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A Soup: Recipes from the Kalapa Court

New Column: Dispatches from the Kalapa Court Kitchen
In the coming week, the Shambhala Times will be featuring daily recipes that have been prepared and served in the Kalapa court. Offered at the request of the Sakyong and in observance of the upcoming Shambhala Lineage Festival, the Sakyong has encouraged us to share these recipes so that Shambhalians everywhere may get together, cook, celebrate, and enjoy these offerings from the Kalapa court. More information about the Machen Corps will be sprinkled among the recipes as well, so look closely!

A Soup
By Machen Anthony Miller

Anthony Miller grew up in the Shambhala sangha, has been a practitioner since 1992, owns a small restaurant in Cambridge, MA, and finds cooking for Their Majesties to be the most deeply rewarding work there is.

This soup is actually two soups, both are served either warm or chilled. This particular soup is especially a favorite of The Sakyong Wangmo. Great for dinner parties, it can be made a day in advance. The beauty of this dish is the presentation upon serving. The two soups are poured into bowls at the same time, at which point they meet in the middle and create half moons. Each soup can be enjoyed separately or stirred together in the bowl. Homemade yogurt makes a great garnish.

Soup one:
Spring Pea Soup

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Spanish onion, medium dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Large bags of organic Frozen Spring Peas (Frozen Peas are actually a high quality product – they are picked fresh and freeze well)
Two quarts Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth if you prefer)
Two pints Heavy Cream
2 TBS Cold Unsalted Butter
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper (Sea salt is preferred and only use freshly ground black pepper)
One small lemon wedge


In a large pot, saute the onion in the olive oil for 10 minutes over a low heat until the onion is mostly translucent (this is called “sweating”). Add the garlic and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the peas, broth, and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes or so then turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender or very carefully using a regular blender – blend soup until smooth. Add the butter and season with salt, lemon, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Taste and season, repeating until you are satisfied with the flavor. Finally strain the soup – removing anything that was not fully blended. This will leave you with a nice flavor and a velvety texture.

Soup two:
Roasted Red Pepper Soup

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Spanish onion, medium dice
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
2 Cups Whole San Marzano Canned Tomatoes
8 Red Bell Peppers Roasted – To “roast” place washed peppers directly on the stove over high heat until blackened. Put in a bowl and cover tightly allowing them to steam. After 15 minutes peel off charred skin and remove seeds and stems.
Two pints Heavy Cream
2 TBS Cold Unsalted Butter
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Similar to Soup One, saute the onion in the olive oil for 10 minutes in a large pot over a low heat until the onion is mostly translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and blend using a blender or immersion blender. Add the heavy cream and butter and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Strain the soup removing anything that was not fully blended.

The two soups should be close in consistency, but they do not have to be exactly the same for the effect to work.

Chill the soups in an ice bath if serving right after cooking. Once chilled, pour both soups at the same time into each bowl. They should meet in the middle of the bowl, creating a nice effect of swirling patterns. If you wish, you can create further designs by using a chopstick or knife to “draw” in the soup. Serve and enjoy!

Though not widely known, the Machen Corps is a group within the Kusung arm of the Kasung whose charge it is to cook and provide nourishment for Their Majesties the Sakyong and the Sakyong Wangmo. The Machen Corps comprises a small and dedicated group of individuals – some professionally trained chefs, some talented amateurs – who have collectively devoted years and years of their time to cooking for Their Majesties. Over the years, these individuals have honed not just their cooking skills within the context of the Kalapa court, but also their understanding of Shambhala culture – particularly, as it relates to cooking and dining.

These recipes are taken from a recent event at the Kalapa court – a banquet celebrating the close of the recent Machen Corps Convocation held at Karme Choling. Stay tuned for more news later this week on the Machen Corps Convocation; for now, suffice it to say that the MCC closing banquet featured dishes ranging from the delectably simple to the exquisitely complex.

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6 responses to “ A Soup: Recipes from the Kalapa Court ”
  1. Anthony Miller
    Oct 3, 2011

    Hello! These recipes can be adjusted pretty evenly to account for different numbers of servings that are desired (divide everything in 1/2 for instance). I like to make larger batches of soups and generally they freeze well. I would estimate that this recipe makes for 15 servings of soup. Hope that is helpful.


  2. Linda Willow
    Sep 22, 2011

    I love the idea of these recipes, but I don’t see number of servings listed & this is too big for our small group. Could future recipes please have approximate # of servings listed? Thanks!

  3. How delightful, connecting with Kalapa Court and Their Majesties through these recipes. Looking forward to enlivening my hearth and senses. Thank you, Machens. Cheers, Marita McLaughlin

  4. Dear Anthony, thank you for these yummy-looking recipes! The amounts you have suggested, how many servings would they yield, approximately? I look forward to trying both! Thank you!

  5. Phyllis,

    You can definitely use less cream. The proportions of butter and cream are flexible, as long as you season well.

    I would be happy to talk with you about your cookbook.


  6. Great idea! Though I’m not thrilled with the amount of cream!

    Anthony, could we talk? I’m working on a cookbook that applies the techniques of meditation to the preparation of food. Been in progress for quite some time…slowly, slowly. You can check my blog for some recent recipes. The blog is not the above mentioned theme. http://www.cookingontheriver.blogspot.com

    I will be traveling in the next two weeks so if you don’t hear back from me quickly you will know why as may not find internet connection…but then again probably will.

    Phyllis Segura

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