Anytime I think of rivels in a soup, I think of my Grandmother as the crumbly flour pellets dropped off her fingers and into the boiling pot of soup. Rivels are like miniature dumplings and help thicken any soup. For all of the Pennsyltucky Veggie dishes we have veganized, I have left out a standard:
Potato Rivel Soup
2 Cups water
3 Potatoes, peeled and cubed but NOT RINSED
1 Carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Vegetable bouillon cubes
6 drops Liquid Smoke
1/2 Cup white flour
1 Tablespoon Tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon black salt (Kala namak)
2 Tablespoons enhanced* Aquafaba
2 Cups Coconut Milk
As you bring the water, bouillon cubes and liquid smoke to a boil, take some Aquafaba and pour it over the cubed potatoes to gather the potato starch. I did this by putting the cubed potatoes in a colander and catching the *enhanced Aquafaba in a bowl underneath it. Reserve the enhanced Aquafaba for the Rivel.
When the seasoned water is boiling, add the potatoes, carrots and onion. Keep covered at a low boil for 20 minutes.
While the veggies boil, combine the dry ingredients for the Rivel in a small bowl and make a well in the center for 2 tablespoons of enhanced Aquafaba. Use a fork to blend the wet and dry until pellets start to form, Some will be as small as crumbs and others larger. Make sure the largest are not bigger than a small marble (see photo to the left).
After the veggies have boiled for 20 minutes, they should be tender and it is time to add the rivels to the boiling pot. Add only 1/3 of them and give the pot a stir. Add another 1/3, stir completely again. Add the last third and stir completely before replacing the cover and reducing to a simmer for 5-7 minutes.
During this time, the soup will start to thicken so give it a stir about 3 minutes in. When the rivels have cooked at least 5 minutes, add the 2 cups of coconut milk but do not return the soup to a boil, only warm it to serving temperature. You may like to garish a bowl of this mild soup with chives.
I surprised Jim with this for lunch today and he was all smiles. It was a cool day for late June and he said he hadn’t had rivels for a long time. He just sat there beaming as we enjoyed our soup.
I then realized that it incidentally had no oil and mentioned that to him. He was astonished and thought the onions tasted sauted but I assured him that they had only been boiled along with the potatoes and carrot.
We then discussed Aquafaba, which is not as crazy an ingredient as you might think. It is the liquid in a can of chickpeas. Cooks are using it by whipping it into a foam and I used it, enhanced with the potato, tapioca starch and black salt to be the “egg” that traditionally is added to flour to make rivel.
We were very please with how this soup turned out and happy to have veganized yet another central Pennsylvania standard from our childhood.