Cliched perhaps in the comfort of it, but nevertheless coveted still for its soothing essence, a serving of soup is sometimes all you need to tide over the day’s worries and let yourself access instead to the simpler joys that make life matter. And while all of us have indeed tried out more than a couple soup recipes to finally settle for our favorite churning among them all, here’s more of some such servings of comfort from the world over you can try out for your next dive into a world of gastronomic wonders-
A cold soup, and indeed one of the most famous in the world, is the Spanish tomato based offering of the gazpacho. Originating in the region of Andalusia on the southern coast of the country, and a staple of Spanish cuisine popular particularly during the summer, the gazpacho has been open to myriad interpretations. But the most basic preparation entails the combining of such ingredients as cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, salt and pepper for a hearty bowl of this classic serving that explains the widespread fore of its reputation.
A clear and spicy soup native to the southern part of India, rasam is a sweet and sour preparation that can be consumed in itself or accompanied by main rice dishes. With either kokum or tamarind as the souring agent, and tomatoes and lentils as the other mainstays, rasam can be diversely prepared and thus differently named according to the wide array of ingredients that go into turning up this distinctive tasting soup that incorporates also a wide range of spices and herbs and condiments.
Egg drop soup
A mainstay of Chinese cuisine, egg drop soup is a serving of wispy beaten eggs in chicken broth that is prepared also in very distinctive a manner. A thin stream of beaten eggs is added to the boiling broth just towards the end of the cooking process, creating a series of thin strands of egg that float in the soup, lending the dish its name and appeal. Despite its definite Chinese origins though, thicker variants of the soup have been devised by different cultures around the world, that point to its widespread popularity and all incorporating essence. Within China, a sweet version of the egg drop soup is also prepared with just water, eggs and sugar as the ingredients. Served hot, both the savoury and sweet versions of this remarkable preparation make indeed for a bowl of warmth for the soul and the body to seek succour in.
A Scandinavian delight, with rootings as deeply entrenched in Sweden as it is in Norway, fruktsoppa is a fruit soup, rendered even more delightful in its description as a cold fruit pudding. Considered a dessert dish, and served hot as well despite its popularity utterly steeped in the other end of the extreme, fruktsoppa is usually prepared with dried fruits like apricot, apple, pear, raisins, currant, cranberries, prunes, grapes, cherry, cloudberry, arctic raspberry and peaches. Additionally, tapioca, sago, red wine, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt make up also for ingredients of this staple food traditionally partaken of by the cold weather countries of the Scandinavian region.
French onion soup
Ancient in its origins yet not even a bit displaced from the mantle of its exclusive popularity, the French onion soup dwells in a flavor profile of its own that speaks up for its exquisiteness. A perfectly balanced sweet taste delivered by caramelization of onions over a low heat is the characteristic smack of deliciousness that this broth like soup embodies. Served also as gastronomically appetising as could be, gratineed with croutons or a larger piece of Gruyere cheese topped French bread, this indeed is a soup that can easily pass off as a hearty meal in itself even when it is devoid of the characteristic French flair, though only in nomenclature.
A popular southeast Asian preparation, laksa is a spicy noodle soup with origins linking it to the nations of Malaysia and Singapore that though also finds expression as an associated national cuisine of Thailand and Indonesia. While laksa can make use of any types of noodles to be immersed in its rich and spicy coconut soup or a tamarind broth, it is the thick variety of rice noodles that are most popular in the preparation of it.
Incredibly popular throughout its region of origin, laksa can be prepared in a wide number of ways, with a range of ingredients and known also therefore in a vast list of names, with even each of the associated countries having their own multiple tweaks and twists incorporated into the recipe. A traditional comfort food, spicy and warm and soothing still, laksa today rests in an identity that has earned it international recognition both in the feel and flavor of it.
Soupe aux pois
Translating literally as yellow pea soup after the ingredient from which it stems, Canada’s soupe aux pois is the ultimate comfort food widely relished for its amazing taste. Split peas are cooked with a smoked salt pork and some herbs, lending the dish a rich flavour unlikely to be deciphered anywhere else. The mode of serving can be distinctive as well, with the pork cut into small pieces and returned to the soup or otherwise stripped and served instead along with the bowl. Variations exist that incorporate also veggies and doughballs into the soup and the same goes for the manner of serving as well, with a popular tradition that sees the soup essentially accompanied by a typical American cornmeal flatbread known as the johnny cake.
