Thai carrot and sweet potato soup with basil and avocado
Most Sundays I make a ‘clear the fridge’ soup. I don’t follow a recipe but I use it as an excuse to empty my fridge, give it a good wipe and make something from the odds and ends that are in there.
I love making soup on a Sunday because it means I have a healthy vegetable-packed lunch for me and my boys and I will usually have enough leftover to put in the freezer for another day. There is also something so lovely and comforting about a pan of soup bubbling in the kitchen.
Last week I was overrun with carrots and sweet potatoes. I had a half used can of coconut cream in the freezer (decanted into a glass jar – not still in the can) and some leftover Thai salad dressing from my new salads class. So this is what I rustled up.
The thing that elevates this soup is the finishing touches – the swirl of salad dressing adds freshness and vibrancy. The avocado adds a cool creaminess as well as good fats to keep you fuller for longer. The basil adds another fresh flavour and texture. If I’d have had any in the house, I’d have added some toasted crushed cashews for crunch too.
Adding the dressing at the end also means you can serve this to a gang of people with varying spice loving levels. My boys only have a tiny bit of the dressing ,I go for more. The dressing recipe below makes more than you need for this soup. Keep what is left in the fridge in a jar and use it on noodles, salad, slaw or cooked greens. It will last for a week or two, no problem.
Ingredients (makes 4 big bowls)
450g (1lb) carrots
1 red onion chopped into half moons (see video)
3 fist sized sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon coconut or your choice of oil
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock – homemade makes this amazing, read how to make it here
210g or 7oz (half a can) of coconut cream – I buy mine from Trader Joe’s
- 2 limes, juiced and zested with a Microplane – or use 1-2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (I like Grama’s brand from Whole Foods). Or use 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 chopped fresh chili instead
- 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce – I like Squid brand available in my ingredients shop) If you don’t eat fish you can use Tamari or soy sauce
avocado, lime, basil or coriander [cilantro], toasted cashews
1. Slice your onion into half moons. See this video of how to do it. Then heat a saucepan or a Dutch oven – I use my Le Creuset – with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Once the oil is quivering, throw in the onion and stir. Leave to cook on a medium high heat, stirring occasionally while you chop your carrots and sweet potato. You want the onions to sizzle gently, they will soften and turn translucent rather than brown. If they are browning or smelling burnt, turn the heat down and add a couple of tablespoons of water
2. Scrub but don’t peel the carrots and sweet potato and chop them into roughly one inch chunks. Then add them to the pan of onions. Stir, then add the cumin and coriander and cook for 3-5 minutes. Stir every minute
3. Add the chicken or vegetable stock then top the pan up with boiling water until the vegetables are just covered in liquid. If you are using a bought stock, don’t add any salt. If you are using homemade stock, add a quarter teaspoon of sea salt. Put the lid on the pan and bring up to the boil by turning the heat up. Once it is bubbling fiercely, turn it down to a simmer (small bubbles) and cook with the lid on for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft
4. While the soup cooks, make your Thai dressing by putting all the ingredients into a clean jam jar and shaking together
5. When the vegetables are soft, add the coconut cream, stir and then use an immersion blender (available through my shop) in the pan to blend the soup into a creamy, smooth soup. I would usually tell you to taste and adjust the seasoning at this stage, but because we will be adding the dressing as our seasoning there is no need
6. When you are ready to serve the soup, put it into bowls and stir about a tablespoon of dressing into each bowl. Stir and taste. add more dressing if you need more flavour. The fish sauce gives you the salt and savoury, Thai umami hit. The chili sauce gives sweetness and heat. The lime adds freshness and acidity. Top with chopped basil and avocado then serve.
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