It had been so hot in Singapore in summer that anything hot was anathema and so I was looking for some cold soups I could make ahead of time. I wanted to make a cold Gazpacho soup, but then realised I didn’t have all the ingredients with me. So I improvised and made this soup. It was well-received, though S didn’t like it. I also realised that BB didn’t like it cold, so I heated it and he liked it then. But this can be made and served both cold and warm.
Gazpacho Inspired Tomato Corn Soup
8-10 medium-sized red tomatoes
1 small cup of frozen sweet corn
4-5 cloves of garlic
inch piece ginger
1 medium-sized onion
2-3 green chillies
2 tbsp (or more) extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Defrost the corn and cook it in the microwave for about 6-8 minutes, or until it becomes tender
Chop the tomatoes and keep them aside
Peel the garlic and the ginger and keep aside. Chop the green chillies and keep them aside.
Peel and chop the onions and keep them aside.
Drain the sweet corn and in a blender, blend the tomatoes, sweet corn, onion, green chillies, ginger, and garlic. Blend first into a chunky paste and then add in the olive oil and blend to a fine paste. You may add some water if you need it while blending.
Using a strainer, strain the soup into a pan and reblend till everything is a fine paste.
Add salt and pepper and if you want, you can pop this in the fridge and have it as a cold soup.
If you like BB didn’t like the raw taste, add some water and boil the soup till it starts to come to a nice rolling boil and let it boil for about 5-8 minutes or until the raw taste goes away.
Drink it hot or cold, either way, it is delicious!
During Navratri, I don’t use onions and garlic in my cooking. My cooking during those 10 days is more satvic in nature and so it sometimes becomes a challenge to figure out recipes to make which don’t incorporate the two almost essential ingredients in Indian cooking. Though, if I am to be completly honest, tambram cooking generally does not use the two ingredients. But we were getting bored of traditional recipes and so I tried this recipe which was an experiment of sorts. It did come out quite nice and was a good accompaniment to not only idlis and dosais, but also as a substitute to sandwich chutneys.
No Onion, No Garlic Tomato Peanut Chutney
6-8 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
8-10 curry leaves
5-6 fresh red chillies (you can also use green chillies if you don’t have access to red chillies)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a pan and when warm, add the mustard seeds and let them pop.
Then add the turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and stir for a couple of seconds.
Next, add the curry leaves and red chillies and stir till the chillies start to brown and the curry leaves become crisp.
Now add the roasted peanuts and stir well. Then add the chopped tomatoes and some salt and stir well. Keep stirring the tomatoes occasionally until the tomatoes cook and turn mushy.
Remove from the flame and cool completely. When cool, blend into a fine paste and serve as an accompaniment to idlis and dosai.
The other day while making dinner, I realised I needed to make some kind of chutney to go with dosa or adai. I didn’t want to make one with coconut which is what is traditionally made for these dishes since I didn’t have enough coconut on hand to make it, so came up with this tomato onion chutney which was super yummy!
Tomato Onion Chutney
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
7-8 cloves of garlic
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp broken urad dal
1 tsp roasted Bengal gram
1 tsp seedless tamarind (If using tamarind paste, you can use about 1/2 tsp)
6-8 dried red chillies (more or less depending on spice tolerance)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp grated jaggery (can omit or substitute with brown sugar)
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a pan and when warm add the mustard seeds and let it pop.
Next, add the urad dal and Bengal gram dal and stir for a couple of seconds.
Now add the dried red chillies and stir for a few seconds. Then add the sesame seeds and give it a good stir.
Then add the tamarind and stir for a few seconds.
Now add the garlic and let it saute for a minute and then add the onions. Let the onions become translucent.
Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and stir until the tomatoes become mushy and cooked. You can also add in a pinch of salt to help this process. At the point add the jaggery if using.
Switch off the gas and let the mixture cool completely before grinding it to a fine paste. Add salt while blending and adjust as per your taste. You can add a bit of water while blending if you feel the need.
I had some Ladies Fingers or Okra going bad and so wanted to make something with them. I wanted to make a gravy dish, but was bored of making a tomato gravy, so tried something different this time. The dish was super yummy and is a definite keeper for sure! I made this for lunch with Sweet Corn and Peas Pulao yesterday.
The recipe is slightly labour intensive, but very tasty and will be a keeper in your repertoire. It also uses more oil than I am wholly comfortable with, but is still ok as an occasional treat.
Tamatar Dahi wale Bhindi or Okra in a Tomato Yoghurt Sauce
1/2 kg ladies fingers or okra
1 pod garlic
1.5 inch piece of ginger
4 medium sized onions
4 medium sized tomatoes
1 cup plain yoghurt
4-5 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee
10 pieces of cashew nuts
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp kasuri methi
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Wash and dry the ladies fingers throughly. Top and tail them and cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces. Keep aside.
Peel the garlic, peel and chop the ginger, slice the onions and tomatoes separately and keep everything aside.
Heat about 2 tsp of oil and when the oil heats up, put in the garlic and ginger in it and let it stir for a few minutes.
Then add the cashew nuts and stir for a couple of minutes.
When the cashews start to brown add in the sliced onions and sauté till it starts to brown. Then add the tomatoes plus about a teaspoon of salt and cook till the tomatoes are cooked, soft and mushy.
Let it cool completely and then blend into a smooth paste, using as much water as needed.
In the same pan, heat around 2-3 tbsp of oil and in batches cook the chopped okra. Sprinkle a pinch of salt each time. The okra should be shiny and dark green with a slight crispy taste to it. Remove the okra and keep aside.
In the same pan, heat the balance oil and fry the cumin and fennel seeds. When they pop, add the blended paste and cook it till the water evaporates.
In the meantime, beat the yoghurt well and when the paste becomes thick and oil starts to float in the edges, pour this yoghurt over the paste and stir well.
Now add the fried okra and stir well. Add water if needed to thin the gravy out.
Add in the spices now – red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder along with garam masala. You should also check salt and seasoning at this point and add if anything seems less.
Let it boil on a low to medium flame till it comes to a rolling boil. Crush the kasuri methi in your palms and sprinkle it over the gravy. Let it cook for around five minutes and then switch off the gas.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or an Indian flatbread.
Note: If you make this in advance and are heating it up before serving, you may notice that the gravy has thickened because of the cashew nuts. In that case, thin it with some thinned yoghurt or milk.