Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thai Sweet Potato Carrot Coconut Soup

Sweet Potatoes are pretty amazing. Once cooked down, they become so silky that they make any soup feel rich and hearty. Add coconut milk, and you have a creamy soup that feels a lot richer than it is. Not rich to a point of disgusting. Just rich enough yet light enough to make this soup perfect for a cool, not cold, summer evening.

This soup is so deliciously easy to make. Stick the sweet potatoes and carrots in a pressure cooker and blast them to silkiness. Throw in some spices and coconut milk. Blend. Savor. 

The spice level of this soup is ridiculous. It is like a flavor battle: sweet potatoes and carrots and coconut milk all against the triple dose of heat from crisp ginger, bright green chili, and smoky red chili flakes. A little lime juice and zest help balance it all out with a sour side note. 

You can really taste this flavor war. You spoon some soup into your mouth, and you taste the carrot and sweet potato. Then, you swallow, and your sinuses begin to fill with nearly unbearable spiciness. You take another spoon to tame the spice with more sweetness, then the spiciness hits again. The sourness is barely apparent but is absolutely necessary. And the coconut milk helps tame the spice with a little richness. 

 Four of the many flavor agents in this soup. 

Thai Sweet Potato Carrot Coconut Soup
serves 2

-1 cup light coconut milk

-15 leaves basil (I used Thai basil)

-1 1/2 tbsp lime juice

-1//2 tsp lime zest

-a few strands of cilantro

-1 small green chili (use half for less spicy version)

-1 1/2-2 tbsp grated ginger (use 1 tbsp for less spicy version)

-1/4 tsp freshly ground cinnamon

-1 large clove garlic

-1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional, for extra heat)

-3 small carrots, peeled and chopped

-2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

Cook the carrots and sweet potatoes until silky soft. I do this using a pressure cooker, because it is quick, but you can steam them if you prefer.

Blend together the coconut milk and all the flavor agents. Puree the sweet potatoes and carrots. Blend these purees together. Add salt to taste.

Serve with roasted tofu and/or crushed peanuts. Serve lukewarm if you want the soup to feel less spicy.

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