Sweet potato and coconut soup

Sweet potato and coconut soup (top view)
Sweet potato and coconut soup (top view)

This recipe is based on a recipe from the “New food for thought” cookbook – from the long gone and much missed Food For Thought Covent Garden restaurant.

I got the cookbook in a bouts of food-nostalgia but it is truly and genuinely “old school” as it has no pictures of how the food should look like, only black and white drawings. So this is my contribution for people who eat through their eyes (so to speak, I hope you don’t try to do that literally).

This soup is quite nice – sweet, a little bit spicy but well balanced with the lime, filling and with a bit of texture (if you don’t go overboard with the blender). In short, very easy to make, and I reckon it could become easier the more you practice it.


  • ~500 g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • About 2 cm of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red chilli (I removed the seeds as I was afraid of the heat)
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • optional: ~500 ml vegetable stock (I didn’t use it but it was still great)
  • optional: other bits and pieces you might have around – like a piece of fennel I added.
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • light oil like grapeseed oil

Other things you’ll need:

  • a somewhat deep pot in which to fry and boil things, or alternatively fry the ingredients on a pan and then transfer to a pot for the finishing boil.
  • a blender (I use a hand stick blender – nothing fancy). Maybe a potato masher if you don’t have a blender. Or even a fork, if you’re patient enough 🙂


Fry the onion on a medium heat, until it becomes soft and translucid.

Add the cumin seeds, frying them a bit as well.

Add the ginger and chilli, tossing around for a few minutes.

Add the sweet potato cubes (you might need to add a bit more of oil so they don’t stick) and stir regularly so they all get a little fried on the outside.

Then add the coconut milk, and enough warm vegetable stock or water until the vegetables are just about covered with water. Bear in mind you will blend this later, so I think it’s better to not add too much liquid at this stage; you can always add more after blending.

Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer until the sweet potato is soft – in my case it took about 20 minutes as the cubes were fairly small.

This is how the soup looked like before blending. You can see I erred on the side of less water:

Sweet potato and coconut soup (before blending)
Sweet potato and coconut soup (before blending)

Then blend the ingredients until you reach your favourite texture.

Taste for salt and adjust, then blend and taste again. This is also your chance to add a little bit more water or stock if you’d prefer a more liquid soup. I personally went for a thicker result, as we wanted this to be our main dish.

The original recipe suggests serving with fresh coriander but I didn’t have any handy so we made do without it. I can imagine this being nice with a piece of good bread too (specially if the soup is more liquid), or maybe something more exotic, but I do not know what – the coconut, chilly and lime gave remind me of Thai cuisine somewhat!

Sweet potato and coconut soup
Sweet potato and coconut soup

Like proper soups, it doesn’t look very pretty, but it was really comforting. And that’s what matters when it comes to soups!

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