Tamatar shorba

Spiced tomato soup

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Everyone loves tomato soup. To me it is full of memories — of my mum attending to me when I was sick, or camping and cooking a one-pot warmer, or coming home from school and settling down to watch The Saint or The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with my brothers.

This is a simple recipe packed with flavour. Kashmiri chilli powder isn’t hot, but adds a vibrant colour to this soup; omit the milk and it can also be vegan. I would serve it with chapatti.

Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh curry leaf sprig, leaves chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Chaat masala
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ¼ bunch coriander (cilantro), washed and chopped, including the roots
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 435 ml (15¼ fl oz/ cups) full-cream milk
  • fried curry leaves (see tip), to garnish
  • sliced buffalo mozzarella (optional), to serve


In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the coconut oil over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the onion, garlic and curry leaves and reduce the heat to medium–low. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent; do not allow to brown. Stir in the garam masala, tomatoes and chilli powder.

Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Add the coriander, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves. Pour in the milk and 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) water and bring back to the boil.

Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, then season to taste with salt.

Purée the soup using a hand-held stick blender, or allow to cool slightly and whiz in a blender. (You can pass the soup through a coarse strainer if you’d like it smooth; otherwise just enjoy it as is.)

Garnish with fried curry leaves and serve with sliced mozzarella, if desired.