Ginger Lemon Soopa

I am glad to see a new word “soopa” reintroduced into our cookery lexicon by Pratibha and Jigyasa through Sukham Ayu cookbook. Like the authors I found it interesting that ayurvedic texts refer to watery broth/soup like preparation as soopa. Research is done rarely in centuries old Indic cookery. We are more used to label our food items in occidental and arabic terms, and blindly repeat the colonial self-aggrandizing stories of our food roots. So, for a change, it is greatly refreshing and empowering to know about soopa. I think this Sanskrit word alone is worth the book price. Original research equals to precious gold, don’t you agree? Welcome back Soopa. Goodbye Soup.

Here is a soopa I made from Sukham Ayu. The base is toor dal and the flavor is from ginger and lemon. It’s a familiar, charming soopa, simple yet sublime. Perfect to usher in “I am not cold but not yet warm” spring season.

Ginger, Lime, Toor dal Ginger Lemon Soopa

Ginger Lemon Soopa
Recipe adapted from Sukham Ayu, page-37
(makes about four cups of soopa)

Toor dal: Pressure-cook half cup of toor dal in two cups of water to soft. With a wood masher or whisk, churn the dal to soft, smooth consistency.

Ginger: Take a 1×1 inch piece of ginger. Peel the skin and grate. Add the grated ginger to mashed toor dal. Also half teaspoon each- red chilli powder and salt, and quarter teaspoon of turmeric. Add half cup of water and simmer for about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Tadka: While the soopa is simmering, do the tadka. In a small pan, heat a tablespoon of ghee. Add and toast 10 curry leaves, cumin, and mustard seeds, in that order. When seeds start to pop, sprinkle a pinch of asafetida. Sauté for couple of seconds and pour this tadka into the simmering soopa. Mix and turn off the heat.

Lemon: Flavor the soopa with about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Serve hot. Soothing and a strength saver, ginger-lemon soopa is a great warm-up food and recommended during convalescence.

© Recipe and Photos Copyright 2009 Indira Singari

22 Comments

  • By Lavi, April 9, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

    Last Sunday after reading ur review, I went thru Sukham Ayu Book, and found each and every page worth. That was really a good collection of recipe’s.

  • By Kalyani, April 9, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

    Very healthy soopa …. thanks indira ….

  • By vineela, April 9, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

    Hi Indira,
    This book is really rocking.
    Love the recipe and picture too.Soopa i too liked the word.
    vineela

  • By Advitha, April 9, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

    Hi Indira,

    We make this in tamil cuisine as lemon rasam. It tastes great to drink as-is or divinely when mixed with rice and have with potato/taro/plantain fry.

    -advitha

  • By R, April 9, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    In Andhra, this is called pappu chaaru..though there are many variations to it.
    We used to make this in big vessels when hosting the people gather around for shelter during cyclone times. Remembering those (de)serving moments…

  • By trupti, April 9, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

    You know, I could eat this everyday!

  • By Cilantro, April 9, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    Rasam is soup in Tamilnadu.No meal is complete without the rasam. It has got a great digestive power.Soupa looks very refreshing.

  • By Shwetha, April 9, 2009 @ 8:36 pm

    I’m making it right now, can’t wait to taste it. Thanks Indira

  • By Le, April 9, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

    love the texture and toor dal is my any time fav dal. thnx

  • By srividya, April 10, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

    This is pappu charu, as called in telugu. only difference is its served in a cup instead of mixing with rice and veggie fry.

  • By Vishali, April 10, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

    Love the Lemon Soopa …and the new word its funny nah….;)

  • By Linda, April 10, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

    Great to see these recipes from Sukham Ayu, Indira — thanks for sharing your lovely photos and thoughts :)

  • By Uma, April 11, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

    Looks so comforting and delicious. :)

  • By Pritya, April 12, 2009 @ 1:52 am

    Dear Indira,
    The word ’soopa’ seems to have captured the interest of many a readers. This is an email we received from Kavitha Shivan who is the designer of our books. She wrote, “Hi P&J, I don’t know Sanskrit, but have an interest in etymology. Its so fascinating to see how you’ve dug out ’soopa’ from Sanskrit. Recently I was doing some research for restaurant names for a Greek friend, and found so many Greek culinary words related to Sanskrit, Hindi and even Tamil. Sanskrit is all over the place, and takes an eye to find it and languages are easier to learn if we know the root words. There is a word in Tamil called ’sappi’ or ’soopi’, meaning to sip and drink, (ex. when a baby sucks its thumb, we say ‘viral soopi’ ). Soopa seems like ‘that which is sipped’ connoting the action of sipping soup from a bowl or water from a glass. Now that you’ve dug the word out, I am able to extend it to Tamil and relate to it! Thought you might be interested. Thank you.”

  • By ms, April 12, 2009 @ 8:32 am

    Hi Indira,
    Soopa is really interesting, All the mexican cook books ive read also refer to soup as sopa. Their use of the word sopa is flexible referring dry rice dishes and soupy thin broths. Re Kavitha Shivan’s comment on Pritya, I remember an audio book on the history of english language where they talked at length about the deep relationship between european languages and Sanskrit. Food history is so fascinating !
    ms

  • By Indira, April 12, 2009 @ 9:18 am

    Thanks friends for you nice comments. Like I mentioned this is a familiar soopa. For people who don’t value rasam/pappu chaaru significance, this is a nice way to reintroduce the age-old recipe in a new package.

    Hello Shwetha, How was it? Hope you had a comforting soopa.

    P&J and ms, it’s really interesting to know about soopa word relations. I didn’t know about Soopa’s Tamil, Greek and Spanish connections. Very enlightening. Thanks for sharing.

  • By radha, April 12, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

    ‘Soopa’ is a nice word from sanskrit. Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. i find it so similar to telugu. or rather telugu is so close to sanskrit, although all the other languages spruced from it.
    Great recipe reviving the old age tradition of drinking soup. the other day i was telling hubby that this recipe is pappu charu for us and soup for others.This is really our indian signature dish for soup which is neither vegetable nor meat based!it is lentil based.

  • By Vandya, April 12, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

    Indira, without buying the book,we all are getting to know the recipes. Thanks alot.

  • By Sowjanya, April 13, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

    Thanks Indira for the comforting soopa. I’m gonna try this sometime this week and let you know how it turned up. I’m sure its gonna taste delicious.

  • By Pavithra, April 20, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

    Indira: this recipe totally reminds me of Lemon rasam. We substitute red chilli powder with green chilli. And this is one of my favourite comfort foods!!!
    On the same note let me add this for those interested: It is believed that Sanskrit has the same origin as that of the classical languages such as Greek, Latin, and possibly Persian. No wonder we are discovering so many similarities!! Just as how majority of English words have its roots either in Greek or Latin.

  • By Preethi, April 24, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

    Super recipe! Will surely try it…

  • By aditi, May 7, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

    Hi ,
    I liked your strawberry soopa and strawberry salsa the most. do you have any chitka for a broken dosa pan. My dosas are getting sticked to the pan. The problem is with the pan (I have overheated it one time).

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