Almond Soup
90 Min

Almond Soup

Many years ago, I enjoyed a delicious chilled almond soup, ajoblanco, native to Spain, at a wonderful restaurant called Feast in Houston. The dish was garnished with a drizzle of good olive oil, sliced grapes and was delicious to the last spoonful.

Ajoblanco is often called white gazpacho and predates its more popular tomato version, since tomatoes did not arrive in Spain until the time of Columbus. The classic version is made with slices of white bread pureed with almonds. Preferring my bread warm, grainy, toasted and slathered in butter, I use plain white rice as the thickener here. The quality of rice will not matter, as it will all get pureed in the end. The addition of aromatic cardamom to the base balanced the garlic, and a pop of mustard seeds and kari leaves was the final flourish. If you can find Spanish Marcona almonds, the soup will be even more delicious.
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Cook Time

60 Minutes



Step 1
Rinse the rice 2 to 3 times and soak for an hour. Combine with garlic cloves, cardamom seeds, serrano, black pepper, salt plus 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the rice has turned to a mush. Add the skinless almonds along with the soaking water and turn the heat off. Let the mixture cool off for an hour or two. 
Step 2
Using a powerful blender or a stick blender, puree the entire contents of the soup in 2 or 3 batches, slowly adding the olive oil. It will take a couple of minutes to get the mixture to be totally smooth. Add the lime juice also slowly, tasting as you go to make sure the soup is balanced. Pour into a storage container and refrigerate for a few hours or preferably, overnight. 
Step 3
When ready to serve, spread the soup among the serving bowls. In a small frying pan over medium heat, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and pop the mustard seeds and fry the kari leaves. Once the oil is hot, this only takes a few seconds. Turn the heat off and let the oil rest for a minute or two then spoon it over the surface of the soup (it will float) and add toasted almonds and herbs of your choice. 

1/4 cup plain white rice

2 to 3 garlic cloves

12 teaspoon green cardamom seeds

1 small serrano chile

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup skinless almonds, soaked in 2 cups water

Juice of 1/2 or 1 lime

1/4 cup olive oil


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

10 to 12 kari (curry) leaves

Few sprigs of cilantro, parsley, or mint

2 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds

Notes & Variations

  • To peel the almonds, pour 2 cups of boiling water over the almonds and let it rest for an hour or two. Slide the skin off the almonds and discard. 
  • Instead of rice, try using chunks of peeled white potatoes.
  • Mustard seeds add a tiny bit of heat and crunch to the flavor of the soup and cumin or coriander seeds also work well. 
90 Min

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