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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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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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”

Indian Soup with Drumstick Leaves

We have a drumstick leaf fest going on in our house. I brought home two bunches of them when there are fewer of us here than normal, so it is drumstick leaves each day. Not that this is a problem as they are the new “super food”, although outside of India it is more likely that you will find them in a pill rather than as a delicious bag of greens in your Green Grocer’s shop.

We have had Sambar and Dal and Thoran with the leaves, and so today we are making an Indian style soup. These soups are simple, and allow the wonderful tastes and textures of the vegetables to shine through, enhanced and supported with a few spices.

Similar recipes include Moringa Leaf Thoran, Indian Pumpkin Soup, Indian Baby Corn Soup, and Indian Beetroot Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all of our Drumstick Leaf recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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South Indian Palak Soup

Another Indian soup for you – this time a Spinach (or other greens) soup.  It is a gentle one, similar to many of the other Indian Soups we have here. In this recipe a spinach stock is made, and it is served thickened and with cream. Delicious. A very good Spring soup. It is gentle, without spicing – a common feature of South Indian soups.

The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. This one is from Vol. 4.

Similar recipes include Indian Soup with Drumstick Leaves, 30 Beautiful Soups, Spinach Bhaji, and Aloo Palak Subzi.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all Spinach recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Tamatar Shorba | Indian Tomato Soup

Around the world tomato soup has a special place in the heart of people. My mother rarely made her own – we ate tinned tomato soup, and it was  wonderful! With piles of well buttered toast, butter made from fresh cow’s milk, we ate the soup in front of the wood fire on cold winter nights, slurping bowl after bowl.

While tomato based gravies and sauces are common in India, the idea of soup has not been common until more recent times. And my guess is that the British invasion had a lot to do with the growth of the popularity of Indian Tomato Soup. Derived from other dishes, Indian Tomato Soups (there are lots of different recipes) has gained a place in the heart of many inside and outside of that country.

We have another Indian Tomato Soup, one filled with cream (or use coconut milk) and gentle aromatic spices including lemongrass. It is a great recipe, but this one is different. This one is punchy and spicy, and totally gorgeous. On top of that, it is very easy to make.

North Indian soups are called Shorba and they are packed full of warming spices that help fight off colds and sniffles. In North India when the weather turns chilly you will find the shorba carts rolling into the streets. A traditional shorba is more of a consomme (a thin, watery soup that is very, very flavoursome) rather than the thick soups we are used to in the West. They tend to be served as drinks in small clay cups which warm your hands, your insides and your soul. They can also be served with rice as a winter warmer. Spicy shorbas originated from the Mughal cuisine. The spices used are all about warming your insides so lots of ginger, garlic, chilli and masalas.

Similar recipes include Indian Sweetcorn Soup, Indian Soup with Drumstick Leaves, Creamy Indian Tomato Soup, South Indian Tomato and Potato Soup, Cream of Potato and Tomato Soup with Leeks, and Tomato Rasam.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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South Indian Cold Minty Cucumber Yoghurt Soup

If you follow us on twitter or instagram you will know that in January we had the hottest day on record – over 47C – and temperatures into the 40c until midnight. It was manageable, and our local wild bird population crowded into the cool of the verandah where we made sure water was available for them. I made this crispy fried green bean dish for afternoon snacks that went well with beer (sadly I don’t drink beer, not even when it is 47), and this most excellent Feta and Pistachio Dip and Spread. I also made our recipe today, an Indian take on a cold cucumber soup. It is quite gorgeous. Simple. Easy.

Actually, this soup can also be sipped like a gorgeous lassi with ice. I love it this way too, on a terribly hot afternoon, sitting in the shade of the verandah.

Similar recipes include Tamatar Shorba, Cucumber Lassi, Cucumber Raita, and Tomato and Cucumber Cold Soup.

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Caldo | A Traditional Soup from Goa

In Goa there are several distinct cuisines – Indian/Hindu, Indian-Portuguese/Christian-Catholic, and Muslim. They differ quite considerably. The cuisine that receives the most prominence in cookbooks and online is the food that derived from the Portuguese Catholic invasion of 1510 and occupation until 1961.

Many of the well known dishes of Goa – Xacuti and Vindaloo for example – derive from this period and originate from Portuguese dishes that, over time, were enhanced with Indian food and taste preferences. Some Indian dishes were integrated into the cuisine, and most likely were influenced with flavours adjusted to the tastes of the Portuguese.

This soup is another example. It is a very simple soup – you can’t imagine how tasty it is from the simple ingredients. It is derived from a Portuguese dish and forms the basis of other Goan soups. Although simple, it is also a festive dish, served at weddings. It is a mild soup, but the cheese and pepper add beautiful flavours. It is common in Goa to use stock cubes to add flavour, but I use some quickly made, home made vegetable stock.

Note that there is a similar soup, Caldo Verde, which includes Goan greens and potatoes. It is different to this recipe.

Similar dishes include South Indian Palak Soup, Minty Cucumber Yoghurt Soup, Goan Vegetable Pulao, Goan Bisibelebath, and Fried Okra, Goan Style.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and all of our Goan dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Indo Chinese Sweetcorn Soup

Sweet corn is so divinely juicy and tender at the moment so I had no choice to make Sweet Corn Soup. I have a lovely Indian recipe but decided to make an Indo-Chinese style soup. There is one in Vol 4. of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See books, but the ingredient proportions have errors, I believe.

Instead, I made my similar version but included diced vegetables that are a quintessential part of this soup. Of course there is nothing really Chinese about this particular version of sweet corn soup – it is an Indian adaptation of a dish to make it appropriate for local palates. I remember being taken by my Indian friend to a Chinese restaurant in Goa in the early 2000’s, and the waiter was astonished that I didn’t want chilli sauce with everything! We should not grin too broadly – Australia travelled the same route when beginning to experience Chinese food in the 1960’s and ’70s. Remember Chop Suey and Chikko Rolls?

Enjoy this soup. I have added some chilli options for accompaniments, should you so desire.

Similar dishes include Most Heavenly Sweetcorn Soup, CaldoIndo-Chinese Baby Sweet Corn and Green Bean Soup, South Indian Baby Corn Soup, and South Indian Green Peas Soup.

Browse all of our Indo Chinese recipes and all of our Indian soups. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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South Indian Vegetable Soup

Another lovely South Indian soup from the Cook and See series of books. Vol 4 of these books is by Priya Ramkumar, Meenakshi Ammal’s granddaughter. It is simpler than the other volumes, introducing recipes of the early 2000’s  rather than the traditional fare of the 1950’s. I love the soups, as simple and easy as they are. Today’s is Vegetable Soup – vegetables are cooked till tender then coarsely mashed before being served with some cream swirled through.

Indian soups are usually served like a drink rather than a thick soup and they are consumed when it’s cold as a warming drink to warm the hands as well as the body. They tend to be packed with vegetables to give you a hearty health boost when the cold weather hits.

Similar recipes include South Indian Palak Soup, Minty Cucumber Yoghurt SoupIndo-Chinese Sweetcorn SoupIndian Potato and Tomato Soup, South Indian Carrot Soup, and South Indian Green Peas Soup.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all Soup recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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