Anglo indian tomato soup

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Starter | Tags: , , , |

This dish was introduced by the British at the time of the Raj and is reminiscent of cream of tomato soup, but with more flavour. This recipe serves four.

Timings :

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour

Ingredients :

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2cm/¾in piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with a splash of water
  • 650g/1lb 7oz ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ½-1 tsp sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • ¾-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 100ml/3½fl oz milk
  • 300-400ml water
  • For the coriander and garlic bread
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 slices bread, sliced on the diagonal

Method :

1. Heat the butter and the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the bay leaf and fry for 20-30 seconds.

2. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic and ginger and stir well. Cover the pan with a lid and fry for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are pale golden-brown.

3. Add the cornflour paste and stir for 1-2 minutes (do not allow the cornflour to burn).

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and black pepper, bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have reduced to a thick pulp.

5. Turn up the heat and continue to cook the tomato mixture for 5-6 minutes, or until the tomato skins have turned golden-brown. Discard the bay leaf.

6. Transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor and blend to a purée. With the motor still running, add the milk and water in a thin stream until the mixture has the consistency of double cream and is smooth and well combined (you may not need all of the water).

7. Return the soup to the pan and return to the boil. Keep warm.

8. For the bread, using a pestle and mortar, blend the coriander, oil, garlic and salt to a loose paste (allow some coriander leaves to remain whole for texture).

9. Heat a chargrill pan over a high heat. Add one of the bread slices and grill for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the bread is toasted and golden-brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining bread slices.

10. Remove the bread slices from the pan and brush them all over with the coriander oil. Serve immediately with the soup.

Chef’s tip:

Browning the reduced tomato base for a few minutes over a moderately high heat will enrich the flavour of the soup. Add a touch of red chilli powder for more punch.

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