Pervin Todiwala's Zagorje-Style Soup

Originating in the northern Croatian region of Zagorje, it was considered a peasant’s dish, basic and hearty. Today it has gained popularity as a gourmet soup given its blend of old and new ingredients. I have put my own touch to it and tweaked it for global taste buds. As they say in Croatian, “Dobar tek” (bon appetit)!



  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 medium carrot

  • 1 stick of celery

  • 200g mushrooms 9for a different flavour use a variety of seasonal mushrooms)

  • 2 medium potatoes

  • 100g bacon or pancetta (optional)

  • ½ tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 100ml white wine (optional)

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • Chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock or water)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 100ml sour cream

  • 1 tbsp flour


  • Add 1 cup cooked orzo or barley.

  • Save some diced potatoes, fry them till lightly crisp for a topping

  • Serve the soup in a bread bowl with an array of toppings: spring onions, toasted walnuts, masala croutons (warm olive oil or butter, add a pinch of chilli or paprika  powder and brush this on croutons before toasting), crispy fried green onion, carrot or courgette noodles.


  1. Dice the onions, carrot, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, and bacon into equal-sized pieces.

  2. Sweat the bacon with a little olive oil and then add cumin seeds and chopped onions.

  3. Stir till the onions soften and then add the diced carrot, celery, potato and mushrooms and fry all together.

  4. Add the bay leaf, paprika and keep frying.

  5. Add the sugar stir and then add the wine . Reduce the wine until the smell of alcohol disappears.

  6. Add the tomato puree and stir till well mixed.

  7. Pour chicken stock or water into the pot, just covering all the ingredients.

  8. Cover the pan for about 15 minutes until the potatoes & carrots are cooked.

  9. Stir in salt, pepper and then let it cook for another 5 minutes. Mix sour cream and flour in a bit of cold water to make a slurry and gently stir it into to the soup. Cook for another 6 – 7 minutes.

  10. Eat it with chunks of bread or seasoned pasta.