I have also been a bit busy with various things, including some short trips out of Goa and my sister's short visit with us, and have been blogging rather irregularly. So, here I am, after a short break.
The summer is also very much in evidence here and the temperatures are much higher than usually at this time of the year. The weather tends to make you feel quite lazy and you don't really feel very hungry, just thirsty most of the time. Even when one does get hungry, the preference is for something light yet filling. Spending even the least amount of time in a warm kitchen, getting together a meal, is not a very appealing proposition. It is at times such as this that a gazpacho is the perfect solution. And this is a statement from me, a person who is known not to particularly favour soup!
A gazpacho is a chilled blended soup originating from Andalusia, the southern part of Spain and also very popular in Portugal and Latin American countries. A gazpacho really is a chunky liquid tomato based salad as the ingredients are raw vegetables. Though there are probably as many recipes for gazpacho as there are people making it, most recipes today typically use cucumber, tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell pepper, stale bread and olive oil.
The original gazpacho is thought to have been Moorish or perhaps Roman and was made without tomatoes or bell peppers which were added much later only when they came to Europe from the New World. This form of earlier gazpacho, pounded together in a mortar and pestle, was similar to Ajo Blanco.
Ajo Blanco Malagueno (white gazpacho originally from Malaga) is made with bread (about a week-old), sometimes grapes, vinegar, garlic, oil and ground almonds. Other variations of gazpacho are Gazpacho Manchego (with chopped vegetables and cumin) and Arranque Roteño (from Cadiz and is much thicker as it contains less water). Another gazpacho-like soup is the Salmorejo, from Seville, which contains more of bread and less of vegetables.
There are also varieties of gazpacho which contain meat like the one popular in Valencia, made with rabbit, partridge and quail or the one from Alicante which is made from escargots and mushroom.
Now gazpacho purists would probably argue that to qualify for a gazpacho, the ingredients should list bread (among other things) as an ingredient, and I really do not know enough about all this to argue with them. But one thing I can definitely tell you is that this soup is very good, refreshingly cold and just the thing on a hot summer day.
1 medium cucumber, peeled, deseeded and chopped
3 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 small green bell pepper (capsicum)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin powder
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1/2 tsp dried basil (use fresh if you have it)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red chilli flakes*
1 1/2 tsp sugar**
salt and pepper to taste
8 to 10 almonds, powdered
2 cups chilled vegetable stock (or 2 cups water + 1 vegetable stock cube)
*&**: I had a sweet chilli sauce (a thick tomato based sweet sauce spiced with chilli flakes, usually used in Chinese cooking) and I used it instead of the chilli flakes and the sugar. I find that adding sugar balances the slight tartness of the gazpacho.
Ensure that the vegetables and the vegetable stock are well chilled. You can chop the vegetables up and refrigerate them till you need to make the gazpacho.
Put the cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, lemon juice, coriander, and 1/2 cup vegetable stock in a blender. Blend until a smooth mixture (very slightly grainy/ chunky) is obtained. Now add the remaining ingredients and blend till mixed.
Serve immediately with bread, toast or sandwiches. This recipe makes 3 servings.
I am sending this gazpacho to No Croutons Required where this month's theme is "berries" in a vegetarian soup or salad as tomato is really a berry.
My heartfelt thanks to Suparna of Food Fascination who passed on an "I love Your Blog" award and to Di_ani of Опитайте ... who has given my blog an "Inspiration Award". They're both displayed here.