Indian-spiced Tomato Soup

James Carrier

Notes: Nigella seeds (also called kalonji) add an oniony flavor. Look for them and for tamarind concentrate at Indian markets and some specialty food stores. If you can't find tamarind concentrate, substitute 1/4 cup lime juice mixed with 2 teaspoons molasses.

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Recipe from Sunset

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 106
  • Calories from fat: 17%
  • Protein: 5.7g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated fat: 0.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 19g
  • Fiber: 4.8g
  • Sodium: 835mg
  • Cholesterol: 0.8mg


  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 fresh green serrano chili, rinsed, stemmed, and seeded
  • 1 sweet onion (8 oz.), peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber (12 oz.), rinsed and diced (1/8 in.)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 pounds firm-ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • About 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salad oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon each yellow and black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)


  1. 1. In 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. In a food processor, whirl garlic and chili until minced. Add onion and pulse until minced. Scrape into a large bowl and stir in cucumber and salt.
  2. 2. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and immerse in boiling water until peel begins curling back, about 30 seconds. Rinse under cold running water until cool. Set a strainer over bowl with onion mixture. Working over strainer, pull peels off tomatoes and cut out and discard cores. Gently squeeze juice and seeds out of tomatoes. Press seeds to extract juice; discard seeds. On a cutting board with a juice well, mince tomatoes; pour any juice that collects into strainer. Add minced tomatoes to bowl with onion mixture.
  3. 3. In a small bowl, mix tamarind concentrate with 1/4 cup warm water. Stir into tomato mixture, along with cilantro, mint, and ginger. In a 6- to 8-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat, stir ground cumin until fragrant, 2 minutes; add to soup. Cover and chill until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
  4. 4. Ladle soup into bowls; top each serving with about 1/4 cup yogurt. In a 1- to 2-quart nonstick pan that has a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and nigella seeds. Set over high heat and stir until spices begin to pop, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Cover and shake vigorously until popping begins to subside, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon hot seeds equally over soup.
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