Curried tomato soup

Photographer: Kurt
Serves 6-8

I first stumbled across a version of this curried tomato soup on Heidi Swanson’s 101 cookbooks.  It is one of those dishes I find myself making again and again.  Its quick to throw together, packs lots of flavour and can be finished in lots of ways to mix it up – add a poached egg or serve over cooked brown rice (or both!) to make a meal out of it; serve up with warm roti for dipping; add a big dollop of tangy natural yoghurt; toasted cashews – all delicious!  The topping outlined below though has got to be my absolute favourite – toasted mustard seeds, curry leaves and chili provide an intense flavour punch, perfectly balanced by the relative sweetness of the tomato-based broth.

The original recipe is lighter on coconut milk, but I like to make this super creamy and with added fenugreek and curry leaves to the soup base.


2 large brown onions, finely diced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
2 dried red chilies, crumbled
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 sprig curry leaves, leaves pulled from stem and roughly chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
2 x cans of water
1 x 400g can coconut milk

2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter
1 red onion, finely sliced
½ tsp salt
2 sprigs curry leaves, stems discarded
4 dried red chilies, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 tsp black mustard seeds


1. Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions, salt and chillies, and cook for 10-15 minutes until onions are sweet and translucent.
2. Add fenugreek, curry leaves, curry powder, cumin and coriander, and cook for a further 2 minutes, until fragrant.
3. Add canned tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes.
4. Lastly stir through ¾ can coconut milk (reserve ¼ cup to drizzle over soup when serving).

1. Melt butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
2. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes to soften.
3. Add chilies, garlic, curry leaves and continue to cook for further 5 minutes until curry leaves begin to crisp up.
4. Lastly add mustard seeds, turn up heat to high and cook for just a couple of minutes until seeds begin to pop. Stir to prevent catching.
Serve immediately on top of soup, drizzled with remaining coconut milk.