Soup is in first place among the starters in our hotel menu because there is a strong belief that a hot soup will kindle the appetite. Soup is available in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The same is known as ‘clear soup’ and ‘thick soup’ in western countries. Particularly, when the soup is served hot, its taste is unique. Soup in many varieties is available right from any star hotel to road side mess. Nutritional expert, Jayanthi explains the different types of soups with its inherent merits and demerits in the following essay.
The nutritional value from a soup is aplenty. A cup of vegetable soup contains 50 to 100 calories, 15 gms carbohydrate, 5 gms fibre and 3 gms sugar. Depending upon the type of vegetable, the vitamin content and value will differ.
* The soup is a low Glycemic food and hence it is a solution for less appetite.
* It will reduce high blood pressure. While heart will be well protected, digestion will be proper and hence it will not give room for any breathing difficulty.
* Point to be noted is that if one takes just a cup or two, it will improve one’s appetite; but at the same time, if it is taken in large quantity it will fill the stomach and no appetite will be there, in effect. It is served in hotels mainly with the aim to improve one’s appetite.
* A hot soup will definitely reduce the intensity of cold, cough and fever.
Whether soup culture is suited to us or not?:-
Soup culture is not confined to only cold regions. It is suitable for all places. It is served in a warm and liquid condition. Depending upon the ingredients added to it, the taste will differ and its value will be different. Normally, a good soup should consist of dried ginger, garlic, pepper, cumin and vegetables. If it is prepared in the winter season the spices will be more and during summer season, it should be less spicy.
Another interesting feature is that the soup cannot be classified as winter season dish or a western dish. In fact, it has been in existence in India right from the age of clay vessels in use. Our people used to prepare the soup with all the necessary ingredients mixed with water including vegetables. The resultant output being rasam is fundamental to the so-called soup.
Caution while using ready-mix soup powder:-
* Earlier, the soup was one of the items in the menu in star hotels whereas nowadays it is available in every street shop/mess and that too, in different varieties such as vegetable soup, chicken soup, mutton soup etc. This trend seems to be on the increase currently because of ever-increasing commercial market for ready mix.
* In the case of ready mix soup powder, it is available in different forms. However, the benefits from the ready mix are by far less than what the naturally prepared soups would offer. Moreover, the ready mix powder contains preservatives which are highly harmful to people who consume. It may even lead to cancer.
* The corn flour content in the ready mix would normally be more and it would increase the fat content in the body. It may also increase the sugar in the blood.
* Similarly, the salt level in the ready mix would be more which would lead to osteoporosis, asthma and lung-related problems.
It is recommended that one can take chicken or mutton soup once a week and it will be good for one’s health. However, it is always better that the non-vegetarian soup is prepared at home instead of procuring it from outside since the quality of mutton is not guaranteed.
Needless to conclude that the soup contains many good qualities and it will certainly be good for our health, provided we observe the precautions stated above; else, we will be in a soup later!
(This article written by J Nivetha in Tamil has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)