Thursday, 26 July 2012

Cold Beetroot Soup and Beet Crisps


This is not the London I know.

The London I know does not have clear blue skies and glorious sunshine for five days in a row. It's even 30 degrees today. I've stripped down to the barest layers I can get away with while staying fairly decent but I'm still melting away into a puddle. I know I grew up in a country where the temperatures hardly ever go below 30, but that country is also pretty much air-conditioned everywhere a roof exists. With no aircon, and no fan too actually, I'm stuck wondering whether I should have been praying that hard for the sun last week.

So it is pretty silly, really, that I'm still making my weeknight staple of soup. A warm bowl of soothing soup and a hearty chunk of sourdough bread to dip into and mop up all that creaminess--delicious usually, but for this weather, no. But I'm a creature of habit, and I have to have this week's soup night. Enter cold soup. You could call it gazpacho, but as I've strayed from the usual Spanish tomato-stale bread base, I shall just call it, well, cold soup. This is my ingenious answer to the fickle British summer-- a soup you can enjoy both cold and warm.



I got a random mix of ruby, golden and lovely striped ones from the farmer's market, and I meant to just throw them all into the soup pot with my favourite spices but I really couldn't bear to when I saw the beautiful psychedelic patterns inside. I do love beetroot. I loved it before I even first tasted it. So I've made some light crisps to top that velvety soup. And just to look at.

(Cold) Roasted Beetroot Soup
serves 4
Ingredients
3-4 large-ish red beets
1 clove garlic
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
about 300ml homemade vegetable stock
unrefined sea salt, black pepper to taste
2 tbsp melted coconut oil

to finish
organic plain thick (full-fat please!) yogurt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.
1. Scrub beetroots, bash garlic (leaving skin on), and then toss with half the coconut oil. Cover tightly with foil and roast for about 1 hour or till tender. Leave to cool and both should slip out of their skins quite easily; chop the beetroot up roughly.
2. In a pot, add the rest of the coconut oil. Toast the spices for a couple of seconds to release their aroma, and then add the onions with a pinch of salt and saute until soft and lightly golden.
3. Add the beetroot, garlic and stock and then let simmer for 20 min. Leave to cool, then blend into a puree, adding water if necessary to thin till you get a smooth velvety consistency.
4. (if you want it cold) Let chill in the fridge, or stick it in the freezer for a few minutes if you want it fast.
5. Finish with a dollop of yogurt, it's a must. If you have some chopped chives, that's lovely, but the crisps below are obviously way better.

Spiced Beetroot Crisps
Ingredients
2 medium pretty striped beets
1 tsp garam masla
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
unrefined sea salt flakes

Method
1. Peel beets and using a mandolin, or a knife if you've got great knife skills, slice thinly. Pat dry.
2. Toss all over with the oil and garam masala. Lay evenly on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 min in a 170 degrees celsius oven for about 25-35 min, till crisp. Rotate the baking sheet once in a while, and turn off the oven for the last 5 min if it browns too quickly. Remove as they look finished, it should turn lighter in colour and brown slightly.
3. Sprinkle salt over, and leave to cool; they will crisp up as they cool. If they aren't that crisp, you can chuck them back into the oven for a while more, but careful not to burn them.


I roasted the beetroot because I had the oven on for the crisps anyway, but you should do it even if you don't have the crisps going. The roasting really gives the beetroot an intense caramelised depth of flavour which you just don't get with plain boiling sorry. On the same note, the beetroot crisps have a concentrated sweetness which makes them so much better than your usual bag of potato crisps, especially with the aromatic spices and that finishing salty sprinkle. Topped with the tangy creamy yogurt, which when swirled in, just rounds off all that sweetness, I think I've pretty much found the perfect way to deal with the heat. Though, just as a side note (as it's important to be prepared for a rainy day, quite literally) the soup tastes pretty fabulous warm too.

I think I've done a traditional chunky borscht before too, if you're not a fan of spices/ smoothie-style soups.

40 comments:

  1. I love the colour of this soup, it should be yummy!!!

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    1. Thanks so much manu! We do eat with our eyes too don't we, that's why I love it when food looks so pretty and colourful!

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  2. This is the second cold soup I read about today. Heat is busting our brains here. I like beet roots and yes roasting it does give it a caramelized taste, well done girl :)
    The pictures are beautiful!

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    1. Thanks munaty! The weather was calling for cold soup! Now though, it's time for warm soup again..

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  3. I do like beetroot, but we seldom eat it at home (and I don't know why).
    I should do it more often and this soup is the perfect excuse!

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  4. I've been making cold soups for about 3 weeks now. Go to my blog and look for "soup storm". You'll find 5 recipes I think. One I still intend to make is with beetroots.
    I'm having trouble with your security system. The letters are so hard to read that I'm having to try for the third time. I won't come to this site again if I have to deal with that.

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    1. SO sorry to hear that stephen:( I have no control over the letters unfortunately. Hope you don't get discouraged by it!

      Will go read your soup storm!

