A soup is such a simple dish and yet it is also one of the most diverse with many different textures and flavours. Desi Indian soups have a plethora of flavour in each spoonful as they use ingredients which are typically used in Indian cooking and when integrated into a hot broth, it takes the dish to a whole new level. While some of these soups feature spicy flavour and creamy texture, some dishes are native to the country’s regions and are only popular in certain areas.
With winter officially setting in most of the country, here’s a list of winter soups that people across India are currently having.
1) Mulligatawny Soup
Mulligatawny is the Anglicised version of the Tamilian word for ‘pepper water’ that was the original chief ingredient of this soup. Mulligatawny soup today is a product of the British Raj in India. The British modified the soup to include meat, though the local Madras recipe did not originally have it. The chicken, which was typically used by the British, is flavoured with Indian spices such as garam masala. The result is a filling, yet slightly spicy and creamy soup. While it can be enjoyed on its own, make it into a satisfying meal by serving it with rice or with some crusty bread.
2) Ginger Soup
Ginger soup is guaranteed to warm you up. It’s a soup to have when you are feeling under the weather. Not only does it warm you up inside, but the flavours will also bring your mouth to life. While ginger has many known health benefits, it is also very flavourful in this recipe as it adds a citrus-y freshness to offset the spice from the chilli. If you want strong Indian flavours coming from your soup, then definitely give Ginger soup a go.
3) Curried Red Lentil Soup
Curried red lentil soup is inspired by the Indian dal. Not only is the dish full of flavour, but the texture of the lentils makes it even better. Fragrant ginger, cinnamon and cumin add lots of rich flavours to the thick creaminess of the lentils. The wholesome ingredients are packed with protein, fibre and vitamins for a filling and delicious soup.
4) Chicken Rasam Soup
Chicken rasam soup is an authentic South Indian dish and the mix of ingredients creates a spicy broth. The chicken used typically has bones and it remains moist when cooked and is part of the soup. You can use boneless pieces but it may not have the same flavour profile. Additional oil is not needed as the soup gets its oily texture from the chicken fat, making it a healthy option.
5) Tomato Saar
Tomato Saar is the Indian equivalent of the classic cream of tomato soup. The tangy vegetarian dish is popular in Maharashtra. It is made by boiling and pureeing the tomatoes, which are then flavoured with mustard seeds, curry leaves and peppercorns. Some versions use coconut milk to thicken the soup’s consistency. Tomato Saar is ideally eaten with rice, but you can enjoy it on its own as well.
6) Potato and Coriander Soup
This recipe uses basic and cheap ingredients but they make for a delicious soup. It is a dish which is all about flavour as the potatoes, leeks and carrots make the perfect combination of varied textures when having this soup. The subtle sweetness and earthiness from the vegetables offset the spices to create a mild flavour with only a hint of chilli. Adding butter only adds to the richness of the soup.
7) Cauliflower Soup
This dish is basically aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) but formatted as a soup. The modified version of the classic Indian dish manages to maintain a range of wonderful flavours. The use of chilli, garlic, ginger and cumin makes for a similar flavour to the traditional aloo gobi. However, this soup is intensely seasoned to stretch the flavours into a full-bodied and hearty soup. Adding rice to this dish will make it ideal as a main course meal but it can also be enjoyed with bread or on its own.
8) Vegetable Manchow
This soup is very popular in Indian cuisine due to its simple preparation and spicy taste. A mix of finely chopped vegetables is cooked in stock and thickened with cornflour. It is then mixed with Chinese ingredients such as soy sauce. It is a thick soup with an extra bit of crunch as it is garnished with deep-fried noodles. While it is typically a vegetarian dish, you can add chicken if you like.
9) Mutton Elumbu Rasam
Mutton soup is very common in South India and is made by cooking mutton bones and meat with spices. This makes for an aromatic soup. It is a mild tasting dish and you adjust the spice level to your preference. Its ingredients list boasts of curry leaves, turmeric and red chillies. They undoubtedly add to its taste and the mutton makes it extremely hearty. This hearty soup is perfect to warm you on a wintery day.
10) Drumstick Soup
There’s no denying the health benefits of Drumstick that are full of vitamins and anti-oxidants as well as rich in minerals. Generally prepared in South Indian homes, this healthy soup is made with tomato, moringa leaves, garlic and onion along with drumstick.
We encourage you to try some of these soups this winter. With appetite generally higher than other seasons, winter is a good time to try new dishes and most of these soups make for a healthy break, making the decision to have them even easier.
Images are used for representational purposes only. All images from Unsplash.
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Palak Khandelwal is a chai enthusiast and a writer on her journey to making a career in journalism