Indian-Spiced Tomato Soup

INDIAN-SPICED TOMATO SOUP SERVES 6

Like my Asian Gazpacho, this soup is inspired by Silicon Valley—its bounty of beautiful summer tomatoes coupled with the wave of immigrants, many from India, who have helped fuel the tech boom. While the rich flavors of Indian curries and other stick-to-the- ribs dishes have become mainstream in the American diet, more elegant and refined flavors of Indian cuisine—which often make abundant use of South Asian spices like the coriander in this recipe—are finding their way into our Indian food vernacular.

INGREDIENTS:   

10 ripe medium tomatoes (about 
4 pounds), or 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, including the juices

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed


1 bay leaf


2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish


1 tablespoon ground coriander

¼ cup heavy cream


4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter


Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

If you are using fresh tomatoes, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tomatoes, immediately turn off the heat, and
let them sit for about 3 minutes, until the skin starts to crack and separate from the fruit. Drain the tomatoes in a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Peel off the skins, and transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl, reserving the juices.

Heat the vegetable oil in the empty pot over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, until the onions start to soften. Add the bay leaf, cilantro, and coriander and cook for
 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Allow to cool slightly.

Put the onion mixture in a blender, add half of the tomatoes
(or one of the cans of tomatoes with their juices), and puree
until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, and puree the remaining tomatoes in the blender. Add the puree to the pot and heat thoroughly until warm. Add the cream and butter, and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes to melt the butter and meld the flavors. Don’t overcook, or the fresh taste of the tomatoes may be lost. Serve with whole cilantro leaves for garnish.

Tip: Serve this soup alongside blocks of grilled paneer cheese (a fresh, non- fermented cheese common to South Asian cuisine) for a new take on the grilled-cheese-and-tomato-soup combo.

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