Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup

With the weather getting chillier day by day in Bangalore, soups are now making a regular appearance on our dining table. Here’s one of my favourites – tomato soup, flavoured with Italian herbs.


Mom’s tomato soup vs. mine


Mom makes tomato soup in a different way from mine – she pressure cooks tomatoes, then purees them, seasons it, and then cooks it with some water added in. I’m not a big fan, considering I do not like the overpowering smell of tomatoes it gives off. Yes, I’m weird that way. 🙂

I make this Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup by first cooking onion, garlic and country tomatoes to a mush, then cooking it again with water and seasonings. There’s no overwhelming smell of tomatoes this way – only their beautiful flavour. The soup tastes absolutely delicious, with a gorgeous creamy texture, if I may say so myself. It’s just as tasty – if not more – as soup made from a packet. This homemade soup is a breeze to make as well.

How I make Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup


I use a bit of wheat flour to thicken the soup, a healthier alternative to cornflour. However, if you wish to prepare a gluten-free version, you could go ahead and use cornflour instead. It gives the soup a creamy, lovely texture, without actually using any cream in it.

Most tomato soup recipes suggest the use of pepper powder to spice it up, but I use a bit of red paprika or Kashmiri red chilli powder instead. I love the taste it imparts to the soup, not to forget a pretty red colour too.  A mix of shredded fresh basil and dried Italian herbs make the soup fragrant and all the more wonderful.

Lastly, I have used jaggery powder to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes, rather than sugar.

This is a completely vegetarian and plant-based preparation, suitable to those following a vegan diet.

My recipe for Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup


Let’s now check out the stepwise recipe for Italian Flavoured Tomato Soup, the way I make it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. 3 medium-sized tomatoes
2. 1 small onion
3. 5-6 cloves of garlic
4. Salt to taste
5. About 2 cups of water or as needed
6. A dash of red paprika powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder, as needed
7. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
8. 1/2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
9. 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
10. Dried Italian herbs, as needed
Fresh basil, as needed for garnishing

Method:

1. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep aside.

2. Peel the onion. Chop lengthwise. Keep aside.

3. Peel the garlic cloves and chop roughly. Keep aside.

4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the chopped garlic and onions. Saute till the onions start getting translucent, 1-2 minutes.

5. Now, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with about 1/8 cup water and a little salt. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy, 4-5 minutes. Switch off gas and allow the mixture to cool down fully.

6. Once the mixture has cooled down completely, grind it to a paste in a small mixer jar. Pass it through a sieve, to filter out any big bits.

7. Transfer the filtered paste to the same pan, and place on medium heat. Add 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water to adjust the consistency of the soup. Also add salt to taste, jaggery powder, red paprika powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder. Mix well.

8. Make a slurry of the wheat flour with about 2 tablespoons water, ensuring that there are no lumps. Add this slurry to the pan. Mix well.

9. Cook the soup for 3-4 minutes or until it thickens. Stir intermittently. Taste and adjust seasonings and/or water as required.

10. When the soup has thickened enough as per your preferences, switch off gas. Mix in the dried Italian herbs and some roughly shredded fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. Use country (Nati) tomatoes, rather than the ‘farm’ variety, for best results.

2. You could dry roast the wheat flour before using it in the soup. I haven’t.

3. White or black pepper powder can be used in place of the red paprika powder or Kashmiri red chilli powder.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how thick or watery you would like the soup to be.

5. Sugar can be used in place of jaggery powder. I prefer the latter, though.

6. Use cornflour to thicken the soup, if you require a gluten-free version.

7. I use dried Italian herbs by Keya. In the absence of these, you could use the sachets of dried oregano that come with pizza delivery. 🙂

8. You could also skip the Italian seasoning altogether, and garnish the soup with just some fresh basil (shredded) or coriander (finely chopped). Deep-fried pieces of bread or croutons can be used to top the soup too.

9. Use more cornflour or wheat flour, if you require very thick soup. The above measurements yield soup that is creamy and moderately thick.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


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