Soup’s always ‘on’ in our home. It’s either on the stove, on the table, in the fridge or in the freezer. And ever since I acquired my magic wand, the Cuisinart Smart Stick, dreaming up new recipes to whip up is a daily adventure.  The ripening tomatoes in the garden inspired me to dig up a recipe for a delicious Gazpacho I was served at a luncheon in Delhi. What I love about this recipe is that the peppers, onions and cucumbers are served separately to satisfy any food fetishes. The cream of vegetable soups are a throw back to the time my kids balked at eating vegetables. I would saute a mess of spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and garlic in butter, add chicken broth, liquefy it in the Cuisinart, add some cream, call it a vichyssoise and they would lap it up.  Alas the days of butter and cream are now mostly gone as we watch our cholesterol intake and calories; and thanks largely to nutrition tips from my older son and his wife who run the diet and fitness site PeerTrainer I now substitute butter and cream with coconut milk and go heavy on green vegetables. The soups below can serve as an elegant first course, be a complete meal on its own and can be served chilled or hot (I have not tried heating the gazpacho). The soups were just as delicious before the arrival of the Smart Stick, but I used many more utensils. Now I mess up just one pot. For the vegetable soups I find the pressure cooker a huge time saver, but it’s not a necessity since you can be working on other projects while the vegetables simmer. Just have fun creating your own concoctions for easy, nutritious, low calorie feasts. Bon apetit!

Cool, Creamy, Spicy, Curried Carrot Ginger Soup


2 lbs Carrots cut into large chunks

1 large onion cut into chunks

4 scallions roughly chopped (green part and all)

6 Cloves of garlic peeled and smashed with a knife

2 inch piece of ginger cut into chunks

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 tsp of turmeric

1/2 tsp of curry powder

1/2 tsp of cayenne (or adjust according to taste)

Juice of half a lemon

I Can Thai Coconut Milk

Salt to taste

For The Garnish

Tbs. of finely slivered fresh ginger (optional)

Half a serrano pepper finely minced (optional)

1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Two chunks of fresh carrot coarsely chopped in a food processor (this adds a  slight crunchy texture to the soup)

To Prepare

Keep aside two chunks of carrots, the lemon juice and the coconut milk, place all the other ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until the carrots are just tender. I use a pressure cooker and once it begins to rock cook the contents of the pot for five minutes.

After cool enough to handle place the carrot mixture in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. If you have a smart stick you can puree the carrots right in the pot. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice and chopped carrots. Chill and garnish the soup before serving. Dilute the soup with some water if it’s too thick. The soup is also delicious served hot.

Fast, Easy, Healthy Creamed Vegetable Soup


3 1 lb. packages of a combination frozen vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, spinach or collard greens).


Approx. 3 lbs. of a combination of above fresh vegetables, and if you wish swiss chard and mustard greens washed and roughly chopped.

One large onion cut into chunks.

Bunch of leeks thoroughly washed and cut into chunks (including green parts) or a bunch of scallions.

6 to 7 Cloves of garlic peeled and smashed with a knife.

3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth.

Dash of cayenne.

Salt to taste

Juice of one lemon

1 Can of Thai Coconut milk.

2 tbs. chopped fresh chives (for garnish)

To Prepare

Keep aside the lemon juice and the coconut milk. Place all other ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until tender. (Again, I cook this in a pressure cooker for about 5 minutes after it begins to rock).

Puree in a blender or food processor in batches or puree with a smart stick right in the pot.

Add the coconut milk and chill or serve hot. Garnish with chopped chives.

Jyoti’s Gazpacho

2 Lbs. tomatoes

3 Cloves of garlic peeled

1 tb. Olive oil

1/2 tsp. or more hot green sauce (such as Tobasco or habanero)

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tbs. Sugar (optional)

Salt to taste

For the garnish

1 peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber

1 chopped red pepper

Cup of chopped red onion

To Prepare

Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Drain the tomatoes and remove the skin as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

Place the ingredients in the jar of a blender or food processor and puree.

Place the garnishes in separate dishes so people can add what they want to the soup.


Originally published in Art Insider on 07/26/2010