Soups are an all time favorite. Ask any person and they reminisce about the special soup that mom, or grandma or uncle made.

In Indian cuisine, though there are no soups-per-se, there are many recipes that can be enjoyed as soups. These are some of my favorite soups.

Cilantro-Lentil soup (Aamti)

This is a distinct variation of the lentil soup we enjoy. Here cilantro dominates the flavor of the soup and gives  an aromatic touch to the humble lentils.

2 cups cooked lentil

1-teaspoon oil

1 medium size onion

1-tablespoon ginger

1-teaspoon cumin

2 cups chopped cilantro

1 cup water

Salt to taste

Heat oil and add cumin seeds and ginger. Sauté for a minute.

Add onion and cilantro and sauté for 8-10 minutes.(It is critical for the cilantro and onions to be very well cooked. I usually keep a timer for 10 minutes)

Remove from pan and make a smooth puree in the blender along with the lentil. Return to pan, add water and bring it to a boil. Serve with tomato ketchup and cream.

Hema Hints:

This soup can be served in three textures. To make an elegant soup, you need to puree the lentils. To serve it as a rustic soup, you can keep the lentils whole. Another simple variation is to puree half the lentils and mix the remaining whole lentils before serving

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Cucumber and Buttermilk soup (Kakhadi Mattha)

Soups are often associated with winter and cold rainy days. The soothing cucumber and yogurt soup is perfect for a sizzling hot afternoon lunch. The flavor of mint enhances the freshness of the soup.

1 medium cucumber

1-cup yogurt

5-6 black pepper

1-teaspoon mint leaves

½ teaspoon cumin seeds powder

Salt to taste


Blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste. Serve chilled with ice cubes.

Hema’s Hints:

This is an excellent thirst quencher. Add fresh mint leaves to ice cube tray (one mint leave in each cubicle) and then add water. The ice cubes freeze with the mint leaves trapped in between.

Add these pre-made ice cubes to any cold soup.

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Peanut soup (Dhanyache Saar)

If you love peanut butter, you will definitely enjoy this soup. This soup is typically made in the western part of India, in the State of Maharashtra.

1-cup peanuts (unsalted)

1-teaspoon ginger

1-teaspoon oil

1-tablespoon cumin

3-4 red chilies

1-teaspoon lime juice

1-tablespoon cilantro

1-teaspoon coconut

Salt to taste

In a blender make a coarse paste of peanuts and ginger with ¼ cup water. Keep aside.

In pan heat oil, add cumin and wait for it to sizzles. Throw in the red chilies and wait for 20 seconds. Add the peanut paste, salt, and 2 cups of water. Bring it to a rapid boil and finally add lime juice, cilantro and coconut.

Hema Hints:

For variation to this soup, you can add 1 cup of coconut milk and reduce water by one cup.

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Spicy Tomato Broth (Rasam)

This is a spicy tomato broth, which is relished, in southern part of India everyday. The special spice blend called as Rasam powder is the secret of this spicy concoction.

4 tomatoes

2-tablespoon rasam powder (*)

1-teaspoon tomato paste

Salt to taste

1-tablespoon fresh cilantro

1-tablespoon coconut

Seep the tomatoes in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove skin and puree it in a blender. In a big pot add the tomato puree and three times the water and bring it to a rapid boil. Add the rasam powder, salt and tomato paste and boil it for 3-5 minutes.

Serve piping hot with cilantro and coconut.

Hema Hints:

Rasam, with a generous dose of black pepper is very soothing when you have a nasal congestion, cold or sore throat. Typically rasam is enjoyed with plain white rice.

Rasam powder

1-tablespoon coriander seeds

1-teaspoon black pepper

2-3 dried red chilies

1-teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon yellow split peas or Toovar dal

Roast the spices and the split peas in a pan till you get an aroma and the color changes slightly. Cool completely and then place it in a coffee grinder and make a smooth powder.

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