South Indian Beetroot Soup

The concept of soup in South India is unusual but not unknown. Even Meenakshi Ammal and Priya Ramkumar covered them in the classic books Cook and See. I have not been able to trace the origins of South Indian Soups – perhaps the British occupation – and many people that I ask deny their existence. But no, they are part of the cuisine, albeit a limited part, and I have been served them in India on several occasions.

Indian soups are basically un-spiced thin but flavoursome broths, with perhaps the addition of some cubed vegetables. This one is from Priya Ramkumar herself, in Vol 4 of Cook and See, and is a beetroot soup that extracts the flavour and colour of beetroot for the soup without including the vegetable. It is surprisingly delicious! I was quite amazed by the flavour of this soup and it has become a favourite. And why would you make soups any differently in a country that produces so many thick, nourishing, soupy, spicy dishes that are eaten as an accompaniment to rice?

Are you after Beetroot Soups? Try Chilled Beetroot Soup. Or some Beetroot recipes include Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing, Roast Beetroot with Cumin, and Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad.

Or perhaps some Indian Soups. Look at South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Light Summery Tomato Soup, and Amaranth and Tamarind Soup.

Are you looking for more? Check out our Beetroot Soups, and then for more Indian Soups, browse here. You might like to have a look at our range of Soups here. Or explore all of our Indian dishes. Or cook seasonally with our easy, Mid Spring dishes. Enjoy!

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South Indian Cauliflower Soup

This uncomplicated soup is nourishing, comforting and warming, with no other flavours except cauliflower, potato, and black pepper.

South Indian soups need some explaining. The are quite diametrically opposed to dishes that could be called soups but are not – rasam, for example, or thin dhal, or even a sambar. For the most part, the true South Indian Soup is a simple, uncomplicated vegetable soup that is not spiced. Thus the vegetable becomes the feature, not the layers of spices. There is no artifice in these soups at all.

Presumably, these soups are of Anglo-Indian origin and have gained enough popularity to become part of the cuisine, or perhaps they are the result of the occupation of regions by other countries, namely France and Portugal. In many ways they are a little 1950’s, yet beautiful in their pared back simplicity

This uncomplicated Cauliflower Soup is nourishing, comforting and warming, with no other flavours except cauliflower, potato, and black pepper.

Are you after soups? Try Indian Tomato and Potato Soup, Tomato, Lemongrass and Ginger Soup, and Tomato and Dal Soup. See also How to Make a Light, Infused Vegetable Stock/Broth, Indian Style.

Or try some other Cauliflower recipes – A Plate of Cauliflower, Cauliflower Pilaf, and Cauliflower Slow Cooked with Lime and Spices.

Browse our other Indian Soups here.  Our other Cauliflower recipes are here and here. Or explore all of our Soups and all or our Indian dishes.  Be inspired by warming Winter dishes here.

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Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger

This soup is a little bit Indian, a little bit S. E. Asian, a little bit English, and very divine.

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.

You might also like our Tomato Soup recipes here and here. Indian Soups are here. Or browse Tomato recipes here and here. Check out our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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A Light Summery Tomato Soup | Indian Tomato and Potato Soup

Take this soup on summer picnics.

A gorgeously summery tomato soup that is perfect for Autumn too. Good tomatoes are generally available from Early Summer to Mid Autumn, and light soups suitable for the weather are wonderful.

This is an Indian soup. As I understand it, soups are more recent additions to South Indian cuisine, probably as a result of the British dominance. Not a rasam, generally not spicy, they are nevertheless flavoursome. On one trip to Kerala we got into the habit of having soup after our meal, sitting outside and chatting the evening away.

Madhur Jaffrey also does a wonderful tomato soup in one of her books – full of lemongrass and Indian spices and it is a real keeper. Explore some other tomato soup recipes and here. Or browse our summery salads here and here. Our Indian recipes are here and here.

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Simple Indian Dal Soup

A nourishing soup for a cooler night

“Soups” are an interesting concept in South India. Soups do exist, although I suspect they are a relatively modern concept influenced by the British occupation. Contrasted with this are many soupy South Indian dishes like rasam, sambar, kuzhambu, kootu, dals etc that are not soups as we understand them, yet appear to be soup-like to non-Indian eyes.

Recently in India I was eating at a large canteen. The food was great. One counter in the canteen offered us small bowls of liquid. I asked Rasam? No, he said, Soup. I thought I did not understand his accent. Rasam? I asked again. Soup he said again. Ok, soup.

They were generally thin stocks without vegetables, but perhaps with a little body from undetectable lentils. Not as thin as a broth, not as thick as, say, a creamed soup. Highly delicious, and we often had 2 or 3 small bowls of it at the end of our meal, as we sat outside reviewing the day’s activities. In the cool of the evening, after a hot hot day, it was delicious.

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