Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor. ~ Marge Kennedy
At last, the haze is finally gone! For more than a month since the first week of September, Singapore had gotten a daily whiff of the dreadful haze from the forest fires in Sumatra. While the PSI reading did not reach the same astronomical levels as that in June 2013, this episode was worse because of the prolonged and sustained unhealthy levels for several weeks.
Singapore is close to the source, but I can only imagine how bad it is in ground zero. Just a few days ago, we came across a documentary about the forest fires in Indonesia. Harrison Ford, the actor who became popular for his roles as Han Solo and Indiana Jones in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones, respectively, confronted a local bureaucrat on his non-action about the forest fires. Not only is it causing the destruction of the orangutan’s habitat, it is also making the lives of many Indonesians miserable.
Indeed, the root cause of all of this burning is greed. The growing global appetite for palm oil is driving companies and individuals to grow palm trees as fast as possible. They employ slash-and-burn techniques to rapidly clear the trees, without regard for its ecological consequences. The forest fires are still actually raging. The haze is not reaching Singapore because of the change in the wind direction.
It was actually quite refreshing, literally, to see the clear sunshine and blue skies! But with the change in direction, the weather also changed. It is not only colder, it also rains everyday. Well, I’ll take rain anytime than the choking haze. At least I can listen to the familiar sound of raindrops and relax… To keep ourselves warm, I’ve concocted a soup based on split peas that I’ve gotten from several sources of inspiration.
Who said that you’ll not succeed even in the first attempt? I got the recipe right of this Split Peas Soup for the first time, as attested by Alvin and Albert’s compliments.
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 large-size carrot, diced
- 3 rib celery, diced
- 2 medium-size sweet potato, peeled & diced
- 1 & 1/2 cup split green peas
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water or more if needed
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Greek yogurt to serve (optional)
- In a stockpot on medium heat, sauté the onions, celery and carrot with the olive oil until the celery and onions are translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the oregano, parsley, bayleaf, split peas, chicken stock and water and let it boil. Adjust the heat to low-medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the sweet potato and simmer for another for 30 minutes or until all the peas are soft.
- Stir regularly to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot with a spoon of greek yogurt.