September 15, 2010

Roasted Tomato And Carrot Soup With Basil Cream

I’m always telling everybody whenever the opportunity presents itself that I’m not a salad or soup lover. Though I am a vegetarian, eating raw vegetables is not something I enjoy. I don’t know what it is about soups I don’t like, but they’re not my favourite food.
Just the other day, a friend and I were just discussing that growing older seems to be doing something to the part of the brain that works the taste buds! She agreed that we seemed to be more willing to give some foods on the “don’t like” list, a second chance.

I still do not like aubergine/ eggplant very much but can take in small doses if cooked in a certain way. Cooked salads, pasta salads and raw salads with fruit and nuts are acceptable. And a couple of weeks back, I actually felt like having soup!

Of course, it could have been because I wasn’t feeling to well but I think I am slowly developing a taste for certain soups. This time I had caught a bad respiratory infection and all I wanted to something warm to drink, at regular intervals, to sooth my irritated throat.
Now there is only so much tea that one can drink in a day so I needed something else. A cousin suggested rum (and coke) but I don’t drink alcohol. So the other option that came to mind was soup.

The vegetables in my fridge were down to a minimum, and vegetable bin yielded some tomatoes, carrots and red bell pepper. So that decided what was going into my soup.
A search on the ever resourceful net led me to this recipe which I adapted to my taste. This isn’t really a soup which one can throw together at one’s whim as the vegetables need to oven roasted, but it is one which cooks up without too much effort.

I made it in slightly larger quantities, refrigerated it and then warmed it up whenever I wanted some hot soup. If you plan to do this, it would be better to leave out the milk and substitute it with more stock (or water).

This thick soup is a nice balance of very slightly sweet and spicy flavours with a faint tang from the orange juice.

Roasted Tomato And Carrot Soup
(Adapted from Epicurious)


2 medium onions

8 to 10 medium tomatoes

5 big carrots

1 big red bell pepper (capsicum)

1 cup orange juice, sweetened

1cup milk

11/2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp garlic paste

1 1/2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp chilli flakes (adjust to taste)

1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable stock (or water)

salt to taste


First prepare the vegetables for roasting.
Quarter the onions, cut the carrots into 1/2” rounds, the bell pepper into large pieces and put them all together. Quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds and pulp. This ensures that there isn’t too much liquid when the tomatoes are roasting.

Lightly oil two baking sheets. Add about 1/2 tbsp oil (out of the 1 tbsp) each to both the chopped tomatoes and to the other vegetables. Toss them so they are well coated with the oil.

Now spread the tomatoes out on one baking sheet and the other vegetables on the other, ensuring they are in a single layer.
Bake them at 200C (400F) for about 45 to 50 minutes or till the vegetables are well roasted.

Let them cool and then purée the roasted vegetables in the blender, adding the orange juice, till smooth. Then add the milk and blend till well mixed.

In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil and sauté the garlic paste in it. Turn down the heat and then add the cumin powder and garam masala. Do not allow it to burn.
Now add the puréed vegetables. Mix well and add as much of the vegetable stock as needed to thin the soup to required consistency.

Add salt and chili flakes to taste, bring the soup to a boil and then turn down the heat. Allow the soup to simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Take the soup off the heat and serve warm with the basil cream (recipe below). This recipe serves 3 to 4.

Basil Cream

I made the above soup to sooth an irritated throat but should you want to serve it as part of a regular meal, you can also make a Basil Cream to serve with it. All this cream needs is some fresh basil and some cream.
The Basil Cream really does add that “special” something to the soup. You can refrigerate the extra cream for a couple of days and it does make an excellent dip as well.

There used to be a time, when I used to have not just green thumbs but green fingers too. In the past couple of years though, I have had a tough time just trying to get a few pots filled with growing herbs.
I plant the seeds or cuttings, and they would sprout a few leaves only to invariably die on me and leave me feeling miserable.

It looks like the green is creeping back into my thumbs again, as I have for the first time in ages, managed to have some semblance of an herb garden growing in my pots. Right now, my herb garden consists of only 3 types of basil, some mint and curry leaves but it’s a beginning.

Some of my home grown basil went into this Basil Cream, so as far as I’m concerned, it had the sweet taste of success! Seriously though, I never knew basil and cream could taste this good.

Basil Cream
(Adapted from Epicurious)


200ml cream (I used 25% fat)

15 to 20 fresh basil leaves

1/4 tsp salt


Put the cream in a small pan and slowly bring to a boil. Add the salt and basil leaves, keep stirring and cook till the basil leaves wilt. This should take under 10 seconds.

Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes and then purée it in a blender till smooth.
Pour the cream back into the pan and warm slightly just before serving.


Jamie said...

Basil cream? Wow!!! Trying that one! And I just had my first bowl of hot soup this season and love it! I love your carrot soup! And you prove that the great thing about soup is that one can often make something so delicious out of what is left in the veg drawer of the fridge and a few herbs or spices.

Satya said...

both the recipes r awesome the soup ,can feel the taste of roasted tomatos..yummy..thanks for basil cream recipe too


Veena said...

