Winter has hit Perth in full force. The mornings are freezing, afternoons are nippy and we have very cold evenings. Infact as I write this post I see huge drops of rain falling on my window sill making a very comforting sound as the rain melts into the hungry, thirsty earth and I just love this moment.
Growing up as a child in hot, sticky, humid Mumbai where I had only 1 sweater for many years, I had only read about winters in Enid Blyton fairy tales or from the stories that the cousins living in the northern parts of India shared. And somehow I craved for those cold bitter mornings where the frost would cover the window panes and one could wear winter clothing and snuggle up beside a warm open fire with a book in hand.
There is also something very romantic about winters. Maybe it is all the snuggling or cuddling that one can indulge in with another warm body or just a hot brew of your choice.
Mind you it doesn’t get as cold in Perth as it does in some other parts of the world and nor does it snow, it gets cold enough for us to curl our toes under the duvet for warmth, turn the heaters on and make hearty comforting soups and stews. And one of my favorite Soups/Broths is this “Tomato & Coconut Soup”.
This is actually a Maharashtrian delicacy that my mother in law often made for us. So when she was visiting us recently I begged her to make it again and wrote down the recipe. Trust me if I had my way I would make this every single day because it is so delicious and heartening.
It is pronounced as “सार” “Saar” in Marathi which means Soup. And it is made using so many different ingredients but my favorite is the “Tomato Saar” made with Tomato, Coconut and Rice flour. It tastes really good with rice or can just be sipped on its own, perfect for wintery evenings.
Recipe (Cooking time 20 minutes, makes enough for 6 – 7 people)
5 medium sized Tomatoes
1 large Green Chilli
¾ cup fresh desiccated Coconut
2 tsp Rice Flour
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Mustard seeds
Salt to taste
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
6 – 7 Curry Leaves
Boil the Tomatoes in hot water till the skin peels off. I usually leave the Tomatoes in a bowl full of hot water for 10 minutes.
Add the Tomatoes (skin and all), Green chilli, Coconut, Turmeric powder and Rice flour in a grinder and grind everything to a smooth paste. Add a cup of water depending and grind again. The consistency has to be thin and a little watery.
In a round bottom pan add the Oil and once it heats up add the Curry leaves, Cumin and Mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter gently add the Tomato and Coconut paste, lowering the flame. Let the Saar come to a soft rolling boil before you add Salt as per taste.
Let it boil on a very gentle flame for another 5 minutes before turning off the heat. Sprinkle the freshly chopped Coriander at the time of serving and serve hot. The Saar goes really well with fried Fish.