When tomatoes are ripe and plentiful and the weather is still warm, a cold tomato-based soup is wonderfully refreshing. But few Asian countries, apart from Korea and Japan, have a tradition of making cold soups. The Chinese make cold, sweet soups, but only for dessert. In the Filipino capital city of Manila, however, they still serve traditional gazpacho — a legacy of Spanish colonialism. While Spanish gazpacho is as much a cucumber soup as it is a tomato soup, this version definitely places the emphasis on tomatoes.
Serves4 to 6
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, game day
Equipmentmortar and pestle
Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, savory, spiced, tangy
Type of Dishcold soup
- 2 green finger chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- ¼ cup (50 ml) peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 2 green onions, cut into short lengths
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, smashed lightly with the side of a knife
- ¼ cup (50 ml) finely chopped red or sweet white onions
- 3 lbs (1.5 kg) ripe tomatoes
- 2 tbsp (25 ml) grated ginger root
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) fish sauce or light soya sauce
- 1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped, peeled, seeded cucumber
- ½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped bell peppers (optional)
- ¼ cup (50 ml) roughly chopped mint and/or coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp (25 ml) lime juice
- Salt to taste
- 6 dried red chilies
- Lime wedges and mint and/or coriander leaves for garnish
Place chilies in a bowl. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; green onions cook until they start to brown. Add garlic; cook until golden. Pour through a strainer over chilies; set chili oil aside to cool. Remove green onion from strainer and discard. Finely chop garlic cloves and set aside.
In a large bowl add cold water to cover onions; let stand 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch tomatoes 20 seconds; drain. Rinse under cold running water. Over a bowl, peel, core and seed them; finely chop tomato flesh and add to onions. Strain accumulated juices from bowl; add to tomatoes and onions.
In a small bowl stir together ginger, fish sauce and 2 tbsp (25 ml) water. Strain through a piece of cheesecloth over tomato-onion mixture, squeezing to extract juice. Stir in cucumber, peppers (if using), mint or coriander, lime juice and chili oil until well mixed. Season to taste with salt. Thin with water or tomato juice to desired consistency. Chill 30 minutes or until cool.
In dry frying pan over medium heat, toast dried chilies until darkened but not black. Transfer chilies to a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle) and grind to a reasonably fine powder. Garnish chilled gazpacho with lime wedges and herb leaves. Serve with roasted chili powder for seasoning to taste.
1997 Andrew Chase