Chilled Yogurt Soup with Black Rice and Potato (Indian Gazpacho)

Chilled Yogurt Soup with Black Rice and Potato by Celebrity Chef Gurpareet Bains
Serves 4

‘Wow!’ is the word that resounded from my mouth upon first tasting this summer soup. I was in total shock and awe at how something so very simple, could taste, well, so out of this world.

The blending of yogurt, colored neon yellow by turmeric, with crunchy and aromatic cumin seeds, al dente black rice and melt-in-the-mouth potato, is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. It is definitely one of the most opulent chilled soups you can serve to your dinner guests.

What’s even more astounding is that this soup, which has all the attributes of fine dining, has its foundations in rural India and is something my Mum grew up eating in her village, albeit without the black rice and potato. Biji, my grandmother, used to give a tarka to the yogurt and serve it with chapattis as a substitute for curry. If only she could have seen how her ‘stand-in curry’ would one day make the gazpacho look so 1980’s.

The active agent in turmeric which gives it its bright color, and to this soup, its brilliant neon luster, is a polyphenol known as curcumin. Polyphenols are also found in bright-colored fruits. So, turmeric is a fast and easy way to eat in color – naturally.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons black rice (can be substituted with red or brown rice)
1 small potato, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2–4 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 ¼ lbs plain yogurt (not Greek or thick yogurt)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish

Put the black rice into a deep saucepan, cover with plenty of boiling water, return to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the potato in a separate pan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain the rice and potato, rinse in plenty of cold water, drain again and set aside.

Pour the olive oil into the deep saucepan, add the cumin seeds and cook over a low-medium heat until the seeds start to pop – this should take no longer than 2–3 minutes. Add the onion and fry until light brown in color, remembering to stir frequently – this should take no more than 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and chillies and mix well. Fry for about 1–2 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle in the turmeric, stir to mix and cook for about 20 seconds.

Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly, then slowly pour in the yogurt, stirring all the time. Mix through the rice, potato and spring onions. If necessary, stir in a little chilled water to achieve the desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

SEE the complete Holi dinner menu for additional recipes

Health Benefits

One serving = 70%+ RDA Antioxidants

Antibacterial – chilli, cilantro, cumin, garlic, pepper, turmeric
Antifungal – chilli, cilantro, cumin, garlic, ginger, turmeric
Antiviral – garlic, turmeric
Anti-inflammatory – chilli, cilantro, cumin, garlic, ginger, turmeric
Analgesic – chilli

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