Because there’s nothing like warm soup in winter

  • Sanya Goel, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Nov 08, 2014 16:25 IST

With the many layers of inviting blankets to cuddle into at the end of a day comes the time to dig out the pots and hunt for soup recipes. A piping hot bowl of soup serves as the ultimate comfort food to snuggle up to during the winter months, and offers plenty of health benefits.

A quick, light and hearty soup is a versatile dish that allow you to play with your favourite vegetables, legumes and meats to create new textures and flavours in no time.

Also read: Sweet Corn Soup vs Tom Yum

While creamy broths will always hold a back-to-childhood nostalgic appeal, there’s a plethora of healthier options you can experiment with to suit your whims. Mostly made up of water, these hot bowls ensure you get the maximum nutrition in the least amount of calories. Moreover, drinking hot soup and breathing in the steam can decongest the respiratory system.

We’ve rounded up a selection of the best winter soup recipes from chefs around town, in order to bring heart-warming winter fare straight to your kitchens.

Beijing Fish Soup
Ingredients: 5gm each of black mushrooms, light soya sauce, salt and sesame oil, 10gm each of snow peas, silken tofu, white
pepper powder, Basa fillet fish, Chinese wine and carrots, 15gm prawns, 1/2 lemon, 1/2tbs broth powder and 300ml water.
Method: Taking the stock in the wok, add the prawns and fish and let it boil once before removing scum to keep the soup clear. Next, add in diced vegetables, soya sauce, lemon juice, broth powder, salt and white pepper before
finishing with Chinese wine and a drop of sesame oil. Let the
mixture simmer before serving.
By executive chef Lenam Lepcha, Kylin Premier

Mediterranean Fish Soup
Ingredients: For the soup, you would need 100gm each of olive oil, onions, fennel seeds and tomatoes; 15gm garlic, 3gm thyme, 1gm saffron and bay leaf, 500gm fishbones (preferably bream or mullet), 800gm water, 125gm white wine, 25gm tomato purée and 6gm salt. For the Rouille, take 50gm egg york, 25gm garlic, 250gm olive oil, 3gm salt and 1gm saffron.
Method: Sweat the onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and saffron in olive oil till soft. Add chopped fish bones and cook for 5
minutes. Next, add tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, white wine and salt, and bring the mix to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Liquidise coarsely and pass through a fine strainer before keeping aside. For the Rouille, blend together egg yolk, garlic, olive oil and saffron in a blender, and finish with salt seasoning. Put together the soup by adding about 2tbs Rouille and blend it together to add thickness and additional flavour. Garnish the soup with assorted seafood and parsley twigs.
By executive chef Neeraj Tyagi, The Claridges, Delhi

White Asparagus & Almond Soup
You will need 250gm each of white asparagus and almonds, 1lt truffle oil, 1 lemon, 50gm yellow butter and flour, 100gm carrots, 30gm onions and leeks and half baguette.
Method: Peel white asparagus and soak them in water with a little lemon. Then, dice washed carrots, onions and leeks before
adding them to about 1.5 litres of water. After boiling the vegetables for about 30 minutes, strain them and keep the stock aside. Next, take white asparagus and cut them below the tip. Preserve the tips. Boil the preserved stock and simmer for 30 minutes before blending it. Get rid of any leftover fibre. Prepare a roux of butter and flour, heat asparagus soup and add the roux to make it thick. Blanch the almonds in warm water to remove the skin and sliver them before adding to the hot asparagus soup. Take a toasted baguette slice and brush it with truffle oil to serve.
By executive chef Subroto Goswami at The Lalit, New Delhi.

Also read: Have your soup and eat it too!

Meen Rasam
Ingredients: 30gm each of squid rings and Sole fillet, 60gm prawns, 20gm tomato, 5gm lentils (arhar dal), 2gm salt, ginger and garlic each, 15gm curry leaves, 1 dry red chilli and 1gm each of black pepper (whole), coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and
turmeric powder.
Method: For the Rasam powder: Grind together roasted black
epper, coriander and cumin seeds. Boil the arhar dal and keep it aside. Boil the tomatoes with ginger,
garlic and rasam powder, and strain. Add lentils to it. Pour oil into the wok and add mustard, dry red chilli whole, curry leaves and turmeric powder, and pour it into the
tomato mixture. Sprinkle salt before adding the sea food and simmer until cooked. Garnish with fried curry leaves. Serve it with steamed rice.
By chef de
cuisine Veena Arora, The Imperial, New Delhi

Young Garlic Cream Soup
Ingredients: 80gm elephant garlic cloves, 50ml olive oil and cream,
15gm butter, 50gm white onions,
100ml chicken stock, 1 thyme sprig,
1 chicken breast, 5gm Creole spice mix, 150ml milk, 1tbs chopped spring onion and salt and pepper to taste.
Method: Boil halved garlic cloves in water and milk to make it soft and less pungent. Sweat the onions in butter, add garlic and thyme. Then, add chicken stock and let it simmer. Rub the chicken breast with the spice mix. Take the thyme out and let the soup cool down for a bit. Purée the liquid in a blender after adding some olive oil. Cook the chicken breast for 6-7 minutes and let it rest before
slicing it into thin strips. Sauté the spring onions in olive oil before
drizzling it over the soup as garnish. Serve hot!
By chef Rajeev Kalate, The Oberoi, New Delhi

Amateur-proof your soup
* Salt soups as chefs do and add sodium in layers instead of mixing it all at once. Add some salt to the sautéed vegetables, and season your meat separately before and add it to the broth to avoid over-salting.

* Add a dash of something fresh — take your pick between fresh herbs, lemon juice or a dollop of cream. A hint of something uncooked will highlight the deep, melded flavours in the soup.

* Go beyond chopped coriander and parsley to create contrasting flavours and textures — so experiment with croutons, tortilla chips, sour cream, lemongrass, sliced avocados and jalapeños to bring a complementing accent to the soup. n Instead of boiling your soup continuously, reduce it to a simmer once it has come to a boil. Boiling your meal for too long will cause the meat to harden and turn vegetables mushy.

* While cutting your veggies, think about the size. Too big a size will cause the soup to look unappetising and will turn into a messy affair.

* Instead of cooking noodles separately, prepare them in the broth to add flavour and texture. Make noodles the final addition to the soup and cook until tender.

* To avoid curdling of cream, warm it before adding to the broth. This will also take care of the consistency of the soup.

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