1.5kgripe tomatoes, (3.3 lb) about 12-13 medium sized
3clovesgarlic, skin on
½teaspoonwhite wine vinegar
For the spice and curry leaf topping:
2tablespooncooking oil, (I used grape seed oil)
½teaspoonblack mustard seeds
¼teaspoonchilli flakes , (or more if you like it hot)
20fresh curry leaves, (approximate)
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Cover cashews with hot water and set aside to soak.
Halve tomatoes and arrange cut side up on a lined baking tray with a rim. Poke garlic cloves between the tomatoes. Roast for an hour, until the tomatoes lose some of their moisture and start to colour in places.
Drain and rinse cashews. Remove skins from garlic cloves, then put the garlic, tomatoes, cashews and vegetable stock into a blender. Blend for a few minutes, until the soup is perfectly smooth and creamy. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.
Pour the soup into a saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Taste and add salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar to balance the flavour of the tomatoes – which will vary depending on their ripeness. Be amazed at how just a little acid (vinegar) can brighten it up, without tasting pickled.
To make the curry leaf topping, just before serving heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add spices and cook, stirring, until the spices become fragrant and begin to sizzle and pop a little. Add the curry leaves and fry for another 30 seconds or so, until you can see them change colour and crisp up.
Serve soup topped with a drizzle of the spiced oil and fried curry leaves.