Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

The one rather large sweet potato I had bought made a creamy, flavourful soup when combined with some leftover coconut milk, chicken stock and spices. It was a quick way to turn the sweet potato into a full meal.

As my daughter said, it's like eating savoury pumpkin pie...

The leftover soup is in the freezer, an easy lunch or dinner for someone.

Since I was also using coconut milk and chicken stock that were in the freezer, I felt even better about this meal!

Using a bit of olive oil, cook:

1 medium onion, diced
3 small carrots, diced

Cook until the onions soften, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add the spices:

2 cinnamon sticks
1 bayleaf
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cook for a couple of minutes.


4 cups peeled and diced sweet potato


1 cup coconut milk

Add enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables, and bring it to a boil.

Turn it down and simmer until the vegetables are soft enough to mash with a fork.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and bayleaf.

Puree using a hand blender, blender or food processor.

Strain to remove any lumps that might remain, giving you a smooth, silky soup.

Return to the heat, and adjust the consistency by adding more chicken stock or coconut milk. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve, garnishing with a sprig of fresh herbs.

  • Yams or purple sweet potatoes can be used instead of sweet potatoes; the amount of carrots can be increased and the potatoes omitted to turn this into a carrot soup.
  • To increase the flavour and natural sweetness found in all of these vegetables, drizzle them with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast them until tender and lightly coloured in a 350F oven, before placing them into a pot and adding the spices and liquids.
  • To increase the coconut flavour, you can increase the amount of coconut milk in the recipe; coconut oil can be used to cook the vegetables instead of olive oil; the soup can be garnished with a swirl of coconut milk or cream, and lightly toasted coconut can be sprinkled on top.
  • Vegetable stock, water or milk can be used instead of chicken stock; this will also give you a vegetarian soup.
  • Other spices that can be used are star anise, ginger, allspice, cayenne pepper. Fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme or sage can be added.
  • Sweet potatoes lend themselves to a variety of flavour profiles. If you have Thai red or yellow curry paste, add some to the soup...start with a small amount and increase it to suit your taste.
  • If you like sweeter soups, add some brown sugar or maple syrup; caramelize the onions before adding the carrots and sweet potatoes; garnish with candied nuts such as almonds or pecans.
  • To add a sweet / tangy contrast, garnish the soup with crumbled goat cheese or a dollop of plain yoghurt (stir in some lime zest or juice).
  • Spice it up with cayenne pepper, sriracha or other hot sauce or some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
  • Add some alcohol...rum, brandy or bourbon are good choices.
  • Leftover mashed sweet potatoes can be used...cook the onions and carrots with the liquid until tender, then stir in the leftover potatoes, puree and strain.

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