Almond Coriander Soup Recipe
Soups are sustenance during the harsh winter months. This almond coriander soup or almond cilantro soup as it is called in many countries, is something I love making whenever I have good coriander leaves in excess, usually in peak season.
In India the season for coriander is winter and a lot of it is grown for the leaves. All over India we have so many dishes where the coriander leaves are used as the main ingredient, the kothimbir vadi, Bhopali rezala, harey alu, dhaniya patta vada are some of those dishes. Apart from that our green chutneys can't be imagine without green coriander leaves. As a garnish, we love a generous sprinkle of hara dhaniya over a lot of our curries and dals.
We have started getting coriander greens all year round but winter is the time when the whole green plant is most flavoursome. I do try and grow some coriander in my garden and I must add that the mature plants that bear the flowers and tender seeds, get a really strong aromatic property and I love adding the top part to my oriental soups and Indian dishes too. I used some of that even in this almond coriander soup and the flavour burst is something to relish slowly.
Flavour-wise, this almond coriander soup has a grounding base of almonds that's nutty and creamy, getting a bit of earthiness from the stems of coriander that I use in this recipe. If you like the delicate aromatics of coriander leaves you can use only the top leafy parts of the herb. I have used the stems but not the roots, that I prefer more for Oriental (Asain) soups.
Lets get to the recipe of this almost coriander soup that gives you the much required warmth and proteins in a vegetarian meal. Of course the soup itself is a meal in itself and a couple of sourdough bread slices are all that's needed.
I always make this soup in a large batch as it takes some time to assemble and reheats well. Better to maximise the effort right? Having said that, I have simplified the recipe over the years I have been making it and have tried enough substitutions to get the creamy consistency we love.
(about 10-14 servings depending on how you serve it, for soup meals it makes 8-10 servings)
600 gm cleaned coriander leaves with stems (separate the steams from leaves and keep aside)
1 small potato about 60-80 gms
2 green chillies
salt to taste
white pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic (I love garlic a lot but for this recipe I like keeping it mild because it masks the taste of almonds and coriander)
200 gm almonds soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes, then peel the skins off (use almond meal if in a hurry)
1/4 cup light cream (Amul cream works well, or any 25%) or cream cheese, depends on how creamy you like it
Combine the stems of coriander, peeled and diced potato, garlic, chillies and salt with 500 ml water and pressure cook till the whistle blows. Cool down completely. Blend together and pass through a strainer collecting the soup in a large pot, reserve any solids that remain in the strainer.
Collect the solids from the strainer, transfer to the blender and add the raw green coriander leaves, blend together really well and transfers to the soup pot. None of these solids are being discarded.
Now blend the soaked and peeled almonds till creamy (saving a few almonds for garnish if you wish), adding water if needed. Add cream or cream cheese or even milk and blend again. Transfer the contents to the soup pot.
Adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper if needed, adjust consistency by adding water, stock or milk if you wish. The soup now needs to be heated gently to simmer at low heat for 10 minutes. At this stage you can reserve part of the prepared (and cold) soup and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Serve hot, topped with butter, slivered almonds and coriander leaves or flowers if you have. Savour slowly as it warms the cockles of your heart.