Most yogurt soups I’ve seen have been summer concoctions, raw and chilled. But I really liked this yogurt-spinach soup, spiced with green chile and ginger, thickened with chickpea flour and served hot. It was bright, tart, fresh, and very warming. We found it in Meena Pathak’s book Flavors of India, where she explains that this is what her mother made for her to eat every day after school in the winter, and it really is comfort food, especially if you have fried potatoes or warm flatbreads (or even better, samosas) to dip in it. When we made it, we served it as a side dish with an aromatic chicken-tomato curry and a side of spiced okra, and it made a beautifully balanced meal. It’s a great way of getting some extra greens on the table, and very quick to make.
This was a pretty spicy soup, mostly because I like to microplane hot chiles to get a smooth texture – but that means all the seeds and membranes go in. If you want it milder, you could deseed the chile and mince it finely, but I don’t think I would leave it out altogether.
Yogurt Spinach Soup
Adapted from Flavors of India: Authentic Indian Recipes by Meena Pathak. Serves two as a starter or side dish.
- 1 heaping Tablespoon chickpea flour
- 2 Tbsp water
- 3 oz fresh spinach, washed and shredded
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 piece fresh ginger, minced or microplaned
- 1 hot green chile, minced or microplaned
- pinch of sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
Combine the chickpea flour and the 2 Tbsp water in a small bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the yogurt, ginger, chiles, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water. Stir in the chickpea flour mixture and place the pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, until the liquid thickens slightly. Add the spinach, stir until wilted, then serve. Garnish each bowl with fresh cilantro.