Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Soup For Tibet

I think you'd have to be living under a rock in the middle of nowhere not to have noticed the terrible ongoings in Tibet these past few weeks. Though I don't know the details, I do know that the Buddhists in the country have been suppressed for many years by the Communist Chinese government and have more recently been under more violent attack by the federal police forces, with some reports of the death toll topping 140. In India, Tibetan exiles have attempted to march to Tibet from Dharamsala (where His Holiness the Dalai Lama lives) to Tibet in a protest against the Beijing Olympics. There are petitions online to stop the violent acts and many other protests in city centres around the globe as well. There is more information on the country as a whole here and Canada's involvement with the freedom campaign here.

I have always been fascinated with the Tibetans and their culture, especially the Buddhist religion and the Dalai Lama (I even tried to get downtown when he visited Toronto), and it is so distressing to me that any culture would suppress the very livelihood and existence of another for no reason other than dominance. I don't want to incite any ill wishes or flames with my messages and personal opinions on this matter since I know there are as many different sides to this problem as the days are long, but I will say that I wish all those involved the peace that the area so deserves after all these years of struggle and with luck the violence will cease soon.

What does Tibet have to do with today's post, though? I'm bringing to the table a Tibetan corn and tofu soup that, if nothing else, will help bring a calm and a smile to your kitchen with it's sunny yellow colour. It is a popular meal at the cafes in Dharamsala, and of course each of them makes their own additions, substitutions and variations on the recipe. It's a healthy meal, filled with protein and fibre, and rich with spicy ginger. This is definite cold-fighting food too, in case that last little bit of winter refuses to leave you alone.

Tibetan Corn Soup
Serves 4
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp diced fresh ginger
1 plum tomato, chopped
12 oz extra-firm, low fat tofu, cubed
4 cups water
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

  1. Using non-stick spray, sauté the onion in a soup pot until brown and soft.
  2. Add the paprika, garlic, and ginger and cook briefly.
  3. Add the tomato and tofu and cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add corn to the pot.
  6. Combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water, add to the pot.
  7. Bring to a boil again, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 207.1
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 65.4 mg
Total Carbs: 25.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
Protein: 19.1 g

For dessert, something with no political connotations or connections. My mother had asked me quite some time ago (before the birthday rush) if I would be able to make her and Cel (the step-father) a banana bread that was low-fat (for her) and low in sugars (for him). My basic bakery recipe called for shortening to be creamed with the sugars before the other ingredients were added... I knew that was not going to fly in this case. So, I got creative, used up some leftovers, and came up with this. It's probably one of the moistest banana breads I've ever made, and the damage to the figure isn't that bad either, (considering an average slice from a bakery can run you 540 calories, I don't think the 150 in mine is a death sentence to your waist). My mom and Cel both said it was some of the best they've ever eaten, and I'm not telling Cel (the fibre-phobe) that not only does it have whole-wheat, but added heart-healthy psyllium fibre too. I'm such a nice step-daughter :-D.

Low - Sugar Banumpkin Bread
Serves 12
1 cup flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup ground psyllium husk
1 tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup Splenda
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp banana extract (optional)
2 large, mashed ripe bananas
1 cup pumpkin puree

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine both flours, psyllium, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Splenda, honey, applesauce, oil, extracts, bananas and pumpkin.
  4. Stir the flour into the wet ingredients until fully combined.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until tests done.
  6. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then unmould onto rack to cool.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 151.7
Total Fat: 2.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 49.7 mg
Total Carbs: 30.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
Protein: 2.9 g


  1. You might be interested in this if this topic has interested you

    Excellent blog btw

  2. Your bread sounds tasty. I always find that using two sugars (different types) or honey keeps breads moist. The psyllium was an interesting choice. I use flax seeds, freshly ground, because they supply a lovely nutty flavor and take the place of eggs in terms of lift. Plus, their golden color renders them largely invisible to the fiber-phobic!!!


Thanks for the feedback!