Have you read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake? There’s a movie of the same name based on the book, and there’s a sequence where the protagonist, who happens to be a second-generation Indian-American, reminisces to his teenage years when his parents would throw a house party and all their friends would come over with a dish each, and turn it into a potluck-style meal. Kids would be sent to the basement to watch cartoons and called upstairs when dinner was ready. Plastic plates and spoons were laid out on newspapers lining the basement carpet, a make-shift, mess-free tablecloth of sorts. When I first read the book, it made me ridiculously nostalgic. Those early days’ memories are filled with potluck dinners, makeshift furniture and the wonders of Supermarkets. 

I have a vivid memory of my mother and her friends gathering in our kitchen and assembly-lining for hot pooris (deep-fried poufy bread of sorts) for our dinner parties. My mother would take on the rolling or the frying because those were the most tedious jobs and everyone else would take on the remaining jobs, all the while tittering and gossiping. I was the bearer responsible for carrying hot pooris to the bread basket and wiping my mother’s sweat-soaked brow with her just-pressed, now-crushed cotton Sari, and generally managing the other children.

My mother was a big soup person, especially for Poori dinner parties, because Pooris took longer when made to order. People would have some sustenance while waiting for the hot pooris to come out and were generally a huge hit. Everyone always asked my mother for her soup recipes, and she would always laugh and bask in the praise.

We never had soup leftover, ever.

Took me a while to perfect it, especially because I roast my tomatoes prior to emulsifying them and my mother didn’t, but the end result is so nourishing and soul-satisfying, you will come back for seconds. The secret is to keep it simple and let the tomatoes shine. Black pepper and a dollop of butter will do wonders in making this soup perfectly wholesome and delicious.


Print Recipe
Charred Tomato Soup
This charred tomato soup feels like a warm hug on cold winters. The smokey char on the tomatoes add a quirky twist to this classic crowd-pleaser. Simple and soulful, this soup is sure to delight.
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine American, Indian
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine American, Indian
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Place halved tomatoes and whole garlic pods on the baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil and crushed black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly mushy. Broil for 5 minutes (the tomatoes will begin to char on the outside)
  3. Remove from oven and let cool. When sufficiently cool, blend the tomatoes and garlic until pureed
  4. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 tbsp butter and pour the tomato mixture. Add broth, sea salt and let simmer on low for 15 minutes
  5. Add water if you require a thinner consistency. Add cream just before turning off the stove
  6. Garnish with coriander and croutons before serving
  7. Optional: You could strain the soup for a smoother texture and consistency. The soup freezes well for upto 2 months in an air-tight container. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight and bring to full boil before serving.