. Eat, Pray, Love (and Soup!) Seriously Soupy

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love (and Soup!)

A journey through Italy, India and Indonesia via soups

Most likely you have heard of the hugely popular memoir, "Eat, Pray, Love" that chronicle's Elizabeth Gilbert's journey of self-discovery from New York to Italy to India, and finally, to Indonesia. The eat part of Gilbert's journey involved her spending four months in Italy where she indulged in pizza, pasta, gelato, etc as she attained a new appreciation for food. I wonder, though, if through her travels did Gilbert enjoy the multifaceted soups from these countries. Did she enjoy a big bowl of minestrone soup in Italy? Or, did she enjoy a comforting bowl of tomato rasam (tomato soup) after mediating in India? Or maybe she indulged in a heaping bowl of green papaya soup in Indonesia? After all, soups do have a comforting and healing effect, not to mention are renowned for their nutritional properties. Well, soups weren't the focus of Gilbert's memoir, but it is certainly what drives this site and what complied me to what to learn more about soup recipes from these countries and embark on my journey via my soup pot.

Full Disclosure: This is by NO means a complete listing of soup recipes from these countries. I did the best I could by choosing the most interesting, popular and fun recipes from these countries. Also, given that I haven't personally traveled to India and Indonesia,  I relied on the good-ole internet and some trusty recommendations as my guide. If you have any soups to add, please email me directly at seriouslysoupy@gmail.com or leave a comment with your tasty soup link.

Italy (Eat)

Recipe and image from www.Food 52.com by FoodWriter97426
Serves 6
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic,minced or crushed
olive or vegetable oil for sauteing
3/4 cups dry cannellini beans
1/4 cup dry garbanzo beans
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cut green beans, fresh or frozen
1 cup zucchini, sliced and quartered
2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 can, with juice)
2" piece Parmesan cheese rind
1 small napa cabbage (about 10 oz)
1/3 cup soup pasta (e.g.ditalini, orzo, tiny shells)
1/2 cup red wine
shredded Parmesan for garnish

    1.    Heat a heavy 4 quart (or larger) pot over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to coat bottom of pot. Add onions and garlic; reduce heat to medium. Saute until onions are translucent.
    2.    Add beans, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are just barely tender.
    3.    Add herbs and seasonings, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and cheese rind. Return to boil briefly, then reduce heat to low and simmer an additional 30 minutes.
    4.    In the meantime, thinly slice and chop cabbage. Add to soup along with the pasta and simmer 30 minutes.
    5.    At this point the soup can be refrigerated (or left on the stove with the heat off for up to 2 hours). Reheat before serving. When ready to serve, add wine and taste for seasoning. Serve topped with grated cheese if desired, or pass cheese at the table.
    6.    Note: Vegetables can be changed, added to or deleted. Amounts are only suggestions. Dried herbs can be used in place of fresh - cut amounts by 1/2.

Recipe and image from www.tasteofhome.com
3 Italian turkey sausage links (4 ounces each), casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1-3/4 cups water
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
2-1/4 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

1. Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven; add onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Add the broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
2. Stir in tortellini; return to a boil. Cook for 7-9 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, basil, pepper and pepper flakes. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Serve with cheese if desired. 
Yield: 6 servings (2 quarts) 

India (Pray)
Tomato Soup Recipe - Tomato Rasam - Kerala
Recipe and image from www.indianfoodsco.com


8 oz. or 250 gms tomatoes diced

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed
 4 green chilies, chopped 
1 tsp. tamarind pulp, 
1 tbsp. jaggery
, 1 tsp. mustard seeds
, 10 curry leaves (optional)
1 red chili, broken into two
1 tsp. coriander seeds, 1 tsp. cumin seeds +  2 tsp. peppercorns, tbsp. oil


1.  Boil the tomatoes, chilies and garlic in 4 cups of water.

2. Add the ground spices, jaggery and tamarind pulp and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Heat the oil. Add mustard seeds until they splutter.  Add the curry leaves, red chili, asafetida powder and onion and fry for a minute.
4. Pour it over the tomatoes.  Heat and serve the rasam garnished with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

Mulligatawny Soup
Recipe from SoupSong.com 
2 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 chile pepper, seeded and deveined (your choice: banana, poblano, jalapeno, habanero)

4 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup lentils

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon curry powder

1/2 cup coconut milk* or whipping cream

1-2 cups cooked rice (preferably basmati)
1/2-1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup tart raw apple, chopped fine
Garnish: spoonful of extra cream or coconut milk--and minced cilantro or parsley.

Saute the celery, carrots, onion, and pepper in the butter at a low heat until the onion is translucent. Stir in the curry powder to blend and cook for a minute. Pour in the stock, add the lentils (and chicken, if it's raw), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, get the rice cooked (if it isn't already); likewise with the chicken. Then shred the chicken and chopped the apples finely. You don't need to skin the apples. When the soup is done, season to taste with the salt and pepper, then puree, solids first, in a blender. Return to pot. When ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer and add the coconut milk or cream. Take the pot to the table, as well as individual bowls of warm rice (heated in the microwave, if necessary), shredded chicken, finely chopped apple, coconut milk (or cream), and minced cilantro (or parsley). To serve, have big individual serving bowls at the ready. Spoon rice into each bowl (flat soup bowls are nice here)--then pile on a big spoonful of chicken and a spoonful of apple. Ladle the soup on top, then drip coconut milk/cream into the center and swirl--and sprinkling with fresh cilantro and parsley.

Indonesia (Love)

Sayur Bening Bayam Merah - Indonesian Red Amaranth Clear Soup
Soup and image from http://indonesia-eats.blogspot.com/

700 g (1.5 lbs) amaranth greens
3 shallots (use 5 for smaller size), finely sliced
20 g (0.7 oz) fingerroot, crushed
2 sweet corns, shaved
1200 mL (5 cups) water
sea salt and sugar to taste

1. Wash amaranth greens and drain. Take leaves and young stems.
2. In a pot, add water and bring to a boil. Once it boils, add shallot, fingerroot, sweet corn kernels, salt and sugar. Taste for your liking. Cook until the corn done.
3. Add amaranth greens and cook for about the next 10 minutes or done. Serve.

Cook's Note:
- The soup is only good for a day. Never reheat the soup. Or else the soup will taste irony.

Green Papaya Soup with Seafood
Recipe from www.Baliguide.com


1 unripe papaya, weighing roughly 750 gr (1½ lb) 

1 cup spice paste for seafood

1 liter chicken stock

¼ liter coconut milk

2 salam leaves

1 stalk lemon grass, bruised

¼ tsp powdered black pepper

100 gr shrimps, clams, and mussels 

100 gr diced firm fish

1 tsp salt

Fried shallots to garnish


    1. Heat stock, add seafood, marinade and bring to boil. Simmer 2 minutes
    2. Add salam leaves, lemongrass and papaya, simmer gently until the papaya is 95% tender. Add coconut milk and seafood and continue to simmer (do not boil) until papaya and seafood is tender. 

    3. If the stock reduces too much, add more stock
    4. Season to taste with pepper and salt and garnish with fried shallots.

    Note: If you wish to prepare a lighter version of this soup then leave coconut milk and seafood out.

    What soups have you tried from these countries?

    Seriously Soupy Serena


    1. I love soup when it gets a bit colder. Winter's answer to salads! I have a lovely beetroot, apple and dill soup I make a lot, delicious!

    2. Hi Foodieinberlin,

      Oh, that soup sounds lovely. Would you like to share the recipe to be featured on the site?