Serves 4 generously
2lb yucca root (aka cassava) – can be found peeled and frozen in most Asian and Latin markets, if you can’t find fresh.
2lb ripe tomatoes, chopped, or 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (if you can get the canned roasted tomatoes, even better!)
1 Tbsp garam masala
3-4 curry leaves (fresh, dried or frozen)
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp nigella seeds (you can omit these, but you can find them at Indian markets, Penzey’s Spices and online. If you like cooking Indian food at home, it’s worth getting some.)
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1-3 fresh bird’s eye chiles, or chiles of your heat tolerance and flavor preference.
8 oz green beans or asparagus, blanched, cut into 2” lengths
1 cup crispy shallots or crisp fried onions (the shallots can also be found in the dry foods sections of most Asian and Indian markets. You could also use those French fried onions so popular at this time of year, but check the label for VE/GF. Brands differ.)
If using fresh yucca root, peel and set in water with lemon juice. Chop into rough cubes and boil in fresh water with 1 Tbsp salt until tender. Drain and reserve cooking liquid. If you are using frozen yucca root, just thaw and chop.
In a medium, thick-bottomed soup pot over medium high heat, toast the spices for a moment, stirring, until seeds begin to pop and leaves are aromatic.
Add the chiles, stir until fragrant, then immediately add tomatoes, yucca and enough cooking liquid (or water, or unsalted vegetable stock) to just cover the vegetables.
Simmer for 15 minutes, adding more liquid if needed. Mixture should be more stew than soup.
Add green beans to heat through.
Serve in heated bowls topped with plenty of crispy shallots and a dollop or two of some spicy chutney.