Recipe_ Hearty Rice And Potato Soup


Years in the past, I went to go to my great-aunt, Tadi Hilma Kuurme, in her rural dwelling on the picturesque north coast of the Baltic nation of Estonia.

It was a really particular go to as a result of it was the one two instances in my life I had an opportunity to satisfy her, though we had corresponded for years.

IMAGE: Estonia’s capital Tallinn, the place I initially met my great-aunt. All images: Zelda Pande

The primary likelihood was within the capital Tallinn, when Estonia was nonetheless underneath Soviet suzerainty, in a resort monitored by the KGB in 1984.

That was as a result of my gentle, innocent, extremely courageous great-aunt — a instructor and subsequently thought-about a menace to the Communist regime — had spent 10 years in a labour camp in Siberia and was nonetheless a marked girl (her identify is listed within the Okupatsioonimuuseum or the Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom) in Tallinn.

IMAGE: My great-aunt Tadi Hilma Kuurme along with her husband Richard Kuurme, in happier days earlier than the Soviet occupation in 1945. He died in Siberia shortly after their marriage.


This second assembly in 1992, and the final time I noticed her, at our household’s ancestral dwelling in Kolga, was rather more joyous. It occurred simply after Estonia had turn out to be impartial and I’d be staying along with her (not allowed within the Soviet-control days) and assembly extra of the household.

IMAGE: The farm on which my great-aunt Tadi Hilma lived.

Since I’m vegetarian (however eat eggs), they had been at pains to determine what to feed me. Meals was nonetheless generally scarce in free Estonia and my kinfolk scoured the customarily naked co-op retailers to search out cheese, bread, rye crackers for our meals. The remainder got here to the desk recent from acres and acres of backyard — carrots, potatoes, herbs, fruit, eggs and extra.

Apparently, the meals I had with the household had been among the tastiest. On sooner or later my Aunt Imbi served a really tasty, easy and wholesome rice-and-potato-based soup, which I typically make at dwelling frequently and we name it Imbi’s Estonian Soup.

Straightforward to place collectively, it’s served with a chopped boiled eggs and bitter cream garnish, however I take advantage of yoghurt. Ideally suited for a cold day, it is a lot filling.

Imbi’s Soup

Serves: 4-5


For the soup

2 massive potatoes, peeled, finely chopped

2 massive carrots, peeled, grated


¾ cup basmati rice, soaked for half an hour in water

4-5 cups water

Salt to style, about 2 tsp

For the garnish

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped

200 gm dahi or yoghurt

4 stalks spring onions with greens, finely chopped

Salt to style, a couple of pinch

3 tbsp chopped recent sua or dill or, higher, dried Himalayan nettle leaves, out there on-line as nettle tea


For the soup

Add the potatoes, carrots, drained rice right into a thick-bottomed saucepan with the water and boil over low warmth for near 30-40 minutes, until the soup turns into a gruel or stew and the potatoes and rice are utterly mashed.

Use a masher to assist this course of.


Add extra water if required until you may have a thick soup consistency.

Use a masher to assist this course of. Add extra water if required until you may have a thick soup consistency. Take care to not permit the soup to stay to backside of the pot and burn and subsequently combine typically.

For the garnish

In the meantime, evenly combine the yoghurt, salt and the chopped boiled eggs collectively so the egg would not get too mashed.

Add in spring onions and dill or nettle.

Add in spring onions and dill or nettle. Hold apart.

For serving

Pour the new soup, dividing it, into 4 or 5 particular person soup bowls.

Garnish the soup on high with 4-5 tbsp of the yoghurt-egg-spring onion combination.


Zelda’s Notice: For a more healthy soup, use purple rice as an alternative of basmati rice and maintain the peels on the potatoes. Potatoes might be substituted with candy potatoes. Chopped dried fish is a doable addition for non-vegetarians.