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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