Bird’s nest soup
A gelatinous mixture made of bird’s nest that is devoured as a gulp of health, the bird’s nest soup has to be among the most unique soups there can be. As expensive as it is exquisite, this is a delicacy made from the dissolved nests of the southeast Asian swiftlet. Known as edible bird’s nest and in fact so precious and rare that have lent them to be also referred as the Caviar of the East, the soup made from them is in essence a serving of the saliva of the tiny birds that is standout in its unusual texture and the many health attributes of it.
A soup that delivers a uniqueness in its taste as well as in essence, the traditional Polish delight called the zur or zurek is in fact a fermented food! Made of soured rye flour and meat, this hot and hearty bowl of intrigue is particularly relished also because of its properties that enable it to be a hangover cure. The mode of serving is no any less interesting, with the typical Polish way being to fill an edible bowl made of bread or boiled potatoes with this soup of healing identity. Elsewhere within the country, the xur can be served over a bed of mashed potatoes in a bowl or with halved hard boiled eggs or sometimes flavoured with bits of sausage in which case it is lapped up with bread or buns, traditionally during Easter.
A chunky soup from Peru and once again capable of the magical act of curing hangovers, the aguadito is a rather hearty mix of numerous veggies like carrot, peas, potatoes and meats like chicken, hen, mussels or fish and also ají amarillo or yellow chili pepperas well as a range of spices and herbs, the most evodent of which is the cilantro, responsible for lending the dish its characteristic green color.
Owing affiliation both to the continents of Europe and Asia is a certain soup popular as the shorba, that therefore sees widespread interpretation in its preparation and serving. A rather basic dish in its main ingredients that calls for some meat and potatoes and beans, what makes the shorba unique is its very nomenclature indeed that stands itself for soup. A flavored broth in essence that is served without the ingredients that makes it up, the shorba is particularly beneficial for the human body to withstand the ravages of the winter woes, providing it with warmth and a dose of health that helps varied pursuits like stimulating digestion and staving off colds and so on and so forth. The Afghan version of the shorba is a slow, pressure cooked dish while other preparations of it persist as well, even as sour variants.
Of Ukrainian origin but prevalent throughout Eastern Europe and Northern Asia is a cabbage and beet based soup with beef meat that is very resplendent in the look of it. Meat or bone stock though can also be combined with a range of other sauteed or boiled vegetables for a soup that is made as thick or thin as per preferences. Traditionally served with sour cream, most typically smetana, as well as hard boiled eggs and potatoes, borscht is one of the national dishes of Ukraine even when it is relished also along Belarusian and Russian expanses, as well as in Poland where it is served on Christmas Eve as a preparation that spaces out the cabbage for some mushrooms.
The Portuguese term for green broth, caldo verde is a traditional favorite throughout the country, spreading wide and far from the Mihno province where it originated. Leafy greens like collard or kale or mustard is the prime ingredient of this soup with potatoes, olive oil, black pepper, salt, garlic and onion making up the rest of the recipe. Accompanied by slices of pork in its serving, that though is boiled separately and later added to the soup, the liquid is sought to be soaked up by Portuguese broa corn breads or rye breads for its consumption, making it therefore a whole meal in itself. A staple across a range of Portuguese celebrations, this traditional dish is also served in traditional earthenware bowls called the tigela.
Ancient in its origin and humble along its course through history, the acquacotta is a hot soup from Italy that found expression as a way of the culinary to use up hard and stale leftover bread. Translating literally as ‘cooked water’, this soup was made from just water, stale bread, onion, tomato and olive oil along with other leftover foods and veggies, though its composition in the modern times sees also wide use of fresh breads and cheeses and herbs and greens, making it a rather soulful, nutritious and flavorful bowl of warming oneself up.
Hands down the most popular soup in the world is the Ramen, a Japanese noodle soup that is made with Chinese style wheat noodles. With nearly every region of Japan dwelling along the unique flavor of its own variation, this pork or chicken or fish stock based soup is ubiquitous with the whole culinary expression of the nation, manifesting in the presence of exclusive ramen soups that dots its every nook and corner. Popular outside Japan as well, in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan where it is known as rìshì lāmiàn and in Korea as ramyeok, the ramen soup also enjoys widespread prominence outside of the Asian geographical boundaries.