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  5. I also make soups all summer--and not even cold soups, usually! Borscht with multicolored beet chips definitely sounds like a great, earthy, filling dinner, even in the heat. (Well, I guess this isn't authentic borscht--but there are so many variations, who knows?) I love the yogurt too--I use it in place of sour cream all the time. :)

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    1. I find a good thick creamy greek yogurt is smoother and more refreshing than sour cream, esp for summer (:

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  6. Loving cold soups. And warm soups. And pretty soups. And beets. Check, check and check. You're keepig me busy Shu Han, every time you come out with a new post it gets added to my to do list! :-)

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    1. Hehe glad to hear! Do let me know if Pablo likes it, it always makes me feel happy and warm and fuzzy inside to know he likes it (:

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  7. Amazing! I'm in the process of blogging a cold beet soup (a Polish soup called Chlodnik). It's actually somewhat similar. A cousin to your soup, perhaps. I love the beetroot chips, they're gorgeous.

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    1. Yeah, I just read your blog and had to chuckle. Great minds think alike! You guys are making me crave beet soup!! I love those golden beets, by the way and those beet crisps look intriguing.

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  8. Really wonderful! Such a vibrant colours ,a really lovely recipes Shu Han x

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  9. Wow! Love the color & an awesome cold soup for the season! Definitely trying this even though I'm the only one whose gonna drink it all! LOL Ya, my hubby & sons not realli keen of beetroots. But I just LOVE it!

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    1. Oh they are missing out, all the more for you then ;)

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  10. Beautiful sounding soup Shuhan, and the crisps sound like the perfect finishing touch. I wish I could get golden beets here... raw ones are rare enough, but never have I seen golden ones :(

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    1. I remember you being so excited when you found some raw beetroots with their beet leaves attached! Those pre-cooked ones in a bag just aren't as versatile :( I do hope you find some golden ones one day, I'm sure you will if you keep your eye out for them!

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  11. I love beetroot soup! A great veg with vibrant colour, rich in vitamins and antioxidant!

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  12. Hi Shu Han,

    I love beetroot crisps but have never made them myself! I have some beetroot in the bottom of the fridge so will give them a go later on as they will be fab with evening drinks tonight!! Thank you so much!!

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    1. HURRAY let me know how they go! They will indeed be great with beer/cider (:

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  13. Can I come over to your house for dinner? I love beets, and beet soup is probably one of my most favorite dishes. And this so perfect for hot weather (it's been above 30C here for some time!!)

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    1. I will make you a giant bowl if you really do fly to the uk for my beet soup ;)

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  14. Beautiful soup! It's a wonderful idea to create a soup good both warm and cold: perfect for the capricious British climate. I see you have been infected by the beetroot mania by Charles ;-)
    Your beetroot crisps are gorgeous, but I'm sure it would be great also with bacon crisps (for carnivores ;-) ).

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    1. Yes Charles is spreading the beet fever ;)

      Actually bacon crisps would be really really great with this, because they are a shade of red too aren't they, and a nice savoury salty against the sweet soup. Oh yum yum. But I do like the...poetic? touch to using beetroot throughout the dish heh.

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  15. Love the vibrant colour of the soup and I will have to try making the beetroot chips soon!

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  16. love the recipes!! i made a sort of a relish today by grating beets and then frying it very briefly with a pinch of sugar, salt and a teaspoon of cider vinegar. it was a condiment for large flakes of mackerel with creme fraiche and whole grain mustard.

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    1. wow m you're making my beetroot soup look quite dowdy now.

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  17. lovely recipe. I got some of the candy beetroot recently. Also tried my hand at crisp making with it. Makes a good jelly too though you lose the stripes!

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    1. great minds think alike huh (: I do make jelly/chutneys with it, but I save the usual ruby ones for those. the lovely striped ones are too gorgeous to be cooked down liek that haha.

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  18. I love baking beets in balsamic vinegar & olive oil until they're really dense and chewy, but it's just too damn hot these days! Oh well, I'll wait until autumn. That soup is such a startling pink! So pretty. And I'm sure very refreshing given London's unexpected heatwave. :)

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    1. Unfortunately, it has started getting pretty cold and rainy again these days, so I'll be using the oven a lot more again. Thanks for the tip on balsamic vinegar!

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  19. Hi Shu Han! So after a brief (like three-month) hiatus, I'm back to looking through all my favourite foodie blogs. I really like your new layout! and this cold beet soup looks so delicious. I love how vibrantly pink it is. I've made beet soup before, but it was a hot version.

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    1. HELLO KYLEEN! nice to see you here again! I do love both the hot and cold versions, whichever goes better with the weather(:

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  20. This looks so beautiful and healthy! I think that this is a soup for all occasions, never mind the weather!

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  21. Shu Han, I've been so busy but I've been missing your blog (I know, I only missed two posts, but still!) - I can't believe London is getting 30 degrees either, that's wild...but I hope you're enjoying it? This soup looks amazing and totally foreign to me...beetroot soup...cold? Never had such a thing, but the colour alone draws me in. On my list of new recipes to try at least once!

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  22. I love the variety of beetroots available especially the candy striped ones. Eating them as soup as well as crisps makes the most of this wonderful vegetable. And it is so healthy and nutritious!

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  23. This looks SO good! I love beets, and adore your beetroot illustration, too. The beetroot crisps are a brilliant garnish. Can't wait to make it. : )

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  24. I like the recipe for the crisp, I will try is

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