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Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Grilled Shrimp, Lime and Coconut

Image of Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Grilled Shrimp, Lime and Coconut
This Thai-inspired dish is sweet, savory and a bit spicy all at the same time. A versatile recipe, it can be prepared as thick as a pottage or served as a medium-bodied soup, depending on the amount of liquid that is reduced. To create a deeply complex flavor, the sweet potatoes, carrots and aromatics are initially sautéed in a red curry paste-infused coconut oil before roasting in a hot toaster oven. This two-step culinary technique acts to caramelize the veggie's sugars and temper the garlic’s “bite.” Do not short-cut this process, or the finished soup will lack depth and taste “flat.”

As in all great soups, the broth is crucial to the finished dish. If not using a homemade veggie broth, I recommend a prepared broth with no preservatives, vinegar, mushrooms, flavor enhancers, or additives. Look for a product packaged in a paper box, avoiding broths packaged in metal cans, which can taste “tinny.” Aneto’s Natural Vegetable Broth works well in this recipe. Only seven ingredients, this Spanish import lists water, onions, carrots, leeks, celery, salt and extra virgin olive oil—all complementary ingredients that do not overpower the sweet potatoes or carrots. Vegetarians can swap out the fish sauce for a bit more smoked salt, a requisite to balance out this soup's inherent sweetness. Do not forget to squeeze fresh lime juice into the soup right before serving; this bright acid is the perfect counterpoint flavor to cut the savory richness of the finished dish. Serve with several garnishes on the side: minced fresh cilantro, lime wedges and toasted, sweetened coconut chips.


Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Grilled Shrimp, Lime and Coconut
Serves: 2 as a main; 4 as a side
Image of Ingredients
Ingredients

For the soup:
2 large garnet sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch by 1-inch chunks
2 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 2-inch rounds
1 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly-sliced
1 (4 ounce) jar Thai red curry paste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked salt
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
33 ounces good–quality vegetable stock (I recommend Aneto or homemade)
1 13 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

Directions
Image of yam pieces in a mixing bowl
Place coconut oil into a large, heavy-bottomed, enameled soup pot and heat on medium till melted. Add red curry paste, smoked salt, black pepper and stir to combine. Add sweet potato, carrots, onions, ginger and garlic and stir with a large spoon until veggies and aromatics are coated. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
Image of sweet potato pieces in a baking tray for roasting
Line a toaster oven tray with foil and add veggie mixture. Heat toaster oven to 400 F, and place veggies on toaster oven tray. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring often until veggies are soft—do not let the garlic burn. Remove from toaster oven.
Image of soup in a white pot
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add roasted veggies, coconut milk, fish sauce and vegetable stock, then stir to combine. Heat on medium heat until soup comes to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes for a thick soup (or 15 minutes for a thinner soup). Using an immersion blender, puree till the desired texture is achieved. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Taste for salt and make adjustments.

For the grilled shrimp:
12 medium-sized good-quality shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/8 teaspoon white sugar

Directions
Place shrimp in a small bowl and add oil, then toss to coat and dust with sugar. Place medium-sized wok on medium-high heat till almost smoking. Add shrimp in a single layer to wok and cook without moving for about 4 minutes, then turn over and turn off heat. Let shrimp finish cooking in residual heat for another 3 minutes, then test to see if shrimp is opaque and done. Remove from wok and set aside.

Garnish:
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed to 1-inch below leaves, minced
3 large limes, cut in half or quarters
¼ cup sweetened toasted coconut chips

To serve:
Image of Curried soup served with garnish ingredients
Ladle soup into warmed soup bowls, and top with grilled shrimp, sliced jalapenos and cilantro. Serve with extra garnishes on the side: fresh lime, toasted coconut chips and sliced jalapenos.

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