7:59 pm - Saturday November 7, 2015

This summer, make a cold soup

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Considered to be a wholesome meal by itself, chilled gazpachos and cucumber broths are perfect for the sweltering heat

Can’t bear the thought of a hot bowl of what used to be your favourite soup? Don’t banish your foodie desire yet, for the answer might lie in a chilled alternative — the cold soup. Thicker than the usual hot variety, this one served cold, actually resembles a smoothie. Says food commentator Sameer Malkani, “Cold soups, made with light ingredients, are apt for a summer’s day. Here, we mostly make dahi-based ones so they are very cooling. I tried the chilled cucumber soup with some chaat masala for Indian flavour and it went perfectly with the salad meal I was having. Though it’s healthy and nutritious, the cold soup trend has to still catch on. People equate a soup with something hot, but that must change. If people are more open-minded, this dish, which is a complete meal in itself, will find a place on more menus,” he says. From creamy cucumber to tangy gazpacho, here’s why you should be trying out the broth today…

Kinds of cold soups
“In summers, the cold soup can be a welcome variation of the traditional one,” says chef Sudhir Pai. “Once made rustic by farmers or village shepherds who could not cook in the usual way, these soups really became a part of formal cuisine in twentieth century. Today, they are a part of elegant food menus everywhere,” he says.

There are basically two kinds — sweet, where fruit is used and savoury — which is typically served as an appetiser and made with vegetables. Most of these savoury soups are simply refrigerated versions of hot soups. They are easy to make too. The simplest one would be the ‘cream of vegetable’ soup with potato or broccoli where you simply roast or boil the vegetables and puree and chill them. Bean soups are apt too. For a sweet fix, make chilled strawberry soup by blending pureed pieces of the fruit, milk and cream. Add some sugar to taste. Chill this overnight and serve it cold. Sameer tried out a chilled asparagus soup and concludes that it’s an apt weeknight fix. “It’s made with boiled potatoes and lemon juice, olive oil and asparagus. You peel, cube and boil the potatoes, add the stock plus a little stock of the asparagus. Cool and puree this. Add some lemon juice and olive oil to it. Refrigerate and serve it cold,” he says.

Gazpacho, the most popular of them all
The Spanish soup gazpacho, is the best example of a cold soup. Found in quite a few variations, the most popular is the tomato-based variety which only had tomatoes, bread, olive oil, garlic, peppers and water. One may also add jalapenos and almonds for taste. The bread and vegetables are pounded into a paste, after which the tomatoes and olive oil is added, followed by vinegar. Today, modern versions are made with shrimp, watermelon and dill. Food blogger Sunayan Shahani loves it. “I love cold soups and tried a mango gazpacho recently, which was certainly different and ideal considering the hot weather,” she says.

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