Cold winter nights call for a bowl of steaming hot soup. My absolute favorite is tomato soup. I usually prepare fresh tomato basil soup to go with a mean grilled cheese sandwich–which of course is made with sourdough bread. Sometimes, I feel that my soup would taste even better with a desi touch. Naturally, this was all the push I needed to toy around with a new recipe. When my local farmers market was getting the last tomatoes of the season, I took the chance and began experimenting. It was the perfect time to play with my soup base.
You may not have farmers market tomatoes accessible to you in winter. That’s alright because tomatoes from your local grocery store will work in a pinch. But, I do recommend making this when tomatoes are in season because the taste is unlike any other. You won’t regret it.
Canned tomatoes as the base? Nah. Roasting the tomatoes is where it’s at. Roasted tomatoes provide a mouthwatering fresh flavor that can’t be beaten. Although it’s a bit time-consuming, it is definitely worth the extra effort. Pureeing fresh, roasted tomatoes give the soup a thick, rich consistency–without the addition of cream. If you enjoy planning ahead, no problem! You can roast the tomatoes no more than one day in advance and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make some slurp-worthy soup.
When you are simmering all of your ingredients over the stove, expect your pot to look… well, kind of like a hot mess. Don’t panic! It should look like this. Once you blend and puree everything together, it will transform into the perfect soup consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let your soup cool for about 30 minutes before transferring it to a blender or food processor. Just be sure to heat the soup to a simmer before adding the tadka ingredients.
I tried making the soup without ginger, and it was pretty bland–definitely not what I was going for. Extra fresh green chiles work well to balance the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and add a kick to your soup. Lightly fried paneer and garlic naan wedges are great ideas to top your soup. I prefer Trader Joe’s fresh garlic naan because it perfectly complements it, but anything that is available definitely works.
In my experience, soup tastes even more delicious on the second day. I feel that giving the soup time to rest allows the spices and flavors a chance to really immerse in each other and create the perfect winter food. But…something tells me you won’t be able to resist giving this a taste as soon as it’s ready. Give it a try and see for yourself!Print
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut lengthwise. Preferably roma, heirloom, or plum tomatoes
- 2–3 tbsp olive oil to drizzle
- Salt and pepper to season
- 2 tbsp high heat oil, such as peanut or grapeseed oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 thai chiles, chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, chopped finely
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 7.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes with sauce
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 1/2 tsp salt, adjust accordingly
- 1 tbsp high heat oil
- 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 10–15 curry leaves
- 6 ounces paneer, cut into cubes and shallow fried in oil until golden brown
- Garlic naan, toasted and cut into wedges. I prefer Trader Joe’s fresh (not frozen) garlic naan
- Arrange oven rack to middle. Preheat oven to 400F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper
- Arrange the tomatoes facing up (skin side down) on lined baking tray in a single layer
- Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until edges start to brown
- Remove tray from oven and let tomatoes cool to room temperature. Do ahead: you can do this the day before and store roasted tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge
- In a medium, roughly 6-quart, pot heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat
- Add onion and saute until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes
- Add garlic, ginger, and chopped chiles and saute for another 3-5 minutes
- Add in sugar and turmeric and stir to combine
- Stir in canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, vegetable broth, and salt and bring to boil
- Once soup is boiling, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove soup from heat, and use immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency*
- Return soup to stove over low heat
- In a small tadka dish, heat oil over low heat**
- Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Immediately cover with lid or small plate as this will splutter. Let splutter for about 1-2 minutes
- Pour tadka into soup and stir to combine. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt as needed
- Serve with fried paneer cubes and toasted garlic naan
*Okay to use blender or food processor after letting soup cool as an alternative to an immersion blender
**I recommend a tadka dish with one long handle for ease of pouring