The morning cup of tea, and then quite an elaborate breakfast, which soon led to a royal lunch, followed by more tea and snacks and then a lavish dinner either at a restaurant or relation or farm. This defines the indulgence we had in India during our recent visit.
For someone like me who barely remembers the breakfast and lunches on salads and yogurt, this long trail got me starry eyed and dreamy – in the true sense, for the lunch soon led us to the bedroom for a long nap, something which I have not done for many years. We ate, we rested and had our fill. There was this urgency to try out everything that we miss here, at least once. The few weeks we had seemed like only a little bit of time. The home cooked food, the street foods, and also the restaurants and relatives to visit left us in a whirlwind.
Once we got back, the extreme heat took us by surprise. The over indulgence in India and the intolerable heat here, kind of left us in no mood to eat. Fresh, light, juicy food is all we were craving for.
This soup is something ma would make for me. A light healthy soup with a hint of tempering and I had liked it even cold unlike it is supposed to be had. But the way this soup is, it works all ways – steaming hot, or just warm.
The soup is tempered very lightly with ghee, Curry leaves, mustard seeds and red pepper. It is not spicy; the whole red pepper and the fresh curry leaves with the ghee imparts a lovely subtle smoky flavor. And always use fresh tomatoes and fresh curry leaves for this soup.
I loved this soup with some white rice stirred in it. Strange, I know, but it was good, especially when it was warm. During cooler times, some bread soaked in it would be fabulous too.
Light Tomato Coconut Soup
Ingredients: (makes 2 small servings)
- 2 large fresh ripe tomatoes, (about 1.5 cups chopped) – coarsely chopped
- 1/2 scant cup grated fresh coconut (use the fresh coconut frozen to substitute the fresh ones. Do not use dried coconut)
- 1 cup water (or more if you want the soup dilute)
- a pinch of sugar
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon ghee or melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1-2 dry red chili pepper, whole not broken
- 8 fresh curry leaves/kadi patta
- 1-2 tablespoon coconut milk or cream of coconut
- crushed red pepper (optional)
Bring the water to a boil. Plunge the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and the grated coconut in the boiling water; cook for 2 minutes or until the water starts to boil again. Switch off the heat and cover. Leave it covered for 15 minutes.
Uncover and use an immersion blender or pour it out in a food processor to blend the tomatoes and the coconut with the water to a smooth puree. If you wish, you can strain the puree to remove the bits of skin of the tomatoes. I do not care to strain anything out.
Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the whole dry chili pepper; when the pepper turns dark brown, add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the curry leaves, ( be careful and stay away, they will splatter due to the water content in the fresh leaves) and then the tomato, coconut puree. Lower the heat and simmer for about 2-5 minutes at medium heat. If you like it thicker, simmer for longer until you get the desired consistency.
When ready to serve, swirl in the coconut milk/cream of coconut.
Top with a spoonful of ghee, some red pepper if you wish and enjoy it your way…