A fish based Vietnamese sour soup preparation, the canh chua is native to the Mekong delta region of the southern part of the nation. A tamarind flavored broth forms the base of this soup, that incorporates also tomatoes and pineapples as well as okra or taro along with bean sprouts as the other main ingredients. Replicated as a wide variety of offerings, with many variety of fishes finding use in its preparation, this fishy soup also makes use of many herbs and spices, adapted also as per the ingredients. Quite versatile in its manner of serving that enables it to be a standalone dish as well as an accompaniment to white rice or rice vermicelli, canh chua is a part of the broader category of the hot and sour soups popular throughout many an Asian culinary traditions.
Very evidently, pickle soup is a soup that is prepared with a certain pickle as the main ingredient which means that there exist a wide range of such soups all across a world obsessed with the zingy essence of pickles. The Russian Rassolnik is a variant based on dill pickle with the pickle brine called rassol being the key ingredient in the preparation. Also of Russian origin is the thick and sour Solyanka with this time it being pickled cucumber that is the base of the soup. Another dill pickle based soup hails from Poland, Zupa ogórkowa that incorporates also potatoes or alternatively rice in its preparation.
An element of Maghrebi cusines and most commonly prepared in Morocco and Algeria, harira is a soup mostly served during Ramadan and iftar due to its filling essence. A range of ingredients like flour, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, onions, rice, meat, eggs, beans, olive oil and seasoned stock make up this nutritious blend of traditions that can be served also with an additional dash of lemon juice either as a starter or a snack in itself. The mode of serving is also as inclusive as it can get- with everything from hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with salt and cumin to dried fruits like dates and figs and even traditional honey sweets as well as home-made special breads or crepes complimenting rather well this hearty preparation.
Essentially Mexican in origin, the tortilla soup is a preparation that sees fried corn tortilla pieces submerged into a broth of tomato, garlic, onion, and chile de árbol and epazote. Traditionaly made with chicken broth combined with roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, chiles and tortillas, cut into strips and fried, this somewhat drinkable version of the classic tortillas is served with pieces of pasilla chiles, chicharrón, avocado, fresh cheese cubes and sour cream.
Hailing from Austria is this rather ‘inclusive’ soup called the frittatensuppe that boasts of slices of pancakes served in a clear broth. Usually the broth is a beef consommé, making this bowlful of soup a serving filled with the nutrition of comforting ingredients so right for whiling away cold winter seasons. Also popular in South Germany and Switzerland as Pfannkuchensuppe and Flädlisuppe respectively, this is a savory soup that indeed is all things worth savoring.
Common to numerous realms of the culinary throughout West Asia is the ash-e doogh or yogurt soup usually made with yogurt or instead a yogurt based beverage known locally as doogh. Everything from herbs and spices, rice and veggies, meatballs and eggs seasoned with salt make up the composition of this soup, that in fact is a part of a wider range of Iranian soup dishes, collectively known as ash. Usually topped with fried mint, oil and garlic, the dish is also alternatively popular as ayran ashi and ash-e mast.
Again a Spanish Andalusian native, the salmorejo is still a traditional tomato based cold soup that is known also as ardorio or ardoria. And that while might seem to make the salmorejo akin to the gazpacho, the two are still as distinctly separate as possible. More pink-orange in appearance than its more worldly cousin, and also much thicker and creamier in texture is the salmorejo that makes use of bread crumbs as the ingredienet aiding its thick identity. The bread used is also specific though- the dense, white crumbed, thin crusted pan de telera being important to achieving the characteristic texture of the salmorejo. Garnished with diced Spanish serrano ham and diced hard-boiled eggs is this Spanish soup that allows still for variations to be worked out along its definite essence.
A thick yellow soup popular throughout Paraguay is a preparation of corn flour and fresh cheese formed into balls, fatty soup or broth, and water. Known locally as vori vori, the soup is characterised by the presence of its many big grape sized vori or the cheeseballs that are made by moistening the mixture with a fat broth. Dropped afterwards into the boiling soup and then cooked, the resultant dish is one of the most identifying of the entire Paraguayan existence that permeates every fold of its social hierarchy.
Ground nut soup
Soups generally are not based on nuts which is why this one exception emerging from within the folds of African cuisine makes for a rather remarkable dish to be arousing our interest. Prepared from groundnuts mashed into a paste is this namesake soup, it is a delicacy in many countries throughout Africa, most notably in Ghana where its is locally known as Nkatenkwan. Eaten with traditional preparations like fufu, banku, kenkey, omo tuo or even with pounded yam, groundnut soup though also is common in various Latin American regions, such as Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, where it is served diversely as well with bone meat and hollow short pasta or fries.