I know what you think. I also almost never think of hot soups during the summer, but this tone is very special. First of all, as every tomato soup, is never tastes as good as when made with fresh ripe tomatoes. Secondly and above all, it is sour, the quality which for me places it among the dishes I typically crave when temperatures go up. It is also particularly light, easy and quick to prepare, three additional characteristics that make it a perfect summer soup. One of my favourite discoveries from Rick Stein’s India.
As usually, I have made some modifications, the most important one being the use of homemade chicken stock instead of water and I must say, even though it’s not a genuine Indian touch, it makes the final result even better. Make sure you check the original recipe in Rick Stein’s unique book I consider among several best cookery books.
TIP: If you think the tomato taste is not strong enough, add some tomato paste, as I did.
Asafoetida is sold powdered in every Indian shop in my city, so I guess it’s not difficult to find. It has a very strong aroma and changes the flavours considerably.
Preparation: about 40 minutes
Ingredients (serves two as the main course):
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 dried chilli torn into pieces (the best will be Kashmiri chilli)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
a small handful of curry leaves
4 big tomatoes
3 fresh green chillies
about 1 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons red lentils
3 cm piece of tamarind block
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
salt to taste
500 ml homemade chicken/vegetable stock or water
(1 tablespoon tomato paste)
1 tablespoon oil (I didn’t have the ghee, indicated in the recipe)
Chop the tomatoes. Slice the chillies diagonally.
Pour 50 ml hot water it onto the tamarind piece. Leave for fifteen minutes. (In the meantime start preparing the masala paste and the curry). After this time, mix it well and strain leaving the seeds.
Fry the first three ingredients in a tablespoon of ghee or oil until the mustard starts popping.
Add the black pepper and asafoetida and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Add the rest and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes or more (until the lentils are tender).
Sprinkle with coriander leaves just before serving.