Toronto is full of great food ideas to benefit good causes. This week alone there was the Picnic at the BrickWorks in support of Evergreen and Eat to the Beat to benefit Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Both are delicious events for just causes.
There will be another tomorrow! Soupalicious Toronto has arrived just in time for the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend to bring together 35 of Toronto’s chefs, the labour and love from our farmers’ fall harvest and 35 warming and unique soup recipes for you to sip, sample and savour.
Presented by the Plant a Row • Grow a Row program, a national initiative that encourages people to grow an extra row of veggies to be donated to those in need, this event brings together the community to celebrate the autumn harvest, local food and the amazing multicultural flavours our city has to offer.
Interestingly, it seems every culture has some sort of soup tradition in its culinary repertoire. Some honourable mentions include hot and sour Tom Yum Soup from Thailand, Borscht from Central and Eastern Europe (beets are so hot!), or one of my all time favourites Laksa Lemak Coconut Soup from Malaysia (that recipe I will save for another post – it’s my favourite and will have to bring that back in our Malaysian cooking class!).
As a participating chef, I had a few choices for my Indian-spiced soup presentation. I should mention however, in India soup is not always consumed in the traditional sense to be eaten with a spoon as a stand-alone course.
Most of our ‘soup’ preparations are to be eaten with the main meal alongside rice and a flatbread like chapattis. Most commonly these would consist of a watery soup with lentils, maybe vegetables and tempered with mustard seeds.
One good example is Sambar, a South-Indian thin, watery lentil soup with curry leaves, mustard seeds and vegetables like drumstick (known as moringa) or gourd. This is served on top a Masala Dosa, a thin rice crepe with a potato curry filling. If you haven’t tried one yet, go to Udupi Palace in Toronto and you will be deeply satisfied.
Another option was to make Rasam, a tangy, spicy soup with a tomato base. With a healthy dose of turmeric this was always served to me when I was ill or had a cold. Perhaps next time…it’s too beautiful outside to be thinking about flu season at the moment!
Or there is always Mulligatawny Soup (meaning pepper water), an Anglo-Indian soup that was popularized during the British colonial period. This is not a dish my family ever made at home, so nailing down a good recipe for this will be trial and error.
I decided to showcase one of my favourite comfort meals, Masoor Dal Soup with Carrots & Garam Masala. Made from red lentils, Masoor Dal is traditionally thick and meant to be eaten with chapattis. I simply thin this out with water (and never stock!) and serve it as a soup with a sprinkle of cilantro.
I hear there are still tickets at the door for Soupalicious. If you’re free, bring an empty stomach and hope to see you there. Mine will be one of the spicier ones to sample!
Here’s a sneak peek of some of tomorrow’s offerings courtesy of Taste T.O.
And here’s the recipe: Masoor (Red Lentil) Curried Carrot Soup. I’ll be serving this on Thanksgiving with an elegant drizzle of truffle oil – ooh umami!
A teaspoon of: Kings of Leon. Listening to: Radioactive.