Indian Sweetcorn Soup

There are two types of soups in India -those that are more like Western soups, full flavoured and hearty and eaten by the bowlful, and subtle, almost bland soups served in small amounts almost like a hot vegetable beverage or healthy shot of goodness. I am really interested in the latter, and they are still quite controversial. Although being around for at least 100 years, they are not common but also not rare. Being fairly regional, there are many who deny their existence. But there you go – even Meenakshi Ammal has soups in her classic Cook and See volumes.

So I collect a range of them – they are delicious even though they are relatively bland (ie unspiced) compared to other Indian food, although they are still full of flavour. Subtle. Well cooked. Healthy. (I sip and sip them.) Reading the very simple recipes for these soups, I think “no way will this work” but the results are always wonderful.

This one is interesting in that it is based on a “white sauce” – not the western flour-roux sauce, but a puree of potato, cabbage, onion and white pumpkin or yam. On this is layered corn kernels. It is flavoured with only salt and pepper! A real shot of vegetable goodness without the distraction of spices. The base is one that you could use for different soup varieties. The sweet crunch of the corn against this base is delightful.

Similar recipes include Indo Chinese Sweetcorn Soup, Baby Sweetcorn Soup, and Roasted Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and our Sweetcorn Soups. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Pumpkin Soup with Lentils

I have numerous Pumpkin Soups that I love, including this definite favourite. But today, as I am on a Clean-out-the-pantry drive, and because I am restricting shopping trips because of COVID-19 (as I write this), and because there are lentils wanting to be used up – it is a day for a soup with pumpkin and lentils.

Use any lentils in this soup. Toor dal, channa dal, chickpeas and split peas are all good candidates. You could use the small split fava beans too. Brown lentils, puy lentils, beluga lentils, whole red lentils (masoor dal), horsegram, matki beans – all are good. I am using some end-of-the-packet beluga today. They make for a dark soup – if this is difficult for you, just add plenty of chopped herbs as a garnish.

Some lentil types will break down and make a thick broth for the soup, others are more likely to hold their shape. Either will work well with this soup.

In the recipe I specify chopped tomatoes – but more often than not I use a tomato puree from the freezer. In Autumn I usually stock up with a variety of cooked and raw tomato purees, pastes etc, for use over Winter when tomatoes are at their least flavoursome. Feel free to use good quality tinned, chopped tomatoes too.

Similar recipes include a French Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and a Special Pumpkin Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, Pumpkin Soups, and Tomato recipes.

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Sweet and Sour Tomato “Soup”

There is a thing about some of the soups of South India – they can be like hot drinks rather than the way we might think of soups. We treat them as hearty, warming dishes to be eaten by the bowlful. Contrast this with flavoursome but not highly spiced hot  beverages. There is nothing like them anywhere else – they are neither like the tangy and highly spiced rasam, nor like the North Indian shorba. Some of the soups take influence from other parts of Asia, some from the English and French lighter soups and some from the soups of Portugal. These type of Indian soups are not common, but are also not rare.

I like to call it a “shot” of soup, often no more than a quarter of a cup. And it is often served after the meal, in a way that we might serve coffee. Relaxing over a shot of soup. What a delightful way to include more vegetables in our lives!

This recipe is a quick and easy tomato soup, in the Indian style. A hot beverage if you like. And totally delicious. While sugar is added to give the sweet-sour taste, it can be omitted and we often leave it out.

Also note that more Western style soups are becoming more and more popular across India as people turn their hand to cooking other cuisines.

This is such a delightful accompaniment to Fried Upma.

Similar recipes include Indian Sweetcorn Soup, Tamatar Shorba, South Indian Vegetable Soup, and Indian Potato and Tomato Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all of our Tomato Soups. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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A New Approach to Vegetarian Stocks – How to Make Really Flavoursome Vegetarian Stocks

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique, and one that does not require additional work. I make the stocks in the dish I am cooking. More often than not this is soup but it can be any dish – risotto, braises, bean bakes, veggie casseroles, sauces, veggie stews, etc.

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Broccoli and White Bean Soup with Rosemary

I have been lying in bed this morning – a cold morning of Autumn where it is nice to be sipping coffee and reading under the warm blankets. I have been watching the sky as I read, wondering what kind of day it will be, and it has varied from bright blue and cloudless, to dark and stormy, and back to few clouds and a bright blue sky. Such are the joys of our Australian weather. We watch the sky in Summer to see what heat levels we need to endure during the day, in Autumn we watch the sky for much needed rain, in Winter it is about how cold and wet it will be, and in Spring we wait for the first warm to hot day to arrive.

So it is nearly Winter and the soup pot has emerged from the depths of the cupboard again. We made an awesome spicy tomato soup the other day, quite Indian in style, and today we turn towards Italy and the simple but awesome products that come out of kitchens. I have heard the food of Tuscany particularly is called Poor Man’s Food, that is, food that is made from locally grown produce without fanciness or pretension. Exactly my kind of food. I remain a country girl at heart despite living in various cities for the majority of my life. The influence of those first 15 – 20 years never leaves you.

I have roasted the broccoli in this dish, but you can just add it to the onions if you prefer to skip that step.

