My parents like to encourage me with the words “Nobody can mess this up!” when they share a recipe. I have proven them wrong on many an occasion.
That being said, here is a recipe that you really cannot mess up. It has the further benefit of having received the enthusiastic approval of everyone I have tried it on, regardless of cultural background. For these reasons, I have named it Anybody Soup*.
- Sautée some finely chopped garlic in a soup pot on medium heat – garlic can burn fast. The more, the merrier. Add a generous load of whole cumin seeds and continue tossing it around until the garlic threatens to start browning.
- Pull off the fire, add a heaping scoop of paprika powder. Hungarian is best. Stir it until it is all covered in the oil (or butter) at the bottom of the pan, then top up the concoction with boiling water from a kettle to save time. Put back on the fire.
- Add salt and pepper. If you have a spice mix called Vegeta, use that to taste. If you do not, consider adding a vegetable stock cube. I also usually add some goulash paste and paprika paste.
- As soon as the water is somewhere between simmering and boiling on the stove, crack open some organic eggs. My parents taught me to always wash the shell of eggs before I cook with them, and that advice can’t hurt here because the eggs will not be cooking for long. Pour the eggs into the soup one by one, yolk and white together, and stir it vigorously with a fork. If you vary the vigour of stirring, you’ll end it with a pleasing variety of egg chunk.
- And you can turn off the heat! Soup is ready.
Serve with some bread for extra substance, and hot pepper if you desire.
Have a cold or the flu? Add some finely chopped hot pepper at the first step. Just make sure you have a pile of tissue paper at the ready (and not only to dry your tears of joy as you spoon up the lovely soup).
PS. For the egg purists, keep the soup at a simmer and add a pinch of cornstarch to keep the egg silky. For people who don’t care, boil away!
* In more orthodox circles, this goes by the name of cumin seed soup.