May 4, 2009

Gazpacho: A Chilled Vegetable Soup – My Version

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.


Parita said...

Lovely Gazpacho..the pic looks yummy :)

Prathibha said...

soup looks quite interesting aparna...looking lovely too

Soma said...

I love chilled soup, they are more like desserts for me. I really like this version u did, esp. with the sweet chili sauce & the almonds in it.

Aparna thanks for the little cans tips for the crumpets. i have been saving the tiny fruit cup cans :-D

Happy cook said...

So your sis came to visit , so you will be having new cooking books now :-)
I love soup but I never like the cold soup, but i am sure in the hot weather you are having there this would have been real refreshing.

Aparna said...

Soma, I hope your "can" crumpets turn out well.

HC, Yes, I have 5 new cooking/ baking books on my shelf now, but its going to be another month till I have the time to make anything from them!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Chilled soup that sounds interesting, gotta make use of it during summer... looks very yummy...

Cham said...

Great meal for summer, light and chill!

Asha said...

Gazpacho is perfect for this weather, cool and yummy. I am waiting for my Tomato plants to grow fast! :D

Simran said...

I am not a soup person either, but I like gazpacho. Specially when it's this good looking.

Lisa said...

This sounds wonderful. I love the addition of almonds. Thanks so much for participating in No Croutons Required this month!

Superchef said...

never been a fan of cold soups...but this version of the gazpacho looks interesting!

Barbara said...

Wow, this gazpacho looks great. I'm going to save this recipe for when my homegrown tomatoes come into season!

Indhu said...

i have never had cold soups... yours looks yummy ... am definitely trying this one :)

Sig said...

I love gazpachos, can't wait for summer to move on to cold soups. Love your version Aparna!

jayasree said...

The chilled soup sounds interesting. Perfect for the wheather here. I can have this as a meal by itself.

Madhumathi said...

Lovely soup!Perfect for summer.

rachel said...

perfect in keeping with the weather!

Tina said...

Great attempt...its so perfect for summer...

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Gazpacho is one of those foods that I try so hard to like but am never successful. I'm sure yours was delicious. I think I just don't have the gazpacho gene.;)

Pavithra said...

Looks so yummy

Vaishali said...

Gazpacho is one of my favorite soups, Aparna. This version sounds delicious.

sra said...

I could never get my head round a cold soup till I had one last year. It was delicious but it was the only time I had it. It wasn't tomato-based, though.

Lien said...

Ah wonderful a sister who brings cookbooks! You can't have enough of those ;-)
Lovely soup, wish it was warmer here instead of this cold rain, than it would fit in perfect.

A_and_N said...

I've never tried a cold soup out of sheer fear of not liking it! Mebbe its time no?

Curry Leaf said...

Love th gazpacho Aparna.I too was thinking on similar terms for NCR.Your version looks great.

Bharti said...

I don't know why but the thought of blending up raw veggies has always turned me off. It is getting warmer here and I don't feel like being in the kitchen for ever so perhaps I should give it a try.

Aparna said...

Now that spring is there, I'm sure they will, Asha.

Thanks for that vote, Simran.

You'll enjoy this, Barbara.

Try this one, Indhu. You'll enjoy it.

Much as I liked the soup, I can't wait for the hot summer to go away, Sig. :)

I find that difficult considering all the lovely stuff you cook up, Susan.

Yes, all gazpachos aren't tomato based, Sra.

True, Lien. After my break, I'm going to enjoy browsing through those cookbooks.:)

Definitely, N. :)

Looking forward to your NCR entry, Sweatha.

I agree Bharti, but I made an exception here. See what the heat can do to one's brains? :D