South Indian Baby Sweetcorn and Green Bean Soup

This is our second Baby Corn Soup; this one includes green beans for added crunch and fresh taste. It is another soup from Vol 4 of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, written by her daughter Priya Ramakumar. They are reminiscent of, say, 1970’s style soups – simple, no fuss, delicious. many of them (but not this one) are Anglo-Indian. I adore them – they are such a contrast to other elements of Indian cuisine.

As explained in previous posts, Soups as we know them are uncommon in India. But in South Indian, the TamBram community does make some very simple and un-spiced soups, probably influenced by the British, and perfect for using up left over odds and sods of vegetables.

Rather than being served in large bowls like we might serve a soup, it is served in small bowls, unaccompanied by crusty bread, grated cheese, olive oil for drizzling, or croutons. Actually, it is a really nice beginning to a hot and spicy meal.

Several of the soups in this volume of Cook and See show the growing love for Chinese food in India at the time that the volume of recipes was written. The nod to Chinese fare is created by a drizzle of soy sauce on top of the soup. Baby corn, after all, is associated (probably incorrectly) in many countries as being quintessential Chinese. This Indo-Chinese cuisine is very popular.

Baby corn is available at most Asian Grocery shops.

Similar recipes include South Indian Baby Corn Soup, South Indian Spring Onion Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or browse all of our Indian Soups here, and all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes. Our Indian Recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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South Indian Carrot Soup

Here is another of the quick soups from Vol 4 of Cook and See – this volume of Meenakshi Ammal’s cookbooks is by Priya Ramkumar. It is a 1970’s style soup, quick and easy, simple and fresh, and surprisingly packed full of flavour. They make great luncheon soups with a salad and some fresh crunchy bread, or a perfect beginning to a heavier meal.

I have written elsewhere about the role of these South Indian soups, so check out the others in this series for comments and my experiences in India.

Similar recipes include South Indian Green Peas Soup, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, and South Indian Spring Onion Soup.

Browse all of our South Indian Soups, and indeed, all of our Soups. Our Indian recipes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or enjoy our collection of Mid Winter dishes.

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South Indian Baby Corn Soup

Oh how cute – baby corn in a creamy base. It makes a great soup. Fresh baby corn is easy to find in Asian groceries if your local green grocer does not stock it.

This is another soup recipe from Vol 4 of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See iconic books. All the soups in this section are simple, unspiced and almost 1970’s in style. This is not surprising, given the era that Meenakshi Ammal wrote the rest of the books. Soups like this are not common in South India, but not rare either. Baby corn is quite popular – going with the love of all things Indo-Chinese – and as I said, are really cute.

Are you after other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Spring Onion Soup, Beetroot Soup, and Cauliflower Soup.

Would you like more Sweetcorn dishes? Try Sweetcorn Sundal, and Roast Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup.

All of our South Indian Soups are here and all of our Soups here. Browse our Sweetcorn dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or simply explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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South Indian Green Peas Soup

Have you ever before seen serve hot with soy sauce as an instruction for a soup? Well, now you have. In this Green Pea Soup recipe from Tamil Nadu, South India, that is exactly the serving suggestion. South Indian soups are unspiced but flavoursome soups that are probably hang-overs from the British occupation. Somehow they have snuck into parts of the South Indian cuisine. This one has a slight Indo-Chinese influence – thickened with cornflour and topped with soy sauce.

In my experience, South Indian soups are served in small amounts. I have had them both before a main meal and after, so traditions must vary across South India.

This soup is made from peas, carrots and cauliflower, and thickened slightly with cornflour. It’s delicious, in a 1970’s sort of way. I love it.

Are you looking for other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, South Indian Summery Tomato Soup, South Indian Baby Corn Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or perhaps you are after other (more spicy) Indian soups? Try Mung Dal with Coconut, Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, and Simple Indian Dal Soup.

Or some Pea recipes? Try Carrots and Green Peas with Green Coriander, Green Pea Pilaf, and Buttermilk Sambar.

You can also browse all of our South Indian Soups, and all of our Indian Soups. Or have a look at our Pea recipes.  Perhaps you would like to explore all Indian dishes. Or maybe all of our Soups. Or simply take some time to have a look at our Late Spring dishes.

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South Indian Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onion Soup is less common than, say Onion Soup, but it isn’t unusual. It is delicious with a different taste to the long-cooked onions in Onion Soup. The base of the soup is made with potatoes which gives the soup some texture. This recipe also uses cream and a flour roux to add body to the soup, sticking with the usual simplicity of the soups from Vol 4 of Cook and See, the addendum to Meenakshi Ammal’s triology, this one written by Priya Ramkumar.

I do love exploring the soups in this volume. Theoretically, reading them op paper, they should not be worth making. Compared to other Soups that we usually make, they are so very simple, sort of 1950’s simple. But they are always amazingly good. Simple, unspiced or simply spiced, their flavours are unusual and unexpected.

I have spoken about South Indian Soups before – so gentle, just with the flavour of the vegetable, no chilli and little other spice. I am even more convinced that they are a left-over from the time of the British occupation (I have just read The Complete Indian Housemaker and Cook, written for British women spending time in India during the time of occupation). But nevertheless, I love these soups because of their quaintness, and perhaps because they remind me of the soups my mother made when I was but a wee girl.

Are you after other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, South Indian Green Pea Soup, South Indian Summery Tomato Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or a Spring Onion recipe? Try Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Spring Onion.

If you want to browse all Indian Soups, they are here. Or have a look at our Spring Onion recipes.  Perhaps you would like to explore all Indian dishes. Or maybe all of our Soups. Or simply take some time to have a look at our Mid Autumn dishes.

