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Exotic yet appetising, soups clearly rule

For centuries, soups have been the first resort of a special dinner and the last option for tired moms with hungry children.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2005 14:03 IST

For centuries, soups have been the first resort of a special dinner and the last option for tired moms with hungry children. Not any longer.

From staid staples like tomato and chicken sweet corn, soups and palates are evolving. Ever had seafood bean curd soup or some minced tenderloin coriander soup? Exotic yet appetising, soups clearly rule.

At Tea House of the August Moon in Delhi's Taj Palace Hotel, Chef Lo woos his customers with 18 soups on any single day, all eagerly lapped up by discerning gourmets.

"The high commissioner of Singapore is a frequent visitor here and comes only to savour Chef Lo's mouth-watering soups. Imagination and tradition are imperative when it comes to soups," feels Thomas Abraham, F&B director at the popular Delhi restaurant.

Say attendants at Flavours, the Italian eatery in south Delhi's Defence Colony: "We have customers who come here only for soups. They may have pasta with vegetables but soup is a must on their menu."

Soups have become a way with the world.

Chef Neeta Nagaraj at JayPee Vasant Continental, Delhi, says they keep varying ingredients to create exciting combinations. "Of course the old time favourites remain but we do have customers who come in and order their preferences."

At Goa's Taj Exotica, the roasted red bell pepper with rosemary and thyme soup is a hit.

"Soups make a delicious, full-flavoured and comforting dinner. They don't need extensive side dishes," says Samir Ghosh, a soup connoisseur.

Soups are something customers want depending on their mood swings. "Sometimes customers prefer a light, clear soup, at other times they may go for the thick talumein soup," says chef Stanley of Panasian, Grand Maratha, Mumbai.

The appetising broths have also become an important part of a restaurant's character.

Chef Peter of Panasian at Delhi's Marriott Hotel says: "Soups are satisfying to eat, gratifying to cook and forgiving of mistakes. The only pitfalls are over-salting and over-heating."

"People walk in at any hour and first order soups. In fact we have customers who want only soup and a slice of bread and nothing else even in our coffee shops," informs Chef Bala of Dakshin, part of ITC Grand Maratha in Mumbai.

But the best part is there's no magic formula for stirring up a steaming bowl of soup. The process is simple: Cut everything up, brown the meat, soften the vegetables, combine with broth, spices and flavourings, cook over high heat, and you are no more in a soup. It's ready and welcoming.

Savour the soup and satisfy your soul.

First Published: Nov 18, 2005 14:03 IST