Smoke, not Fire.

Tomato soup with Kaffir lime leafs- it’s brilliant, Simple, elegant and so very good!

I was going to write about this wonderful soup, until about a few hours before writing this article. You see, in those few short hours, I found a new soup to write about. Granted the base is still the same – tomatoes, with all the tang and punch that entails. The difference lies in the preparation of the above, which adds something truly miraculous.

Smoked tomato soup.

Cooking anything with smoke radically changes its flavour. With each bite, you can smell that strong, earthy aroma. There is something very alluring and primal about smoked food. Smoke from different wood will get you very different flavours, some are gentler, while some are stronger, some are very earthy while some are more subtly fragrant. The flavour of the smoke come from the resin trapped in the wood, so a good rule of thumb is more the resin content of the wood, better it is for smoking.

IMG_20160531_210547
Mmm… liquefied bacon……

While smoking was used more as a preservation technique, and that too mostly for meat and cheeses, it can be used for certain vegetables. Tomato is a great candidate for smoking. Tomato is naturally very Umami. Add to that rich smoke and some salt, and you have something that smells and tastes of bacon, with all the gooey insides of a tomato. Just imagine that – gooey liquefied bacon…..Yum!!!

The recipe is laughably simple. And as for the smoker, its very easy to rig one. I’m splitting this into two parts – 1. How to rig a smoker and 2. How to make the soup.

Rigging the smoker

You will need –

  1. A stove-top steel steamer – these are really easy to find, you can even get them on Amazon
  2. Wood chips. – You can buy wood chips, if you know where to get them. I didn’t. (To be completely truthful, I ransacked my mom’s puja supplies, and extracted some mango wood used for havans. I then proceeded to tear the wood chips from it. It was pa Do not try this. Get someone to cut u chips with a tool.)

All you have to do is put a fist full of wood chips on the base of your steamer, where you would usually fill with water.

Then, you fit the steaming rack in place, and put the food you want to smoke on the rack.

Put the lid down, and place the whole apparatus on your stove. Crank the heat up to its highest setting for 5 minutes, and then lower the flame. One the wood inside starts smouldering, there is no need for very high heat.

Let the smoke do its job. The smoke will steam your food while imbuing it with smoke. Vegetables usually take around 10 minutes and meats, anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes.

That was uncomplicated, wasn’t it?

 Making the soup

 

You will need-

  1. 4 smoked tomatoes (use the method above)
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves of garlic
  4. 2 cups of water
  5. a few leaves of parsley

Fry the chopped onion and garlic this slightly brown and set aside

Cut the smoked onions into small pieces

Add the onion, garlic tomatoes into a blender.

Add the water and blend away!

Add salt and pepper if you need too, heat it, garnish it with parsley, and then serve it.

 

A bit too simple isn’t it?

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