As the mercury dips and winters take hold, it is not only time to pull out your coat and gloves but also cozy up to a piping hot and well spiced drink. No, we’re not talking of hot toddies or mulled wines (although those have their charm) – we mean the company of a hot bowl of soup. When you get home cold and hungry, not only will you love the convenience of a one-dish meal simmering on the stovetop but also enjoy the idea of devouring your soup sip by sip! So take the chill off with these regional soupy ideas that you can whip up this winter!
Shorba in North India
Of Turkish origin, this delicious stew is relished with great fervour across India. Shorba means gravy – or something of liquid consistency. The shorba is a versatile dish that can be prepared with chicken, tomato, mushrooms and a host of other veggies.
To prepare a chicken shorba (which just happens to be my favourite), prepare chicken stock by boiling chicken pieces in water with a hint of garlic paste. Once the stock is prepared, strain the chicken pieces and fry them in butter. In another pan, heat oil, add cumin seeds, some flour and finally the chicken stock, chicken pieces, pepper and salt. Simmer for a while and serve hot.
Easy to prepare and packed with proteins, the chicken shorba is all you need to keep yourself warm this winter.
Rasam in South India
Sweet, sour and spicy, the rasam is a miscellany of interesting flavours! It very easily weaves a cobweb of magical tastes around your palate.
One sip of the rasam and you’ve already received a warm hug on a cold winter day.
More popularly had in south India, no traditional meal is complete without the savoury rasam. Rasam means extracted juice or liquid and is prepared by sautéing chopped tomatoes and garlic and drizzling it with spices like cumin and peppercorns. Curry leaves and coriander are also added to lend an earthy flavour to the soup. Best served with rice, rasam aids in digestion and also helps increase metabolism.
You couldn’t ask for more wholesome comfort than that offered by the simple lentil soup. The soup can be prepared with masoor dal or moong dal (both packed with proteins) or a mix of both.
Here’s how you make it. Pressure-cook the dal and once it’s done, add it to sautéed onions and garlic. Spice it with chilli powder and salt, and cook it till it becomes a smooth mixture.
A bowl of hot lentil soup on a chilly winter’s day is just what the doctor ordered!
Serve it with bread or sip it with soup sticks – the dal soup makes for perfect dinners by the fireplace.
Saar In Maharashtra
What can be more enticing than a bowl of piping hot tomato saar?
Prepared by boiling and pureeing tomatoes, the puree is added to sautéed cumin, basil and peppercorns. Tamarind juice can also be poured into the mixture (depending on how sour you want it to be) to give it a tangy twist.
The tomato saar is much like the tomato soup and is had with great gusto in Maharashtra during weddings – especially those in winter. It can be enjoyed as a soup or to the accompaniment of pulav or masale bhaat. The piquant saar has a kick to it that is sure to inject a zing to your palate.
Kadhi in Gujarat
Although it is now had all over India, kadhi is an inseparable part of Gujarati cuisine. A wonderful concoction of sweet and spicy curd, kadhi is prepared by whisking curd and besan and adding water to the mixture. This mixture is then added to sautéed cumin, green chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and mustard seeds. Drizzle a pinch of salt and sugar and simmer on a low flame. Bring to boil and serve hot.Packed with digestive properties, the kadhi makes for a great soupy option this winter.
Though the 3 S’s of wine drinking – swirl, sniff, sip – may not apply to having soup, this flavoursome broth sure packs as much warmth as a glass of wine on a cold winter eve.
So tuck into the comforts of these regional soups and enjoy the winters till they last!