Saru Gazpacho

The concept for the Obstructions cookoffs is interesting because there are always 5 food obstructions to the dish you can prepare (the event is named after the film, the Five Obstructions.) This time the obstructions were:

-Must have at least one locally-sourced vegetable
-Must contain locally sourced honey
-Cannot contain meat
-Must contain an ingredient that is spherical and is eaten whole
-Must have a crunchy garnish

Saru is a spicy tomato and tamarind lentil soup I ate almost everyday growing up. It is a staple in most South Indian homes. For the gazpacho, I prepared saru and then chilled and blended it with a bunch of fresh veggies and topped it with queso fresco, boondi and cilantro. Sabra and I had served this at one of our dinners. The boondi worked perfectly because it was spherical and a crunchy garnish. Boondi are little fried balls made from chickpea flour batter:

This was my sign that explained what I used for each obstruction (and no a 5 year old did not make this – I did!):

I want to thank my friends Dan and Lili for helping me out for this event. Big kiss! And thanks to Cathy, Karol and David for putting on such a fun benefit!

Saru Gazpacho
makes 3 quarts
saru recipe (Note: For the cook off, I substituted raw, unfiltered honey for the jaggery)
1 red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed
1 green bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed
2 kirby cucumbers, peeled, seeded
1 medium tomato, rough chop
1/4 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
1 medium red onion
2 garlic cloves, rough chop
1/4 cup good olive oil
lime juice to taste
sherry vinegar to taste
tabasco sauce to taste
black pepper
1 avocado, cubed small
1 handful of cilantro leaves chopped
For garnish:
queso fresco
cilantro leaves
boondi – can buy in the Indian store
*Please note that you can use more or less of the gazpacho ingredients above depending on your preference so could be helpful to add and taste as you go.
Chill the saru and puree in a blender or with a hand mixer. Leave aside a small portion of red and green pepper, cucumber and red onion that you will chop into little pieces and add to the soup at the end to give some more texture.
In batches, puree the remaining peppers, cucumber, onion, garlic, tomatoes with the olive oil and add some of the pureed saru to help the blending.
Combine all of the purees into one dish with the chopped veggies you had put aside. Add sherry vinegar, tabasco sauce, lime juice, salt, pepper to your liking. Chill in the fridge for minimum 3 hours or overnight.
Add in the chopped cilantro and avocado. Right before serving garnish with queso fresco, cilantro and boondi.

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