When I go out for dinner with my mother, she always orders a portion of soup to start her meal. I rarely do this--not because I do not like soup, but in fact precisely because I like soup a lot.
If I’m going to order it, I want soup to be my whole meal. Perhaps the two most popular soups for us are ‘tomato’ and ‘sweet and sour,’ available at any multi-cuisine restaurant. Let us look at some soups that are popular in the West, but perhaps not too well-known around here.
Chowder: It is classified as a thick soup, often made using milk or cream as the base. Most chowders are white or cream in colour.
The exception being the ‘Manhattan Clam Chowder,’ which is red in colour because of its tomato base. A chowder can be heavy enough to constitute a whole meal, and is usually served with some bread on the side. The most popular chowders are Clam and Corn, my favourite being clam. A chowder may also contain potato to help thicken the consistency. Interestingly, due to its consistency, Clam Chowder is often served in a bread bowl: a bowl carved out a large loaf of bread.
Borscht: While chowders originated in and are most popular in the USA, borscht owes its origin to Ukraine, and is now quite popular in many European countries. What makes this soup stand out is its deep purple colour which comes from its key ingredient, the beetroot. The other unique aspect of this soup is that you can order it hot or cold. But it’s not just a temperature difference.
The cooking style and ingredients vary significantly between the two varieties, with only the beetroot being common. I prefer hot borscht, because I like the starchy flavour to it. The hot soup is made with either beef or pork broth and high-starch veggies like potatoes.
The cold borscht on the other had can be best described as a beet-raita with chopped carrots, cucumbers or radishes!
There are many other interesting and tasty soup varieties. We’ll explore a few more in the subsequent articles.