Similar dishes include Broccoli and Chickpeas, Greek White Bean Soup, and White Bean and Leek Soup.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our Broccoli dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn food.

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Chickpea and Parsley Soup with Turmeric

Here is another of my loved rustic soups. It is a health-boost in a bowl, this soup. I usually don’t make it until later in the Wintery cough-and-cold season, but here we sit, at the beginning of the coronavirus scare. It is early March as I write, so I am putting attention to boosting the immunity of family and friends – and myself of course.

This is a very easy soup to make, and the chickpeas can be cooked the day before if you wish. Tinned chickpeas can be used – just skip the instructions for cooking them.

Similar recipes include Freezing Ginger and Making Ginger Paste, Chickpea and Pasta Soup, Turkish Spinach Soup with Chickpeas, and Parsley Braised with Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Soup recipes and all of our Chickpea Soups. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Indian Spicy Tomato Soup

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique.

A new approach

No matter what, vegetable stocks are still “light” when compared to the earthy groundedness and depth of flavour of non-vegetable stocks. So, after pondering this for some time, I began to make stocks that included such treasures as bay leaves (European, Indian and/or West Indian), juniper berries, brown cardamom pods, cumin seeds or powder, coriander seeds or powder, black peppercorns and allspice berries. What a difference these made.

Miso

Again over time – some years – miso began to make an appearance in my Continue reading “Indian Spicy Tomato Soup”

Saar | A Goan Rasam

By the late 1990’s I was beginning to cook Indian food or at least attempting to make a fair representation of some dishes. Many of my early attempts came from Goa as that was my first port of call on my first trip to India. Later I expanded my love of Indian food to Tamil cuisine and South Indian in general.

Saar is similar to the Tamil dish Rasam, but with Goan twists. The recipe is from Tasty Morsels; Goan Food Ingredients and Preparation by Maria de Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues. I picked it up on one of my early trips to Goa. It is like the Green and Gold of Goan Cuisine. I love to look through the book and remember my many visits to Goa over the years. I adore exploring the different areas of Goa, away from the tourist attractions, and dive into the different cultures. There were many times I travelled with a friend on his motorbike, exploring off-road areas and little-known beaches, as well as the local food markets, food stalls and tiny shops. Sleeping in thatched huts, eating at restaurants right on the beach, talking to women on the beach picking up inhabited shells to cook with rice. The smell of morning fires ready for cooking the day’s meals, the pink sands on the beaches, the sunsets, spice farms, hills, temples, music. Oh, Goa – I miss you!

Tickle My Senses has a wonderful description of Saar.

Well, saar needs to be eaten in the right way for maximum pleasure. Pour the piping hot tomato saar over your rice (for me the rice has to be swimming in the saar) then using your finger tips coat the rice with the piping hot saar, making sure you do not burn yourself ! then scoop mouthfuls of this delicious mixture into your mouth, accompanied with fried foods and vegetable. When all is done, lift up the plate to your lips and drink off any remaining saar, the orphaned bits can be polished off by licking your fingers….slurpp!!!

Note the Portuguese name of the author – there are at least 3 distinct cuisines in Goa – that heavily influenced by the Catholic Portuguese cuisine which is also non-vegetarian, that of the Hindu Goans which is more vegetarian and more traditionally South Indian. Finally there is the Muslim cuisine from the Muslim invaders and immigrants over the years.

Often Saar is described as a soup, which is a misnomer. While it is a thin but strongly flavoured broth, traditionally it is not eaten with a spoon from a bowl. See the description of Saar on the sidebar here. It really does capture the essence of Saar and Rasam.

We have a lovely collection of rasam recipes that we have put together as a collection. You can see the collection here.

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam with Tomatoes, Tomato Pepper Rasam, and Cumin Seed Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes and all of our Goan dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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A Collection of 30 Soups for Late Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

Sometimes late Autumn can bring sunny days and warm weather still, and secretly we hope for it. But the farmers pray for rain, and most years it comes. Cold weather comes too. We settle in for 4 – 5 months of cold weather before the sunshine emerges again with its warmth and new life.

By now we have stocked up on the lentils and beans for winter. There is citrus fruit and root vegetables. The oven provides warmth in the kitchen. Soups, soups and soups are made – they become a daily ritual.

Similar posts include What to Do with Daikon Radish.

Enjoy our 30 Soup Suggestions for the month that heralds the colder weather to come.

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Poritha Rasam

Poritha Rasam is a rasam without any souring agent – no tamarind, lime juice or kokum, for example. Many recipes do contain tomatoes (considered a souring agent in India) and of course coconut (a defining feature of Poritha Sambar and Rasam).

The Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal, has a Poritha Rasam that contains no tamarind, lime, coconut, tomatoes, mustard seeds or chillies. It is indeed a simple rasam, but is still very very tasty. It has a toor dal base which helps. It is similar to her Lime Rasams, but without the lime juice.

We are working through the Rasams Chapter in Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See as they are traditional Tamil recipes. Although we are not afraid to step away from the tree, going back to very traditional recipes (that can still be made in the modern kitchen) is an important way to get the hang of traditional as well as modern methods and flavour combinations. I hope you feel the same. There was a really lovely article on her and her books published recently.

See all of the Lime Rasam dishes here. Similar recipes include Saar, Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, and Pepper Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following article:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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