Thai coconut soup made with bold, exotic flavors! This recipe uses sweet potatoes and pears for a light and healthy twist on a favorite Asian dish.
Nothing is more comforting and satisfying than a hot bowl of soup on a chilly Fall night. This Thai coconut soup is a combination of spicy red chili pepper, pungent ginger and aromatic lemongrass simmered with sweet potatoes and pears in a fragrant broth.
Pureéing sauteéd fruits and vegetables in my Vitamix blender creates a deliciously creamy and smooth mixture in minutes, with just the right spoonable consistency. Fresh autumn produce is incorporated to highlight seasonal flavors available at your local market.
Why This Soup Tastes So Good
Good soup starts by building a delicious flavor base right in the pan. Sautéing aromatic ingredients like minced garlic, ginger, and lemongrass in a little bit of vegetable oil will create a beautiful fragrant aroma. Just 30 seconds is all that is needed to release enticing smells, without burning or overcooking the delicate ingredients.
Diced sweet potato and pears are added to the pot to develop some caramelized flavors. These two ingredients add a natural sweetness to the soup plus dietary fiber. Incorporating the orange-fleshed tuber also provides a source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. From a culinary perspective, the starches in the sweet potato help to create a creamy consistency in the soup.
To elevate the flavor of the soup base, I use a Thai red curry paste. The combination of ground chilis, kefir lime, galangal (a rhizome in the ginger family with a sharp citrusy flavor), garlic, shallots, and spices adds an authentic Southeast Asian flavor profile. I use this versatile ingredient often to make a curry sauce with different proteins and vegetables. Plus, a splash of unique yet essential savory fish sauce transforms and adds depth to the soup. Don’t skip this ingredient!
Coconut milk helps to balance the heat from the chili paste and adds a richness to the texture of the pureé. About 20 minutes is all you need to simmer the vegetables until fork tender while concentrating the flavors in the pot through a little bit of evaporation.
After the ingredients have simmered and infused into the base, it’s time to finish making the soup! All of the elements are added directly to my blender while still hot. I love that this high-performance mixer has a “Soups” setting, enabling pre-set smart controls for speed and timing. This feature allows my Thai coconut soup recipe to develop a creamy and velvety smooth texture.
What’s neat is watching the “Soup” setting cycle through various speed levels in under 6 minutes, to ensure that the recipe is prepared to just the right consistency, taking out all of the guesswork. The soup will stay hot in the blender cup for a bit so I can serve directly from there.
Each spoonful of this fragrant soup provides a velvety mouthfeel. This is created by the laser-cut stainless steel blades in the blender, producing fine particulates out of the cooked sweet potatoes and pears. The pungent Thai flavors harmoniously meld together with the earthy sweet potatoes to take your taste buds on an adventure that doesn’t require a plane ticket!
To add a little extra texture to each serving, I top the soup bowls with fresh cilantro, toasted coconut flakes, roasted peanuts and a squeeze of lime. The toppings make it look pretty too, right!?
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Two things help to thicken the soup naturally
The starches in the diced sweet potato gelatinize, swell and thicken once heated during the simmering step. The other element is the physical shear of the blender blades used during the pureéing process. It creates superfine suspended food particles in the liquid while further releasing the starches from the potatoes for increased viscosity.
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Thai Coconut Soup with Sweet Potato
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
- 3 cups diced sweet potatoes, peeled, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup diced pears, Bartlett, ¼-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 ½ cups coconut milk
- 1 cup vegetable stock, divided, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, once hot add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass, saute until fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds.
- Add sweet potatoes and pears to the pan. Turn heat to medium-high and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add red curry, coconut milk and ½ cup vegetable stock to the pan, stir to combine and dissolve the curry in the liquid. Once the liquid starts to boil, reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat.
- Cover and cook the soup until sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add sweet potato soup, ½ cup vegetable stock, and fish sauce to a blender. On medium-high speed, process until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add more vegetable stock if desired to adjust the thickness of the soup, processing in 30-second intervals.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve soup hot with toppings is desired (see notes section).
- Optional Garnish: Cilantro leaves, toasted coconut flakes, coconut milk, roasted peanuts, lime wedges.
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