indian style tomato and cabbage soup – recipe

Day 1 of “operation health, happiness and wedding dress” and I wanted to post the recipe for the tomato cabbage soup.  I’ve done OK today. So far I’ve had 1 cup of herbal tea with honey, 1 grapefruit, 1 juice made with apples, ginger, and lemon, and I’m about to eat some soup. I have not done a good job drinking water today and I wasn’t that hungry so I skipped my vegetable juice. Tomorrow and moving forward, however, I will be sure not to skip juices. When you’re doing any kind of juice fast or cleanse it is VERY IMPORTANT not to deny yourself. Drink a lot of juice! One juice a day is simply not enough. You will put your body into starvation/survival mode which can have a negative effect on weight loss. Plus, every time you have a fresh fruit or vegetable juice you are hydrating your body.

This soup is based on a recipe my mother in law makes that I absolutely love. I believe it’s called “rasam.” There are lots of different recipes for this based on personal preference, region your family is from, etc. It’s a very thin, light soup, usually eaten with other food as an appetizer. Here’s my “souped” up version. And the bad pun award goes to . . .

This is basically an Indian vagaar with tomato added to transform it into a soup. Now, you may think 4 tbl. of oil seems in excess, but this makes much more than one serving of soup, so you won’t be ingesting it all at the same time.  The standard way to make this uses canola oil, however, I’m trying to get more coconut oil into my diet. Contrary to the coconut hating bigotry that happened in the 80s,  coconut oil is an outstanding source of lauric acid (found in breastmilk), is the sworn beauty secret of many supermodels, and can actually help with weight loss.

This soup is low calorie, very satisfying, and full of beneficial ingredients such as the coconut oil and turmeric. Perfect diet food and I don’t seem to get sick of it.

what you need: 

  • 4 tbl. extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow (not sweet) onion
  • 1 c. frozen cut yellow corn
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 16 ounce can of plain tomato sauce (low sodium is best)
  • a small handful of curry leaves (available at Indian groceries)
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbl. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbl. whole cumin seed
  • 2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp. dhana jeera powder (mix of ground cumin and coriander)
  • 1.4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.2 tbl.  smoked sweet paprika (gives it some extra flavor, but if you can’t find it use regular sweet paprika)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 -3 tbl. adoo lasan paste (ginger garlic paste, instructions on how to make here )

what you do:

In a large soup pot heat the coconut oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves on medium-high  heat. Wait a minute or two until you hear a distinctive “pop” sound and then add in your chopped onions. Cook onions over medium heat for a few minutes until they start to turn translucent. Add in adoo lasan, cook for another minute or so. Add cabbage, turmeric, dhana jeera, chili powder, paprika and salt. Cook for two minutes or so until the cabbage starts to wilt. Add in tomato sauce and water. I used the 16 ounze can as a guide and filled it with water 3.5 times. It’s really up to you based on preference. Add frozen corn. Cover and bring to a boil, simmer on low heat until cabbage is completely tender, about 30-45 minutes. Serve with freshly chopped cilantro leaves on top.

Just to give you an idea of how much soup this made, here’s a photo. Not pictured is the large bowl I already ate.

If you want to make this without the additions use canola oil instead of coconut oil, leave out the cabbage, leave out the turmeric, leave out the paprika, and put a hot pepper in with the onions instead of using chili powder. You can use a smaller 8 ounce can of tomato sauce if you are only serving 1-2 people. Reduce everything else accordingly. There aren’t any “real” recipes in this family, just eyeball it, taste it, and cross your fingers.

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