Cold soups generally leave me cold. They just seem like an excuse for a cold drink. But this one is an exception. Prepared with all the prescribed accoutrements, curried shrimp, shredded carrots, and toasted nuts, this dish is a perfectly refreshing warm-weather meal.
Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Total preparation time: 25 minutes plus chilling time
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cups shelled fresh or defrosted frozen peas
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 to 2 tablespoons rinsed, dried, and chopped fresh mint or basil leaves or to taste
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts or raw cashews
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and halved crosswise
1 1/2 tablespoons salt-free packaged garam masala (or homemade recipe below), or curry powder
2 medium carrots, coarsely shredded (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, until the peas are tender, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer half of the soup mixture to a blender and carefully (put a towel over the top of the blender, and start in low) puree with half of the mint; strain through a medium sieve into a medium bowl. Repeat with the remaining soup and mint. Stir in the buttermilk and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, heat the peanuts in a large skillet over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until they turn a shade darker and smell fragrant. Remove them to a bowl and set aside. Toss the shrimp with the garam masala until evenly coated. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet until hot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shrimp, and sauté until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
Toss the carrots with the lime juice, sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into small mason jars with screw tops and pack the shrimp, carrots and peanuts in separate carrying containers. When it is time to eat, let everyone top their own soup with the garnishes.
Homemade Garam Masala
Makes about 2/3 cup
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 ½ tablespoons green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick, 2 ½ inches long
4 Turkish bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Combine the cumin, peppercorns, cardamom pods, coriander, cloves, fennel, cinnamon and bay leaves in a large dry skillet. Toast the spices over high heat, tossing or stirring them occasionally, until they have browned lightly and are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the spice mixture to a bowl to cool.
When the garam masala has cooled, grind it into a fine powder in a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder, sturdy blender, or mortar and pestle. Transfer the ground masala to a bowl and whisk in the ginger and nutmeg.
Store the garam masala in an airtight container, away from heat, light, and moisture, for up to 6 months.
Mail order source for garam masala:
123 Lexington Ave.,
New York, NY 10016