Looks lovely! Any of the seeds sprouting, the ones I brought over?

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I love carrot soup :). This one looks delicious and with such pretty swirls.

Asha @ FSK said...

3 types of basil and mint.. Aparna, I am envious.. I have a black thumb :(( Everything living that I bring home dies :(( very disturbing!!! sighh

I don't like salads.. as we wud say can't ghaas-poos :D But soups are ok depending on mood :D

Take care and hope u feel better soon

Curry Leaf said...

I have a black thumb Aparna :(. Love soups esp tomato and basil.Basil cream is a must try.

Curry Leaf said...

I have a black thumb Aparna :(. Love soups esp tomato and basil.Basil cream is a must try.

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

OMG! I was in this conference a few days back and one of the chefs made basil whipped cream to top macerated fruits and IT WAS SO DARN TASTY! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I love you so much because you post all the recipes perfect for my daughter! Now I don't have to make two meals :-)

Cody said...

I just made roasted tomato soup last night. A creamy tomato soup or a corn chowder is pretty much where I draw the line on soup... nothing else appeals.

Salad, though, I love. I prefer raw veggies to cooked.

Hari Chandana said...

Woww.. very new to me.. looks awesome and tempting dear !!

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely presentation
looks delicious

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

wow, what a nice and rich./creamy color dear. Beautifully presented.

Srimathi said...

Nice to see your green fingers in action. I grow curry leaves here because it is like gold so expensive. Good job in growing all the herbs. The tomato soup looks picture perfect.

BangaloreBaker said...

This is something I might like a lot minus the basil cream. If I make it, I will have to eat it by myself (noone likes basil in my place but me) Nice pictures as usual.

San said...

That's a wise combo n the pictures are so appealing ,atleast for that i will try that soup coz soups are not my cup of tea .Yep i could know itz lil crazy though (not drinking soup) Refreshing soup aparna.

Madhuli said...

Wow..the soup looks stunningly delicious!I love soups so this will be tried immediately! Love the Basil cream ..getting loads of basil now and so very happy to see the cream...thanks

Jayashree said...

The soup looks very appetising....i like the swirls of cream on top.

Vidhya said...

soup looks so refreshing Aparna.

Priya said...

Feel like grabbing that bowl of warm and tempting soup, beautiful looking basil cream,thanks for sharing..

lata raja said...

I am longing to take that bowl of soup off your table and place it right here and now!
I have lot of basil in the garden as at this instant. So am preparing the cream sometime soon.
Does it pair with any soup?

MeetaK said...

just right for this weather!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

This sounds divine. I am a big lover of soup. And that basil cream? Genius!

Miri said...

I love soups - but yes I know what you mean about growing older and tastes changing....I used to dislike rasam for a long time. But it has now become comfort food - so also adai and cabbage...

I have tried this oven roasted soup and the roasting truly enhances the flavour to no end. The basil cream is something new and looks exotic.

I had a beautiful basil plant for 6 months and then it died in this heat :(

Sarah said...

I completely agree with you about salad. I am a vegetarian too and salad always makes me wonder why I'm eating raw vegetables when they'd taste even better roasted or in a lasagne or in stir fry or curry or something. But soup is another story. Last winter my mom and I made a big batch of soup almost every weekend and ate it throughout the week. This looks delicious, and I love the interesting flavors--orange juice and garam masala is such a cool combination! I can't wait to try it.

Junglefrog said...

I actually love salads and I love soups too.. :) The good kind that is and this appears to have all the right flavors! It is true though that our tastes seem to change when we grow older. Although I've always been someone who likes just about everything I find that I tend to eat more of certain foods.
In any case; this is a lovely soup and that basil cream sounds very intriguing!

Aparna said...

Thanks for the lovely comments.

Wow is what I also said with the first taste of the basil cream, Jamie.

No Veena. No success so far. :( Shall give those seeds one last chance this weekend.

Oh dear! Ghaas-poos describes it perfectly, Asha. Hee..........

Prerna, thanks for that suggestion. I can see the basil cream being perfect with fresh fruit.

Srimathi, as you know, curry leaves are everywhere here, but there's always something special about those that one grows. :)

Madhuli, good thing to use your basil in. :)

Lata, I don't think it will pair with all soups, but should work well where basil would work like tomato soup. The original recipe pairs it with asparagus soup.

I used much less basil than in the original recipe because we prefer a hint of basil rather than be over powered by it.

This cream also works well as a spread over bread; think it would be good to use it with something like bruschetta or even pasta perhaps.

Miri, I still dislike rasam though have always liked cabbage. :)
I know how you feel about your plant 'cos I've been there.

Sarah, good to know there are quite a few salad non-lovers out there. :)

Sweet Artichoke said...

Herbs in the pots are looking lovely! and the soup sounds delicious and full of flavours! I love soups :-)

Apu said...

Lovely soup!! Good to see you growing some of your own herbs finally!!

Kathryn said...

I love this time of year- it's the perfect soup weather! I recently made tortellini sausage soup, but your soup looks WAY better!