Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Curried Cattail Soup - a Summer Edible Class Favorite

Tim absolutely loves the exotic flavors of Indian food. If he believed in reincarnation he would want to be reborn in India so he can partake the spicy Indian goodness daily. But for now, he will have to do with Hue cooking up some spicy delights at the wild edibles classes. This last wild edibles class had Hue work up a batch of his now famous Curried Cattail Soup. He says he started with a recipe that he doctored up with some special Indian spices he had brought back from a trip to India, but some say this is just him being modest about his ability to wear an apron in the kitchen.

Curry is an English word that comes from the Tamil word Kari that refers to the spicy pungent southeast Asian side dish that accompanies rice. It actually refers to masala (meaning spice) which comes in quite a variety of mixtures. In so being, there are many differing styles of curry dishes and that means you can be creative.

Wikipedia references that, "most commercial curry powders available in Britain, the U.S. and Canada rely heavily on ground turmeric, in turn producing a very yellow sauce. Lesser ingredients in these Western yellow curry powders are often coriander, cumin, fenugreek, mustard, chili, black pepper and salt. It should be reiterated that curry powders and pastes produced and consumed in India are extremely diverse; some red, some yellow, some brown; some with five spices and some with as many as 20 or more. Besides the previously mentioned spices, other commonly found spices in different curry powders in India are cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon (especially in garam masala), white pepper, ground mustard, ground ginger, etc."

With that said, here is a starter recipe for Curried Cattail Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter (or slightly more vegetable oil if you are vegan)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (you choose the style of curry here)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you are vegetarian)
  • 12 cattail shoots or inner tender flesh of summer cattails, minced or sliced (If you don't know what I'm talking about, take our class)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan and cook onion over medium heat until almost soft.
  2. Add curry powder and flour. Cook a few more minutes while stirring in the curry and flour.
  3. Add stock and cattails. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy hot or cold. (Hot is better)

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