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spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 022Novelist and poet Oliver Goldsmith wrote these playful lines to explain why some cooks use spices with a heavy-hand:

For palates grown callous almost to disease,

Who peppers the highest is surest to please.

Of course not all highly spiced styles of cooking fall under this reproach…but this soup would if not well and distinctly spiced, without harshness, as befits a dish whose base is the delicate flavour of the fruit of the almond tree.

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 027Spiced Almond Soup (for 8 people as a First Course)

Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.

A Timing Note:  If the soup is made with the homemade chicken stock described in Part II below, it’s a good idea to make the stock the day before and refrigerate it so that the congealed fat may be easily removed before using the stock for the soup.

I.  The Soup

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 006Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of Chicken Stock:  There is a recipe for a homemade version below in Part II.  6 cups of water and 2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes will be a fine substitute.
  • 1 teaspoon of Sweet Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Dry Mustard
  • 3 whole Cloves
  • several sprigs of fresh Thyme or of Dried Thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried Thyme Leaves (not powdered)
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) of finely ground, blanched Almonds
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Garam Masala plus some more to swirl on the tops of the bowls of soup before serving
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne or to taste


  • a large-ish, heavy-bottomed Pot with a Lid
  • a Blender or Food Processor.

1.  Put into the pot the chicken stock, the paprika, the dry mustard, cloves, and thyme.  Bring the soup base to a simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

2.  Add the ground almonds and garam masala and stir to blend thoroughly.  Process the soup in a blender or food processor in a couple of batches and return it to the pot.

3.  Add the cream and the cayenne pepper.  (Add a little extra cream and stock if the soup has reduced a little more than you would like.)  Heat the soup without letting it come to a boil and taste for seasoning.  Divide it among bowls and decorate each with a swirl of garam masala spice, if you like, as described below in Part III.

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 028II.  Homemade Chicken Stock

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 001Ingredients:

  • a small Chicken, such as a Poussin or a Squab, cut along the backbone so that it relaxes down in the pot:  the photographed stock is made with a poussin which weighs a little under a pound…but any small-ish chicken will do.
  • a bunch of Flat-leaf Parsley
  • 2 Carrots, cut in chunks
  • some sprigs of fresh or dried Thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried Thyme Leaves (not powder)
  • 1 teaspoon of Celery Seed
  • 2 or 3 Bay Leaves
  • a few grinds of White Pepper (or Black…it’s a matter of colour, not seasoning flavour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 12 Cups of Water or enough to cover all the ingredients in the pot


  • a large Stockpot or Dutch Oven with a Lid
  • a Colander
  • a large Bowl or Pot

1.  Put all the ingredients into the stockpot and bring them slowly to a boil over medium heat.

2.  Adjust the heat so that the liquid in the pot simmers, partially covered for 2 and 1/2 hours.  During the first 2 hours, add water to the pot when necessary to keep the ingredients just covered in liquid.  Add no more water during the last 30 minutes of simmering.

3.  Place the colander over a large bowl or pot and strain the stock through the colander.

4.  When the stock is no longer steaming, refrigerate it overnight.  The next day, remove the congealed fat and use the clear stock for making Spiced Almond Soup.

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 008III.  Last Touch:  Spice Swirls of Garam Masala

Sprinkle Garam Masala in a straight line, down the middle of the bowl of soup…

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 015…and use something with a fine point on it…like a bamboo skewer…

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 016…to swirl the spice around over the top of the soup:

spiced almond soup madewith homemadestock 018A Note:  The First Course of the Dinner Menu, Dinner at Journey’s End is Spiced Almond Soup. The recipe is based on one in Mr. Helmut Ripperger’s book on Spice Cookery (1942) which is available here in the Hathi Digital Trust Library, along with several other of his nice little cookbooks.

An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013