen the immune system.
Each serving provides
A, B1 * B2, B12, C, folate, calcium, phosphorus