Get innovative with soup

You don't need to have it warm. Cold soup can be as healthy and delicious as you would like it to be

Kavita Devgan
Updated14 Jun 2016
Asparagus Vichyssoise. Photographs: Pradeep Gaur/Mint<br />
Asparagus Vichyssoise. Photographs: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

There are many reasons soups are good for health—they are the easiest way to add a wide assortment of vegetables and fruits to your diet, and have a multitude of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. And contrary to what you may believe, they are in fact perfect for summer.

Soups are light and easy to digest and help in rehydration by replenishing the fluids we lose through sweat, says Gunjan Pannu, chief clinical dietitian at the Paras Bliss Hospital in Panchkula, Haryana. Most of us, however, give hot soups a miss as the temperature rises. That’s where cold soups come in. Tripti Bhardwaj, a senior dietitian at the Park Hospital in Faridabad, adjoining Delhi, says you can pair a cold soup with a salad for a full meal. According to Dhvani Shah, dietitian and founder of the Fims Clinic in Mumbai, soups are perfect to carry to office for lunch too. But, she says, “we must get innovative with soup recipes to make them more exciting”.

Bhardwaj, Pannu and Shah list their favourite ingredients for making cold soups, and the benefits these bring with them.

Tomatoes: The lycopene in it helps strengthen bones and reduces the risk of cancer. The chromium in it helps regulate blood sugar.

Cucumber: This water-filled vegetable is amazingly alkaline and also works as a diuretic, besides boosting immunity levels.

Asparagus: A good source of vitamin K, it is also loaded with B vitamins that can help keep lethargy at bay and help calm a person.

Musk melon: Rich in vitamins A and C, potassium and dietary fibre, it has a soothing effect on the digestive system.

Watermelon: It has high amounts of lycopene and glutathione, both of which are antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds.

Avocado: Loaded with good fat monosaturated fatty acids, potassium and the elusive folate, avocado has other disease-fighting compounds like lutein, beta-carotene and vitamin E.

Mango: It delivers more fibre than most other fruits, which helps curb appetite and keeps constipation at bay. It’s also loaded with beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin C.

Lychee: It delivers a lot of vitamin C, and helps keeps the digestive system healthy.

Mint: It is a great appetizer, promotes digestion, and helps resolve common summer problems such as cramps, acidity and inflammation in the stomach.

Yogurt: It provides you with a lot of calcium, protein, B vitamins, phosphorus and potassium. The good bacteria is beneficial for gut health.

Recipes (Serve 2)

Asparagus Vichyssoise

Ingredients

500g asparagus

200g potatoes

1 chive

100g red onion

10ml olive oil

1 fresh lemon

One by fourth cup vegetable stock

Half bunch parsley

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Method

Wash and scrub clean the potatoes. Bake them with the skin for 45 minutes in an oven at 220 degrees Celsius. Remove and cool.

Clean the asparagus spears, cut into dices and blanch in hot salted water for 3-5 minutes until soft. Peel the potatoes and mash with a fork.

Finely chop red onions and chive and mix with olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend all the ingredients and whiz until smooth. Add the vegetable stock, and chill.

Pour into a soup bowl or a pasta bowl. Garnish with drops of flavoured olive oil, lemon and parsley. Serve with crisp bread.

Gazpacho Andalouse

Ingredients

500g tomato

50g white onion

250g cucumber

75g green bell pepper

25g fresh basil

2 tbsp white vinegar

One by third cup olive oil

1 green onion

Half slice 1-day-old bread

Sugar, to taste

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Method

Blanch the tomatoes, peel and de-seed. Crush to form pulp. Add the bread and squash some more. Add white vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar and keep aside.

Peel the cucumbers and dice them into tiny cubes. Repeat with green bell peppers and white onions. Chop the basil.

Mix all the ingredients into the tomato pulp. Keep aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, slit the green onions on one side and put them in ice-cold water.

Pour the soup into a pasta bowl or a soup bowl and garnish with basil leaves and cold, green onions.

—Manoj Pandey, executive chef, The Dirty Apron, Piano Man, New Delhi

Chilled Cucumber, Lychee And Mint Gazpacho

Ingredients

1 large cucumber

50g fresh lychees (seedless)

3 mint sprigs

5 coriander sprigs

2 tsp low-fat cream

Salt and crushed black pepper, to taste

For the garnishing

1 tsp cucumber, finely chopped

1 tsp red bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp yellow bell pepper, chopped

Method

Peel and blend coarsely chopped cucumber, lychee, mint, coriander, cream, salt and pepper in a food processer till smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate. Serve chilled in a serving bowl, garnish with chopped cucumber and bell peppers.

Chilled Orange, Cantaloupe And Fennel Soup

Ingredients

1kg cantaloupe melon (peeled and seeded)

100g plain yogurt

50g orange juice

1tsp honey

One by fourth tsp nutmeg

One by fourth tsp paprika

Salt, to taste

For the garnishing

2tsp shredded fennel

2tsp basil oil

Method

Cut the cantaloupe into chunks and blend with yogurt till smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl, add orange juice, honey, nutmeg, salt and paprika and mix well. Refrigerate.

Pour the soup in a serving bowl, garnish with fennel and sprinkle basil oil.

—Davinder Kumar, executive chef and vice-president (food and beverages production), Le Meridien, New Delhi.

Avocado Fennel Soup With Sweet Mango

Ingredients

Half cup spinach

Juice of two large oranges

1 cup water

Half ripe avocado

Half mango, diced

1 small tomato, diced

Half tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 tsp fennel seeds

Half tsp red chilli flakes

One by fourth tsp freshly ground black pepper

Dash of sea salt

Method

Blend the spinach with orange juice and ½ cup water till it is completely liquefied. Keep aside.

Open the avocado and scoop the flesh into the spinach. Add half of the diced mango, followed by tomato (save a bit for garnishing), lemon juice and half a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Purée in a blender, add the rest of the water to thin it.

Transfer to a serving bowl, and stir in the remaining fennel seeds, chilli flakes, pepper and sea salt to taste. Serve immediately, or chill first. When serving, top with diced mango and tomato, and if you like it spicy, sprinkle a little more chilli and pepper.

—Avanish Jain, executive chef, Crowne Plaza Today, Gurgaon

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