Trusty Traditional “Boontjiesop” better than your Grandmother’s…

Recipe Excerpt:Growing up in the small town of Bronkhorstspruit near Pretoria, soups and stews were a hearty go-to staple during the freezing countryside winters. I didn’t grow up on a plant-based diet, so my mom always added ox tail to her bean soup. When we switched to a whole food plant-based diet some years ago, this soup was one of the things I missed the most, so I was extremely motivated to find a way to prepare it that would give me the same satisfaction I remembered from my childhood. If I do say so myself… this completely vegan recipe is even better than the one I grew up on. This recipe makes 12 full servings, so you can enjoy it the next day again, or freeze what’s left for an easy future meal. The perfect treat for plant-based and omnivorous guests alike. Enjoy 

Course: Entree 

Cuisine: South African 

Difficulty: Easy 

Preparation Time: 15min 

Cooking Time: 45min (with a pressure cooker) / 4 hours stove top 

Total Time: 1 – 5 hours (depending on if you have a pressure cooker) 

Servings: 12 

Ingredients:  

3 cups sugar beans / red speckled beans 

1 cup red lentils 

1/2 cup brown lentils 

(Soak these 3 legumes together overnight – it helps curb the inevitable gas if you soak them) 

2 medium brown onions, finely chopped 

2 medium potatoes, diced to bite-size / preference 

4 medium garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped 

4 cups of homemade vegetable broth* (or plain water) 

60ml cooking oil 

2 tbs Ina Paarman Veg stock powder (or 1 sachet liquid stock) 

2 tbs paprika 

2 tbs sea/rock salt 

1t turmeric 

1t mustard powder 

1t nutmeg 

1t fennel (powdered) 

1t fenugreek (methi) powder 

1t fine black pepper 

1t cinnamon 

1t ginger 

1t dry sage 

1/3t cloves 

1/4t asafoetida (hing) 

12 twists of Pick ‘n Pay chilli explosion 

Method / Instructions:  

Rinse the soaked beans and lentils until the water runs clear. Strain and place them in pressure cooker (or pot on the stove if you’re prepared to boil it till kingdom come). Cover it with water, make sure the water covers +-3cm above the legumes.  

Add 2tbs vegetable stock powder (or 1 sachet) to the pot of legumes. Cook via your preferred method (45min in a pressure cooker or 4 hours on the stovetop) 

(If you’re using regular stovetop, boil the beans and lentils until soft, and once soft, start the next step. If using pressure cooker, start the next step immediately once you switched your pressure cooker on.) 

Add all spices except salt and sage to a large, thickbottomed pot. Roast the spices on medium heat with the lid on (shake the pot to “stir” and make sure it doesn’t start smoking – if you see smoke remove from heat immediately and shake the pot. Roast spices for 3min or so. 

Place the roasted spices in a clean, dry separate bowl for later use. 

Using the same pot, add fry the chopped onions and garlic in the 60ml cooking oil until golden brown. Add the roasted spices. Fold with a spatula and make sure the spices don’t burn – you just want to combine the oil, fried onions and garlic and spices. 

Now add 4 cups homemade vegetable broth* (or 4 cups plain water) to the roasted spice mix and bring to a simmer. 

Add the diced potato to the pot. Simmer with the lid on for 30min. If you’re using a pressure cooker for beans, the beans and onion mixture will be cooked at the same time. If using your stovetop, cook legumes first and then do the spice mix cooking for 30min – you cant overcook the beans. If they cook a further 30min you wont regret it. 

Once your legumes are cooked, mash them with a potato masher until somewhat mushy. Leave enough beans whole to give a good texture to your soup. 

Add the bean mix to your spicy onion and potato mix pot, turn off the heat and stir thoroughly to combine. Serve when you’re ready to have it – with bread hot out of the oven smothered in butter, proudly South African Traditional Style. 

This recipe can successfully be made without oil. Simply leave out the step frying the onions and add everything to a big pot with water only. 

*To make your own lovely vegetable broth, save the peels, tops and tails of the veggies you use to cook in an empty bread packet in your freezer. When the packet is full of peels, cover with water and simmer on low heat for a minimum of 2 hours with 1 tbs salt (to help pull out the flavour). Freeze in ice trays or keep in your fridge and use within 1 week. 

Vegetable scraps that work well, are tops and tails of beans, baby marrows, patty pans, carrots, potato and onions peels, bits of garlic, celery and twigs of fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme. “Cabbage-y” veggies like cauliflower and broccoli are not great as they will give your broth a strong cabbage flavour. Dark peels like aubergine will turn your broth black, so not ideal either.  

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