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Spicy Cashew Tomato Soup

(recipe, Edward Espe Brown)


The nutty sweetness of cashews with the spicy tomato base makes this soup irresistible.


    1. 1½ cups cashews
    2. 3 cups water
    3. 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
    4. 1 tsp. cumin seed
    5. 1 tsp. fennel seed
    6. 1 tsp. coriander seed
    7. 1 serrano chile
    8. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    9. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    10. 3 stalks celery, diced
    11. 2 cloves garlic, minced
    12. Juice of ½ lime or lemon
    13. ¼ tsp. salt
    Optional seasonings and garnishes
    1. Pinch or two of cayenne pepper
    2. Curry powder
    3. ½ tsp. dried basil
    4. ½ tsp. dill
    5. Chopped cilantro or Italian parsley leaves, for serving


    1. In a large bowl using an immersion blender, blend the cashews with the water. Blend or chop the whole tomatoes with their juices.
    2. Grind the cumin, fennel, and coriander in a mortar and pestle or clean propeller grinder.
    3. Mince the chile, being careful not to touch your eyes, mouth, or skin while doing so. (Use plastic or rubber gloves if you have them.) Discard the seeds inside the chile if you want less heat. Wash hands thoroughly when done.
    4. In a stockpot, heat the oil and sauté the onion for a few minutes, then add the celery and continue cooking. When the celery has softened, add the garlic, chile, and spices. Cook another minute or two before adding the tomatoes and cashews. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, being careful not to burn the cashews on the bottom of the pot.
    5. Add the lime or lemon juice along with the salt. Adjust the flavor, if desired, using some of the optional seasonings and garnishes. Serve with cilantro or parsley, if you wish.


    Culinate editor's notes: If you like, add half of a peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber just before the soup has finished cooking. You may also want to use an immersion blender at the end to create a smoother soup texture.