The Indian almond is a different nut to the almond we’re familiar with in the West. Also known as the Bengal almond, tropical almond, Malabar almond and country almond, Terminalia catappa is a large tropical tree from the leadwood family, native to South-East Asia. It thrives in coastal, tropical areas, and is now also grown in Australia, Polynesia, Madagascar, West Africa, India, Pakistan, South and Central America, and parts of the Caribbean.
If you can’t find Indian almonds, just use regular almonds in this lovely rich soup, as the flavours are similar.
Soak the almonds in hot water for a few minutes. Drain them, then peel off the skins. Slice 10–12 almonds and reserve as a garnish. Grind the remaining almonds to a smooth paste, using a blender.
Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute, then gradually add the milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
Add the sugar, white pepper and salt to taste. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture comes to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the almond paste and boiling water and simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened.
Meanwhile, lightly toast the reserved sliced almonds in a frying pan over low heat, taking care they don’t burn.
Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted almonds over the soup and drizzle with the cream. Serve piping hot.
© 2018 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.