May 11, 2009 2:52:55 am
From gazpacho to vichyssoise,chilled soups are playing with the taste buds
We are warm-food junkies. Only kulfis are allowed to be cold,that last icy bit to soothe the spiciness of curries,the warmth of rotis,the onslaught of re-heated rice. But,this summer,maybe you can turn things around and begin with a cold slurp.
If you walk into Sevilla at The Claridges,you will be welcomed with a gazpacho. The classic cold soup from Spain,it is a blend of tomatoes,red peppers,cucumbers and soaked bread with a sprinkle of fresh pepper and lemon juice. Now the chef is experimenting and watermelon is the new addition to the famously uncooked broth. Non-vegetarians may also be in for a surprise,with a square of tuna adorning it.
A host of restaurants in Delhi is suddenly dishing out cold soups. Chef Mayank Tiwari at the Smoke House Grill is busy stirring a creamy concoction of zucchini,basil and dollops of feta cheese. He tucks it into the freezer before ladling the green brew into a soup bowl. Apart from the zucchini soup,we are planning to add two cold soups to the menu for summer, says Tiwari. So the coming week,you can place an order for a Chilled Carrot and Ginger Vichyssoise and a Curried Banana Soup. We need to take care of the fat content in chilled soups to avoid a greasy texture on the palate, says Tiwari,It is important to get the ingredients right. Too many flavours never work in cold soups.
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While most chefs agree that melons and berries work perfectly in chilled formats,chef Bakshish Dean at The Park is busy mashing apples,apricots,litchis and mangoes to serve them chilled. People are slowly graduating to cold soups. We are planning 15 cold soups that will be served alternatively on the buffet spread. Among vegetables,potatoes,leeks,and bell peppers work quite well,but we are not attempting a classic vichyssoise,which has a viscous texture. We are going for familiar ingredients and fruity overtones, says Dean.
For an Asian version of chilled soup,complete with slivers of nori sheet and soba noodles,Chi Kitchen has a recipe Cold Zaru Soba. While the staff politely suggested that we skip it,we bravely attempted the dish. A rather deconstructed version appeared on our table with a beautiful kettle holding cold soy broth and another bowl of noodles dressed in strips of nori sheet. We should have listened to the staff: this
one is better served and slurped hot.
Fresc Co in Ambience Mall too is steadily experimenting with its soup selection. For its soup and salad buffet,you can always ladle in a flavoured chilled soup their best so far has been a simple recipe that serves pureed tomatoes with a dash of herbs.
When Ritu Dalmia served a Yellow Tomato Gazpacho sometime ago at Diva,it got quite a frosty reception. There couldnt have been a better summery blend but people really didnt go for cold soups, she says. Could the tastes have changed? At her Le Café,now you can sip a Cold Avocado Soup which offers a smoothie-like consistency. And,in a weeks time,her new summer menu will have a cold beetroot soup. At Harnn Spa,where Dalmia is supervising the cafe,there is a cold broth of carrot,orange and ginger as well.
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