Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Soups -Hot N Spicy

Soups are served at the beginning of the meal. They introduce the food that follows during the coarse of the meal. They are splendid starters, appetizers, nourishing and good for health. They help in filling us in between meals, or good for young, old and convalescing. They can also help the dieting people. In fact sometimes soups themselves can a meal in themselves.

Hot spicy steaming soups in chilly winters can be invigorating and cold and sweet soups during hot summer months are always welcome.

Soups can be served in family dinners or on special occasions like parties. So any time is soup time.

There are many varieties of soups like thin clear soups or creamy thick, hot, cold. etc. Usually thin soups are to be served with heavy meals and thick soups with light meals.

Garnishing soups just before serving not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but it will also add to the taste.

Here I am sharing some of the recipes I have...

Some Tips: Before starting on the recipes, here are some tips in general.
  • You can cook the vegetables in a pressure cooker, to save time, fuel and nutrients.
  • Generally vegetable stock or stock is used instead of water. It will be more tasty and nutritious.
  • The water in which rice, dals/legumes or chana (chick pea) etc, has been cooked can be used instead of throwing it away.
  • Similarly, the peels of the vegetables which are usually discarded can be boiled in sufficient water, strained and used as stock.
  • All this can be stored in refrigerator and used when needed. But the fresher the better.
  • To thicken the soup, refined flour made into white sauce can be added. Corn flour is also usually added. For Chinese soups only corn flour is added if the soup has to be thick.
  • For soups cooked in Indian style, daals or legumes cooked and mashed can be added. This will be more filling nutritious and healthy.
  • Rice flour can be added. One advantage with rice four is that it blends well with soups made in any style, as it has no taste at all. Also rice flour is much healthier, as it is not as fine as refined flour or corn flour. So I prefer rice flour.
  • Curds (hung) can be added to give taste and thickness depending upon the ingredients and style of cooking of the soups.
  • If you want your soup to be fibrous, add grated carrot or radish(mooli) or finely sliced/chopped onions, cabbage etc.
  • Soups can be garnished, with a dollop of fresh cream, butter,grated cheese or bread croutons. Fried Bhendi rings can also be added instead of bread croutons.
  • Bread sticks, Fried vadias or papads can also be served along.
  • Finely chopped, parsley, mint or cilantro (dhania), curry leaves, spring onion greens can be used for garnishing depending upon the soup..
  • You can use peanuts, cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts etc sliced and fried in butter or ghee (clarified butter) for garnishing.
  • For those who like it sweet, raisins, dried figs (anjeer) etc can be chopped and added. Pomegranate seeds can also be added.
  • You can add , roasted or fried pumpkin seeds, Chironji, melon seeds etc too.
  • Pepper powder is usually added to give the soups a spicy taste. But you can add finely grounded powders of coriander, cumin, fennel, carom seeds etc either raw or roasted. Experiment with each spice or a combination of spices. Similarly, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, dried ginger etc can also be used.

Tomato Soup I


Tomatoes 6
Carrot 1 (big)
Onion 1 (big)
Garlic 5-6 pods
Mint fistful or 1/2 cup
Refined flour (Maida)  2 Tbsps
Cinnamon 2 one inch pieces
Milk 1 cup
Sugar 1-2 tsps
Salt to taste
Pepper powder to taste
Oil  or butter 1-2Tbsp

  • Chop tomatoes, onions and garlic finely but separately. Chop finely or grate the carrot.
  • Heat 2 tbsps oil in a deep pan. Add cinnamon and cloves. Fry for a minute or two in colour.
  • Now add tomatoes and carrot along with mint leaves. Add salt, sugar, pepper powder and half cup of water. Cover and cook till the vegetables are well cooked or become soft. Let it cool.
  • Liquidise the vegetables. Strain it and keep aside.
  • In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil, keep it on a low flame.Actually if you can use butter it gives a good taste. But when using butter just melt it. Don't heat it for long.
  • Add refined flour (maida) and keep stirring it to avoid burning. This takes at least five minutes or so.
  • Fry till it gives of a nice smell. Add milk slowly, a small quantity at a time and keep on stirring so that no lumps are formed. Keep on stirring. Cook this until it thickens to your liking. This is known as White Sauce.
  • Now add two/three cups of water to the strained vegetable soup, add the white sauce and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Heat it again and bring it to a boil and until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Serve hot garnished with a dollop of cream or croutons.

Tomato Soup II


Tomatoes chopped finely 2-3 cups
Bottle gourd chopped finely 1 cup
Onions chopped finely 1/2 cup
Ginger grated 1 tsp
Garlic grated 1 tsp
Corn flour 2 tbsp
Cinnamon 2' piece
Black pepper to taste
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste

  • Take the tomatoes, gourd, onions, ginger, garlic and cinnamon in a vessel. Add 1-2 cups water.
  • Cook them till they are well cooked. Cool it and mash the vegetables well.
  • Now sieve/strain the cooked mixture. To this add 2-3 cups of waterand heat it on a low fire.
  • Make a paste of corn flour with little water. Add this to the soup, stirring thorougly.
  • Bring it to boil. Add salt, sugar and pepper powder. Boil till it reaches the required consistency.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of cream.

Tomata Shorba


Tomatoes 500gms
Mint leaves one bunch
Coriander greens one bunch
Lemon juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Black pepper 10-15 gms
Cloves 4-5
Red chillies (dried) 2 (optional)
Bay leaf one
Kasoori Methi 2 tsp
Sugar 1tsp
Salt to taste

  • Clean the tomatoes, and the greens thoroughly.
  • Chop the tomatoes finely. Chop the greens too. Crush cloves and black pepper.
  • Now take the chopped tomatoes in a vessel, add three-four glasses of water, sugar and salt.
  • In a muslin cloth take the crushed black pepper, mint, three fourths of coriander greens, Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves), bay leaf and red chillies. Tie it into a bundle. Place this in the vessel and cook until the tomatoes soften.
  • Remove the bundle. Mash the tomato pieces with a wooden spoon. Strain it and retain the liquid.
  • Boil for a few minutes.
  • Serve hot garnished with finely chopped coriander greens and a dash of lemon juice (optional)
So please try these and let me know. I have loads of soup recipes. But I could not key in all at one go. I will be sharing some more next time. Since this is winter time every where, I hope you enjoy these hot and spicy soups.

Please leave your comments, so that I can improve myself .


  1. wow.. nice detailed description of the soups... Keep it up. I like both your sites and the idea that you chose to keep them seperately like me :)