A soup that has stood the test of time. Fragrant and beautifully flavoured, it is treasured still by my family. It is a little bit Indian, a little bit S. E. Asian, a little bit English, it is divine. It is light enough to have in Summer and Autumn.
Cream of Tomato soup has been adopted by Indians with a passion. The same small cafes that offer the most traditional dosas and vegetable pakoras have, to the surprise of many visitors, tomato soup and other soups on their menus. Of course it has added spices. The soup becomes very aromatic.
This originates from Madhur Jaffrey. Her recipes were generally quite Anglicised, so the recipes had the flavours of SE Asia was well of India.
This soup can be eaten hot or cold.
Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger
prep time: 10 mins
cook time: 35 mins
serves 4 – 6
675 g ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 Tblspn sliced lemongrass
10 – 15 curry leaves
small knob of fresh ginger, sliced
1.25 tspn sea salt
4 Tblspn unsalted butter
2 Tblspn white flour, plain
100 ml single cream
600 ml milk
0.5 tspn ground roast cumin seeds
large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1.25 tspn salt, extra
pinch or more of cayenne pepper
2 tspn lime or lemon juice
1 Tblspn finely chopped fresh coriander
a little jaggery or brown sugar
Combine the tomatoes, lemon grass, curry leaves, ginger, 0.5 tspn salt and 100ml water in a large pot and bring to the boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Uncover, turn heat to medium, and simmer a little more aggressively for another 15 minutes. Put the tomatoes through a sieve. You should have about 500ml of thick tomato juice – add water to make up to 500ml.
Taste, and adjust with sugar if necessary. Bring this juice to a simmer and keep on a very low flame.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour. Stir and cook the flour on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, without letting it burn. Pour in the hot tomato juice, stirring all the time. Add the cream and the remaining 0.75 tspn salt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.
Add the lime or lemon juice if the tomatoes were sweet. Add all the other ingredients except the fresh coriander.
Stir and serve with coriander as a garnish, or cover and refrigerate if serving cold.
recipe notes and alternatives
This is a very versatile recipe. It can be made in the slow cooker. I have used frozen tomatoes and frozen tomato puree to make the soup. It can be garnished with pats of butter and slices of raw onion. The cream can be omitted, or yoghurt added. Chickpea flour can be used to thicken the soup rather than a roux – if this is the case, add a little butter to the soup when adding the milk and cream. Once you are familiar with the basic recipe, it is simple to make with numerous variations.