Green Eats: Q & A

Since making aliya, I have followed the same recipe but have found that the result is a coarse soup with bits of untasty peas not fully blended.

I made smoked beef and split pea soup back in Australia using green split peas soaked overnight. Since making aliya, I have followed the same recipe but have found that the result is a coarse soup with bits of untasty peas not fully blended. I am wondering if the split peas are different here, as I am at a loss to work out what could go wrong with such an easy foolproof recipe. I have included the recipe.

Smoked beef and split pea soup
✔ 1 kg. split green peas soaked overnight (you must do this otherwise the peas won’t be soft enough)
✔ 2 onions chopped
✔ 4-6 carrots ( 3⁄4 kg.) peeled and chopped
✔ 1⁄2 celery chopped (you can also use the soft light green leaves; reserve the tough leaves for chicken soup)
✔ 2-3 bay leaves
✔ Pepper to taste
✔ Water to cover
✔ 2 Tbsp. chicken stock powder
✔ 500 gr. smoked beef, all fat trimmed, cut into cubes
Cook all of above on low slow heat for a few hours. Remove bay leaves and blend. Freezes well.

Chana Walles
My dear, everything is different here – the split peas, the smoked meat and even the chicken soup powder (which I would never use), and I think you'll never be able to recreate the authentic taste of home. But if you insist, here are a few suggestions: Always buy the greenest split peas you can find; the lighter ones are older and faded and will require more cooking to soften. I'd also try different brands of smoked meats to find the one you like best. Do remember however, that the "smoked" part of the smoked beef is full of nitrates and other harmful ingredients. From my experience I'd suggest you try to learn more about the native ethnic cuisines rather than try to replicate something from back home. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
What is the difference from a nutritional standpoint between bulgur and wheat? We like making grain-based salads with both and were wondering which is healthier. Also how would they compare to brown rice, healthwise?

Susan Kleid
Wheat berries in their most natural state (packaged dried) are the healthiest choice because they have undergone the minimum of processing. Bulgur is a product that has been cooked and dried, which affects some of its nutritional value, but just a minimum. Bulgur is still considered a whole-wheat product. Surprisingly, bulgur is also healthier than brown rice: it has 65 fewer calories per 100 grams cooked, much more fiber and folic acid. That said, would vary my diet by using a variety of whole grains.