Tag Archives: cardamom

Spicy Tomato Cashew Soup

Let’s put it this way: when I saw this post on Joanne’s blog, I knew I had to make the tomato soup she was talking about. I commented saying something like “looks delicious” and “can’t wait to make it”–but it was no mere blogger small talk. I actually couldn’t wait. I went to the grocery store that very day on my way home from work, picked up the ingredients I needed, walked in the door of my apartment, turned on the oven, and immediately started roasting those tomatoes.

I’ve never had such a fast recipe-to-table turnaround. I don’t know what about this soup (as opposed to all the other recipes I drool over on the internet) compelled me to make it so quickly, but guys–it’s truly amazing.

I’m thinking of writing “Call of the Tomato Soup”–kind of like “Call of the Wild” except . . . more different. With less stuff about wolves and more stuff about food.

This, my friends, is no traditional tomato soup. The Indian spices make it interesting and very flavorful, without detracting from its naturally comforting qualities. As long as you’re okay with a little spice (nothing unpleasant–just a delightful glow-in-your-mouth kind of level), I say make it! And fast. It’s a very low-effort meal with little hands-on time, and it’s also a great twist on what I’m sure for many of us was a childhood favorite.


(Serves 4)

1 ½ lb Roma tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ large red onion
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/3 cup salted cashews
1 TBS tomato paste
1 cinnamon stick (1’’ in length)
1 cardamom pod, bruised
4 cups water
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
Optional: extra cashews and cilantro, to garnish

Here are the ingredients.

Except that I was in a hurry to get this soup moving, and in my frenzy I confused it with another recipe I was planning on making, and a few interlopers snuck in.

I x-ed them out for you. No hot pepper. No shallots. Those belong in the Tarka Dhal recipe I shared recently–also Indian, hence my confusion. While I’m giving orders out, I might as well order you to make that too, because it’s fab. Just fab, girlfriend. (Sorry, just channeling a little Beth Moore there)

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise . . .

. . . toss them with 1 tsp olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper . . .

and place them cut side up on the baking sheet.

Roast the tomatoes for at least 1 hour, but longer if you have time. Use this hour to head down to your local beach and do a quick photo shoot with a beautiful Pilates instructor/dancer named Amie.* When you come back, the tomatoes will be roasted and also cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skins.

*If you don’t have a beautiful Pilates instructor/dancer named Amie available to photograph, I make no guarantees. None at all. The batch of soup will probably be ruined, destruction and gnashing of teeth will ensue, etc. etc. I apologize for any inconvenience.

Chop the red onion (roughly, since it’s all going to get pureed anyway), and heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the red onion. Cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden-brown.

While it’s cooking, mince the garlic and ginger.

Measure out the garam masala, coriander, and chili powder, because the spices are about to go in.

Add the ginger, garlic, spices, cashews, and tomato paste to the red onion.

Cook for a couple minutes, stirring constantly (to avoid burning the spices), until very fragrant.

Add the water . . .

. . . as well as the cinnamon stick and cardamom pod . . .

. . . and those lovely roasted tomato halves.

Scrape the bottom of the pot to release the brown bits.

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Once that half hour is up, remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom pod, and blend the soup using an immersion blender.

Temper the yoghurt with a little hot liquid from the soup . . .

. . . then stir it into the soup.

Things are looking and smelling unbelievably good.

Taste the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can garnish with extra cashews or a bit of cilantro if you’d like. I served it with some freshly baked Parmesan tortilla wedges.

Next time I plan on serving it with grilled cheese–maybe amped up grilled cheese with some melty slabs of Pepper Jack inside.

Or I might just use a nice mild cheese to counteract the spice of the soup.

In any case, what a total comfort food.

Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did! Another awesome soup coming up next week.

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Chicken Vindaloo

I’ve been following and reading Prerna’s blog “Indian Simmer” for a while. She cooks traditional Indian dishes and takes the most beautiful and artistic pictures of food. After reading about her kitchen and seeing her gorgeous photography for months, I finally got around to making one of her recipes. And oh man, is it good.

Perfectly spiced . . . perfect consistency and texture . . . perfect tenderness of the chicken . . . ‘perfect’ is the operating word here, in case you hadn’t noticed.

And once ‘perfect’ has been thrown out there, well . . . I don’t really have anything left to say.


(Serves 5)

4 red chilies
6 cloves garlic
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 ½ lbs chicken thighs
1 tsp cloves
1 TBS cumin
½ tsp cardamom seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
½ TBS whole peppercorns
4 TBS vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp mustard seeds
1 large onion
2 tsp salt
Cilantro, to garnish

De-seed and mince the red chilies.

I was wary of the heat, so I only used 2. BUT! I totally should have used 4. The heat (for me) was barely noticeable with 2.

Mince the garlic . . .

. . . and grate the ginger. After shouldering tons of guilt for letting my ginger shrivel in the fridge due to un-prompt usage, I finally followed someone’s advice and froze it. I keep frozen lumps of ginger, and when I’m ready to use them, I grate them with my microplane zester.

Works like a charm! Seriously. You’d think that grating frozen ginger would be tough–but it practically grates itself as I watch in wonder.

Soak the chilies, ginger, and garlic in the vinegar for half an hour.

Grind them or process them to make a paste.

My mortar and pestle experience wasn’t exactly ideal, since the liquidiness and the bashing together made for a very splashy time. So I recommend using a little food processor. However, the dish didn’t seem to suffer because the garlic and chili were in chunks.

At this point, I happily poured the mixture on the chicken thighs for the hour of marination to begin.

Then I remembered that I was supposed to chop up the chicken.


No harm done, ultimately. Unless you consider the additional pictures of raw chicken harmful.

My thumb. It looks gross. The chicken renders it totally unphotogenic, man.

Anyway, marinate the chicken in the chili paste for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Grind the cloves, cumin, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, turmeric, and peppercorns in a spice or coffee grinder.

The smells are heavenly, people. This alone is a reason to make Indian food: to experience a world of scented spices.

Once everything is nicely ground up, mix in the salt.

Dice up the onion. I love dicing onions.

I hope you do too, because I certainly do a lot of that on this here blog.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the mustard seeds . . .

. . . and when they start to pop, add the diced onion.

Note: the smell of mustard seeds heating is simply wonderful. And totally not what you’re thinking it might be if you’ve never smelled it before.

Cook the onion for 6-8 minutes, until the onion is softened and starting to brown. Add the marinated chicken with any accumulated juices to the pot, and stir fry for 4-5 minutes.

Add the dry spice mix . . .

. . . and stir it around until the chicken is evenly coated.

Cover the pot, turn the heat down to low, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot about every 7 minutes to avoid burning the sauce.

You may be thinking to yourself: but wait! There’s practically no sauce involved! Where is this ‘curry sauce’ that’s supposed to happen?

Well, the liquid released from the chicken and onion and such will somehow magically make things work. Just believe me. And believe Prerna. She’s an expert.


During this half an hour, the chicken will cook through and the curry sauce will thicken. Use this time to wash and chop up the cilantro:

Once the timer dings, make sure the chicken is cooked, and stir in a nice handful of chopped cilantro.

Serve over rice!

It’s so good. I never would have guessed that such a great sauce could happen with vinegar and some spices.

It’s so good that I kept uncontrollably snapping almost identical pictures.

It may be slightly swamp colored, but once you eat it, you will understand that true beauty lies within.

Seriously. Take a bite!

Guys. Oh guys. Make it.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Chicken Vindaloo