1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 jalapeño, seeded and deveined for less heat, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (or garam masala)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
dash of grated nutmeg, no more than 1/8 teaspoon
1 bay leaf
1 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 cup water
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
crushed red pepper (optional)
cilantro (coriander) leaves for garnish
1) In a soup pot (3 quart or larger), saute onion and jalapeño in oil over medium high heat until softened, about three minutes.
2) Add 1 teaspoon of the grated ginger and cook one minute. Add coriander, curry powder, cardamom, nutmeg and bay leaf and cook, stirring, another 30 seconds.
3) Add coconut milk. When mixture starts to boil, stir in molasses and sugar.
4) Add both crushed and diced tomatoes, water, toasted cumin seed, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger. Salt to taste. If you want more spicy heat, add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper as you like.
5) Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
I prefer to serve it at this point, but if you like a smoother soup you can puree in a food processor and reheat it.
The cilantro garnish really adds to the flavor as well as the appearance, but it isn't absolutely necessary.
Source of recipe: This is my own creation, inspired by my local Indian restaurant's tomato shorba. I used Tarla Dalal's marvelous website for some hints on ratios of tomato to coconut to spice.