Sounds like a strange combination, but it works really well (promise!). The earthy, sweet flavours of the beetroot, which I admit took me some years to come around to, find their match perfectly with the sweet and sour notes of the tamarind, and the addition of the horseradish just balances the soup off nicely giving it that kick of heat. I’ve taken the basic concept of the classic Eastern European ‘borscht’ (I’ve read so many conflicting arguments about which country actually created it, so I am keeping it regional to avoid starting any soup wars!), but have pimped it up with some staple Indian flavours, and the fusion works really well together.
Hope you enjoy it!
Spiced Beetroot & Tamarind Soup
300g Beetroot (grate half, dice half)
1 Red Onion, 1 Carrot, 1 Celery (all finely diced)
5 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Medium Sized Potato (finely diced)
1 Leek (diced)
1 Small Fennel (finely diced)
1/2 Small White Cabbage (shredded)
1L Vegetable Stock (use chicken stock if you eat meat)
4-5 tbsp Tamarind Paste (taste as you go)
2-3 tbsp freshly grated horseradish (if you can’t find it fresh, you can substitute with creamed horseradish. It’s for adding heat, so if you are really stuck then use fresh ginger)
1 Bay Leaf
2 tsp Dhana Jeeru (this is ground cumin + ground coriander combined. Alternatively use 1tsp of each)
2 tbsp Ground Black Pepper
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Dill (finely chopped)
Soured cream (small container)
- Melt your butter in a large soup pan, and slowly start to sweat your onions, carrots, celery and leeks until softened
- Add the diced beetroot, bayleaf, garlic, dhana jeeru and black pepper. Now add the grated beetroot, cabbage and potatoes. Stir and cover with the stock.
- Let the vegetables cook out for 5-10 mins on a medium heat. Stir in the tamarind and taste – add salt and also sugar to taste.
- At the last minute, add your horseradish and turn off the heat. Blitz the soup using a hand blender. Taste the soup, it needs to be sweet, sour and spicy – adjust these if needed!
- Reheat for service – adding a swirl of soured cream on top and finely chopped dill.