I started making this soup because I had some coconut cream left over from another recipe that I wanted to use up. Unfortunately, when I came to add the coconut cream to the soup, it turned out to be a bit, well, past its best. By which I mean multicoloured and almost ready to climb out of the tub and into the soup of its own accord. I had to wrestle it into the bin and slam the lid down in a hurry. I could have sworn it had ony been in there for a couple of days. If pushed, I may have realised that those couple of days were separated by up to a week’s worth of other days… It’s important to check the Tupperwares in your fridge regularly, readers. REGULARLY.
I’d started out wanting to make a Caribbean style soup, but it grew into a non-regionally-specific spiced soup instead. If anyone would care to give it a better name I’d be happy to hear it! This is the recipe for four big servings, and has a few customisable points where you can use different amounts of spice or choose different flavours. Mix it up!
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 – 2 (depending how spicy you like it) dried birds eye chilis, stems removed
- 1″ piece peeled ginger, chopped
- 1 baking potato, diced
- 700g carrots, diced
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 chicken stock cubes
- 1 – 1 1/4 litre water (depending on how thick you like your soup)
- 250ml milk
- 6 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cream
- 200g tin of chickpeas
- handful parsley, basil or coriander, finely chopped
- cream for garnish
Begin by heating the oil, then cook the spring onions, chilis and ginger over a medium heat for a few minutes.
Add the potato and carrots, season with a salt and black pepper (and fennel, garlic and chili if you have the same spice grinder as me, which you use to season everything) and cook for about five minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the allspice, cinnamon stick and star anise, mix through and then add the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.
Once the veg is cooked, puree it using a stick blender, or in a jug blender, then add the milk, coconut and sugar. This was my alternative to coconut cream; you could substitute 250ml of coconut cream if you have it and its not gone ‘past its best’ in the fridge. Add the chickpeas, too. Bring the soup back up to a simmer, though not a boil, for ten minutes, then add the cream and the fresh herbs. I used parsley but I think basil or coriander would bring a lot more to the soup – parsley is a bit delicate. I think basil would be particularly good with the sweet, aromatic spices. Thyme might also be nice, or spinach. Something green, anyway. You can puree the soup again if you prefer it to be smooth; I like the added texture from the herbs and chickpeas.
Ladle the soup into bowls and use a pipette or a small spoon to draw pretty shapes on the top with some more cream. Mine went a bit spiderwebby.
Serve with some lovely bread (perhaps oaty sandwich bread) and you have yourself a meal!