Indian Tomato Soup With Chilli Cheddar Puff Sticks

It like reliving my mom’s life.My father used to call her midway to home and she used to put the soup pot on the stove top so that it is ready until he reached home.A piping hot bowl of soup topped with a dollop of butter and homemade bread croutons was an integral part of winter evenings in my house.And the prelude to supper was incomplete without stories from the whole day from everyone..everybody shared their highlight of the day.It was so much fun.Yes I m getting nostalgic and I have to stop.

P calls home when he starts from office and I start warming the soup so that we can enjoy bowl fulls while watching T.V. together.Though I try to make a different soup each day but we both really look forward to evenings when tomato or lentil soup is on the menu.We share our day and discuss about colleagues sometimes or make plans for the weekend over warm sips of soup.I innately find living my life, running the household etc quite similar to the memories of my mom .Even my problem solving approach towards the household is similar.

Tomato Soup or “Tamatar ka Shorba” is indian tomato soup which is brothy, laden with subtle hints of spices and the aroma of ghee[clarified butter]Though in restaurants you will usually find it laden with milk and cream but the home version tastes more like tomatoes.Indians have this inherent liking for tomato soup.It is the most popular soup in the subcontinent followed closely by lentil soup.Atleast I feel so.As winter approaches, almost all cafes gear up to install a tomato soup machine in the cold northern parts especially.Its a classic beverage served at weddings and dinner parties.Again there are a lot of varieties all over the country.You will find use of coconut milk and tamarind in the south indian tomato soup and the north indian type is pleasant tasting with yogurt,cream or milk.

Over the weekend I created a sort of fusion meal of tomato soup and puffy chilli cheese sticks for both of us.Did I just call soup a meal..yes I did.For me,a tomato soup bowl is a meal.Because I have to have at least two bowls of it without caring about skipping dinner.Or rather its an escape from the kitchen on weekend nights.The worst thing I can do to put myself off on a weekend evening is to slog in front of the stove.

An easy soup to make with a secret ingredient which is not a secret any more as I write the recipe.Instead of bread croutons try making these darn easy cheddar sticks which go really well with the soup and make the experience similar to the classic american combo of grilled cheese & tomato soup.The best pat of the recipe is that you can vary the spices and condiments in the soup as you like..I like putting a lot of ginger in my soup and not so much garlic..feel free to twist the recipe to your liking. As far as the chilli Cheese Puffs go,they may not be the most beautiful thing in the world but they taste heavenly.And yes …taste while you comes out more delicious!

Indian Tomato Soup

What I need [Serves 2-3 ]

4 cups roughly chopped tomatoes [any variety which is not very sour]
3 tbsp yellow moong lentils [the secret ingredient]
3 tbsp ghee [clarified butter] or unsalted butter
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 fat garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 bay leaves
1 ” stick cinnamon
1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds [bhuna jeera]
2 bay leaves
5 cups of water/vegetable stock/chicken stock
2 tbsp red chilli powder [adjust to taste]
pinch of turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp sugar
Fresh lime juice [to taste]
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro,butter/cream for garnish

How I did it : Boil the chopped tomatoes,moong dal and salt with of water/stock till cooked.Once boiled, transfer to a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth consistency.Strain the soup through a soup strainer to remove the tomato skins and seeds.In a medium  pot, melt the ghee and add chopped onions to it.Saute for 5 minutes, till onions are soft.Next, add the grated ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds more.Next add the strained soup mixture, cinnamon, bay leaves, turmeric,roasted cumin seeds,red chilli powder to the pot.Check the salt and add more water/stock depending on the consistency you want your soup.Let the soup come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes.Once cooked, remove from heat and add the sugar & garam masala. Squirt a lemon wedge over the soup,garnish with cilantro and a dollop of butter and serve warm with chilli cheese puffs [recipe below] or croutons or bread sticks.

Chilli Cheddar Puff Sticks

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 tbsp red chilli powder [or paprika]
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 beaten egg, for brushing
1 tsp salt to sprinkle
Flour for dusting

How I did it: Preheat the oven to 400F /200 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.On a floured surface, unfold your puff pastry.Brush the puff pastry sheet with egg wash thoroughly.Spinkle red chilli powder and salt over the whole sheet.Now, spread the grated cheese on half of the puff pastry sheet leaving 1″ from the ends and press the cheese down so that it sticks to the surface.Re-brush the left out 1″ with egg wash thoroughly.Fold over the other half of the pastry sheet over the cheese and seal the edges.You can use a fork to pinch the edges.Take a rolling-pin and roll out the pastry slightly.Once rolled out, brush the top with egg wash again.Cut out 18-20 strips of the puff pastry of about 1/2″ width.Twist the strips holding them between your hands. Bake the sticks for 8-10 minutes or until light brown.


Sending this to Hearth n Soul #35

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