Mumbai Food: Hot and happening soups city chefs are warming up to
Soups in various avatars have been integral to the Indian kitchen. As Mumbai gets a whiff of winter, here are seven hand-picked versions that city chefs and home cooks are warming up
Piping hot from Mizoram
A staple from the hilly state, the Mizo bai has the goodness of vegetables, pork chunks and fermented pork fat and soya bean. But now, Mumbaikars can enjoy the rare delicacy thanks to home chef Gitika Saikia. "This dish was a favourite during my hostel days when I learned it from my Mizo friends. It's perfect for winters when a large variety of green leafy vegetables are available and can be incorporated into the hot broth. You can add other ingredients, like cauliflower stalks to it, too," she shares.
At Gitika's Pakghor.
Cost Rs 200 (minimum order is five portions)
Home chef Jasleen Marwah's culinary escapade is a work in progress. And yet, the spread she prepares is a peek into the flavours that define India's very own paradise where a hot bowl of shorba is essential in the harsh months of winter. "It captures the true essence of a Kashmiri meal," the former media professional says, talking about the soupy broth prepared with whole spices like cardamom, black peppercorn, cloves, powdered fennel, soonth or dry ginger, asafoetida, turmeric, and fatty chunks of meat slow-cooked and spruced with milk to add body to the broth. "It is ideal for young children or someone feeling a bit under the weather," she adds.
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Ammi jaan's paya
A typical winter dinner in a Muslim household features Ammi ladling paya into melamine bowls and garnishing it with chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime. We remember tearing into pillow-y naans and scooping the flavourful broth before lapping it up with fervour. To relive those days, we visited an inconspicuous little eatery in Kurla and dived into the delicacy from North and Central India that is prepared with cow, goat or buffalo trotters and hooves, and flavoured with onion, garlic and spices.
Time 12 pm to 12 am
At Khwaja Garib Nawaz Hotel, Kurla.
Cost Rs 40
From a Tamilian kitchen
Mulligatawany soup that derives its name from the Tamil words "milagu" meaning pepper and "tanni" meaning water, has its roots in British India. A South Indian preparation at its heart, the dish is akin to rasam andmade with cooked lentils, lentil stock, vegetables and chopped celery. "We give the traditional broth a non-vegetarian twist by adding chicken chunks and stock so that meat lovers can enjoy it, too," says Vinay Mandal, chef at this restaurant.
Time 11.30 am to 3.30 pm; 7 pm to 11.30 pm AT Gajalee (all outlets).
Call 26166470 (Vile Parle East)
Cost Rs 175 (veg); Rs 200 (non-veg)
Bhoplayacha soup is a pumpkin-based preparation popular in western Maharashtra and predominantly prepared by Brahmins. Since the vegetable is amply available across the state, it finds its way into a variety of dishes; even the seeds are often roasted and consumed. At this Maharashtrian eatery, pumpkin puree is flavoured with garlic, bay leaves, mustard seeds, celery and other ingredients to arrive at a creamy and piquant broth. "Pumpkin is a highly nutritious, wholesome food that is rich in vitamins and minerals and low in calories and cholesterol. I have used celery here to flavour the dish, but other herbs can be used, too," says chef Deepa Awchat.
Time 12 pm to 3.30 pm; 7 pm to 12.30 am
At Diva Maharashtracha, Near Hinduja Hospital, Mahim West.
Cost Rs 225
Osaman and Paras Menariya
Kutchi garam ho jaye
In the Kutchi community of Gujarat, Osaman — a soup made with tur or moong daal and flavoured with kokum, jaggery, spices and curry leaves — is a winter essential. The comforting broth was named by ancient chefs from the region where it originated. It is regarded as a healthy delight that can nourish the skin and hair. "It was always a staple within the community and the tradition has been taken forward in a way such that the recipe remains unchanged even today," shares chef Paras Menariya, who is helming the kitchen at a newly opened vegetarian restaurant.
Time 11 am to 12.30 am
At The Culture House, Soni Building, opposite Bharati Vidya Bhavan, Girgaum.
Cost Rs 249
Kokum for cold
Parag Joglekar, chef at one of Mumbai's popular eateries, has an easy and tasty cure for cold — kokum saar, a well-known and comforting drink that is prepared with kokum juice, a dash of jaggery and a tadka of ghee, mustard seeds and curry leaves. "It's a humble dish that is savoured by all, though unlike a Westernised soup, it is consumed after a meal as it is good for digestion as well as beneficial for a sore throat," the chef says.
Time 11.30 am to 3.30 pm; 7 pm to 11.30 pm
At Nav Gomantak, Thane West.
Cost Rs 40
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