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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 similar Soups? Try Chilled Beetroot Soup and Quick Gazpacho. 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? Try South Indian Spring Onion Soup, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Light Summery Tomato Soup, South Indian Baby Corn 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 other Indian Soups? Try South Indian Spring Onion Soup,  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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Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style

Another beautiful Mung Bean recipe, a soup from Jaffna in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan in its origins, this Mung Dal recipe from Jaffna is quick and lovely. The recipe is from that lovely cookbook of South Indian and Jaffna / Sri Lankan cooking – A Monk’s Cookbook by the monks from the Hindu Aadheenam on Kauai in Hawaii (you can download it here).

Mung in all of its forms is a favourite of ours – whole beans, split dal, hulled or unhulled. The gentleness of its texture and flavour always makes one feel loved and nourished. With a flavour that is just a little on the sweet side, even hardened lentil-haters will love Mung.

Similar recipes include Mung Dal with Green Mango, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Mung Dal with Ghee, Simple Indian Mung Dal Soup, and Simple and Gentle Mung Soup.

Are you looking for other types of Mung recipes? Try Mung Sprouts Sundal, Sweet Mung Dal Kitchadi, Mung Dal Sundal, or  Stir Fried Mung Bean Sprouts.

Or simply browse all of our Mung recipes, and our Dal recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Late Spring recipes. Continue reading “Mung Dal with Coconut Milk | Sri Lankan Style”

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 | South 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.

Are you after other Indian Soups? Try South Indian Spring Onion Soup,  Indian Tomato and Potato Soup, South Indian Green Pea Soup, and Light Summery Tomato Soup. 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.

We have other Tomato Soups. Try Rustic Tomato Soup with Feta, Carrot and Roasted Tomato Soup, and Roasted Capsicum, Tomato and Peanut Soup.

Explore all of our Tomato Soup recipes, all of our Indian Soups, and all of our Indian recipes . Or browse our Late Summer dishes.

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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.

These memories came back when I came across a Dal Soup as I was browsing what turned out to be an Anglacised Indian cookbook today. I wanted to make something similar, but I laughed when I saw that the recipe used yellow split peas. Oh boy, there is no real equivalant in India. It equates either to mung dal or toor dal (both mushy when cooked) or channa dal (holds its shape when cooked).

So I adopted and adapted this recipe to suit my needs. It is rather delicious.

You might like to also try Spicy Tomato and Dal Rasam-Style Soup, A Gentle Asparagus Soup, South Indian Baby Corn Soup, and a Simple Mung Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and all of our Soups. Or enjoy our Early Autumn recipes.

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A Indian-Rasam Style Spicy Tomato and Dal Soup

Ingredients from the freezer – Lunch is prepared in 15 minutes.

Every county has the concept of fusion cooking. Close to country borders, techniques, ingredients and dishes from neighbouring countries are adopted. Food fashion makes dishes from a different country popular and elements of their cuisine are adopted nationally. A great example is the initial influx of Chinese style food into Australia. No-one from China would have recognised the popular Chinese food – it was a fusion of Chinese techniques and tastes adapted for Australian preferences. The story repeats for the introduction of Italian, Greek, SE Asian, Vietnamese etc food, and the same process is repeated around the world. The food is always adapted for the strong preferences of the local population.

In this household we have tastebuds attuned at least a little to Italian, French and South East Asian flavours, not to mention the Australian preferences for flavour combinations. So sometimes I play with my beloved Indian flavours to create a dish close to but just not quite traditionally Indian.

Feel free to browse our Rasam recipes here and here.  Or you might be interested in our Indian recipes here and here. We have a number of tomato soup recipes here and here. Or get inspiration from our Summer dishes here and here.

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Amaranth Soup with Tamarind | Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind and Amaranth Leaves

Amaranth – a wonderful, underused vegetable.

Amaranth Greens are quite common in India, but are an unusual ingredient here and only available in specialist Asian markets, unless you grow your own. We have rows and rows of them throughout the garden because they look so beautiful.

S. Meenakshi Ammal in Vol 1 of her book Cook and See, has a Poritha Kuzhambu that incorporates Amaranth Greens, perfect for when these are in season.

If you are interested, you can read about the differences between the sibling dishes of sambar and kuzhambu. See  Sambar vs Kuzhambu for more information. This recipe is a Poritha Kuzhambu, close to the Pitlay variety with its special spice mix and toor dal. Ammal does not call it Pitlay and it does have some differences, but it uses a Pitlay spice mix.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and CuminPitlai, and  Sampangi Pitlai.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu recipes? Try Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Pulse Ball Moar Kuzhambu, and Grated Coconut Masala Kuzhambu.

You can browse the other kuzhambu recipes here. Check our Amaranth Leaf Recipes. Browse our other Indian recipes. Or simply be inspired by our Mid Spring recipes.

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Two Gentle Golden Mung Soupy Dals | Sada Moong Dal and Kara Moong Dal

Especially good for sensitive times.

Sometimes we want a break from spice heat, right? We want to be coddled by our food. We are feeling a little sensitive, a little vulnerable, and long for something gentle and delicious that will make us feel loved and supported and a little bit in heaven.

I have the dish for you. You are welcome.

Similar dishes include Mung Dal with Green Mango, Simple Monk’s Dal, Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, and Mung Dal with Coconut Milk.

You might like to browse all of Yamuna Devi’s recipes, and check our Mung recipes. All of our Dals are here. Our Indian recipes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Two Gentle Golden Mung Soupy Dals | Sada Moong Dal and Kara Moong Dal”