Simply Soup

I know, I know. It’s really warm. And onion soup is very winter-y khana. But I did make some recently. Simply because our friendly vegetable vendor at the corner had 3 (yes, three!) types of onions to offer the other day. And I, again simply only, couldn’t resist. He had those net-type bags of white onions, and the regular pink/red onions, and then some spring onions, too. And I thought – I SIMBLY MUST MAKE ONION SOUP! So I did. Here’s how:

I. Chopped up (into pretty small pieces) about 6-7 medium-smallish white onions, 2 large red onions, a few green beans, a couple of carrots, a few mushrooms, a spoon each of fresh oregano, marjoram & (sweet) basil (pictures of which plants in my garden I’ll add later), a few cloves of garlic (to taste, you know).

II. Then fried the white and red onions and garlic in a little oil and butter (just sweated them, as I’ve learnt from on TV – more of which later on this here blog only). I warn thee, don’t let them burn, only turn transluscent.

III. Then I let them cool, removed them from the soup-pot and blended them all together into a sort of mash/puree (I’ve read  that this is usually done using a hand blender, in the cooking pot itself and mostly after all the cooking is done, but I only used the Sumeet mixie because that’s all we have that I know to use).

IV. Meanwhile, in the same large pot, I added a dollop of butter more, let it melt, then chucked in the carrots, beans, a few defrosted peas (hey I never said everything’d be fresh off the stem, I live in Delhi, not the European countryside or an American neighbourhood) and the mushrooms. Also added salt, pepper (ground/powdered), red chilli flakes, the fresh herbs, a tiny bit of dried herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano) and dried garlic powder (to intensify the flavour, as it were), and one medium-sized bay leaf (hamara sookha wala tejpatta only). Let it all cook together on low heat, covered, for about 3-4 minutes.

V. Now add the onion-garlic puree, mix and let it cook covered for about a minute more (no longer or it starts to stick, okay?). Meanwhile, dissolve a cube of vegetable stock in about half-3/4 litres warm water (ok, about 2-3 large coffee mugs depending on the quantity of soup you intend to end up with and how thick you actually like it). Then add this stock to the pot, cover and keep on low heat, till the entire lot starts to steam.

VI. At this point grate some cheese into it, and stir nicely to allow it to thicken the soup, while also adding some richness and an extra twist to the savoury aspect of its personality. (I was very fortunate to get to use some parmesan straight from La Italia, thanks to my kind and dear friend Ragu.) Then let simmer further uncovered till it just starts to come to a nice, rolling boil. Turn off the heat.

VII. Mix some lemon juice, more chopped basil leaves and the chopped spring onions separately, then add to the soup while still hot. (I picked up this last trick from a recipe called ‘Super Soup’ I read on the fantastic website Also sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves, if you enjoy and are used to (like me) putting dhania in everything when it’s available and not wilted yet.

Ta da! Surprisingly simple, despite my inexplicable erstwhile fear of soup-making. And FYI, it tasted lovely chilled too. Better in fact, given the warm weather. (Chilled savoury soups I’d only read about and watched being consumed on TV till then, btw.)

Although it’s grown nice again now. Raining a bit since last night, here in Delhi. I told my sister that it’d probably gotten so hot the preceding days because of a radiation cloud passing over the city. She said “Aren’t you a cheerful one?” I am a bit paranoid. No, that’s not the correct word. Doomsdayish is more accurate. Best be prepared for the worst, no? Not that it makes me any less gloomy.

Yet I cook and make jokes with greater gusto with the growing gloom of my thoughts. In my recovery from surgery I’ve also been watching more TV. With a vengeance in fact. TV has taught me a lot about food, in particular. Reely and trooly. Of course, the internet also helps. But more on that in my next post.

P.S.: Thank you, Varna, for creating all this hype. I already have a ‘follower’. Imagine. So might as well get down to actually writing about the food itself, I thought. 

P.P.S: Basically, I’ve realised, the trick is to figure out the base flavour of your soup – like the main theme of your blog (which, btw, is actually a not non-fun exercise done the WordPress tutorial way) – and then work to achieve the texture and colours you want around that. Hah. So what if I may never go to culinary school or wasn’t taught to cook properly from the age of 5, 10 or 15? Learning-by-doing, I say. Now I know what they are referring to on Top Chef Season 6 when they say ‘developing flavours in my dish early on’ and on earlier seasons, ‘I like to keep building from there’. Hah, again. 

4 Responses to “Simply Soup”
  1. Soity says:

    Learning by doing I say too, Maydum! I hope this blog gives you more reason to cook and experiment and feed those of us who are always willing to polish off your khana. Please upload the recipes of your dals, panch phoron sabzis and prawn pepper fry. Happy blogging 🙂

    • tarangasr says:

      Thankee, Soity 🙂 i learn lots from you, too. YOU should be writing – you know far far more and cook much more interesting stuff. I will put up a dal recipe soon – but want to put pics, too. So will cook and then put up. Okay, no? Plus I’m always happy to feed you all anyway!

  2. Lopa says:

    Hey, lovely post! both about the eggs (i love mine sunny side upa nd filling my mouth with the full yolk) and also the onion soup recipe.. By the way, I know about making onions sweat a bit.. it’s just about a bit of salt right?? I saw that on tv 🙂 keep them coming Taranga. and please, never give up something what you love for the person you love. Not worth it!

    • tarangasr says:

      haan…hamara saara culinary ‘education’ is from on TV wonly. TV generation. Truly not worth it. After the doctor said to eat eggs, i’ve been eating bulls-eye anda with a vengeance. And yes, I can’t believe I didn’t for so long. What a waste of my jawani. Yeesh.
      Yeah onions ko sweat karne ke liye thoda sa salt, plus most importantly don’t let the oil/butter get really hot (as we do in phoron/tadka) before putting the onions in. Although the word ‘sweating’ is funny in our Indian context, no? Like I think the chai in our office often tastes like ghaam, and I DO NOT mean it as a compliment.
      Thankyoo for the prompt look at this, love. Please share your photoblog ka link also please please.

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