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 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 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. Try South Indian Spring Onion Soup, 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 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.

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

We have other Mung Dal and Soup recipes too. Try Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, Mung Dal with Ghee, Simple Indian Mung Dal Soup, and Simple and Gentle Mung Soup.

Or simply browse all of our Mung recipes, and our Dal recipes. All of our Indian recipes are 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, 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.

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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 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 here and here. Or simply be inspired by our Mid Spring recipes here.

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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 might like to browse all of Yamuna Devi’s recipes here, or check our Mung recipes here and here. We have a wealth of Indian recipes here and here, or use our index as a guide.

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