Sunday, August 30, 2009

This Book Makes Me Cook : Pomegranate Soup

I had a sense of deja vu reading our book club's pick for August. Marsha Mehran's Pomegrante Soup is a story of three Iranian sisters who escape the revolution, flee to London, then land up in an Irish village where they set up a cafe. The book is replete with references to food, and has plenty of drama thrown in both as a clash of cultures and the memories haunting from the past.

Now where have I read this before? You're right; the plot, down to the minutest detail, is from Chocolat. The village bully, the friendly folks who reluctantly get drawn to the exotic cafe never seen in these parts before - you've read everything from this story before in a French setting. Yet Pomegranate Soup is a pleasant way to pass a weekend afternoon. Certainly, everyone on the book club loved it.


The best part of the book is that each chapter starts with a recipe, and that dish is then folded into the story being told. There are plenty of great ideas to pick from. What I picked was a bread/cracker I'd been planning to bake for a while anyway. The thin, crisp, lavash.

To make lavash, mix 1/2 tbsp yeast with 1/4 cup warm water. After 10-15 minutes, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tbsp sugar and a tsp of salt. Slowly mix in a cup of whole wheat flour. Knead into the dough, adding more plain flour as necessary. You will probably need another cup, which makes it half whole wheat, half all purpose flour bread. Knead until the dough feels smooth. Roll into a ball, put in a covered container and let rise until doubled.

Knead the dough for a few seconds to flatten the big bubbles. Now pinch a ball of dough as big as you can handle and roll until it's what Marsha calls paper thin. Cut into long strips as I did, or into smaller crackers and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or anything else you fancy. Heat the oven to as high as it would go; mine's highest is 270C. Bake for 5-7 minutes until they get brown and crisp.

That's my flavor of Iran. What's other members?

Jaya makes this gorgeous lentil soup.
Sweatha makes the Pomegranate Soup itself.
Aqua makes the refreshing dugh.

Next month, we are reading Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. If you would like to join us, please leave a comment here and I will get back with details.

6 comments:

Priti said...

This is so interesting....gud one

Janaki said...

I would love to participate, please do tell me what to do. Other than buy the book ie.

aquadaze said...

I came here yesterday just before posting mine, but didn't quite manage to leave a comment!

Loved your lavash :)

Jaya Wagle said...

Love the lavash bread Simran. Looks like I an the only one who hasn't read Chocolate and so did not catch the plot similarities. :(

Curry Leaf said...

I know I am late Simran,I came here but b4 I post click comment,I was netless.
I must try this .Looks great and hearty.
Love the way you found pomsoup similar to Choclat

s said...

I would love to be a part of this...tell me what to do....