The title for today’s recipe reads like a laundry list of my favorite things. Adding red curry paste to soups is well-trodden territory on this blog. And pairing peanut butter with chili, well, that’s practically old hat at this point. Except it’s not. It never gets old for me. Peanut butter and spice just belong together and I know I’m not alone in believing this. There are enough spicy peanut noodle recipes out there that you could probably try a new one every night for the next 10 years. Thai Panang curry is one of my favorite spicy peanut concoctions and this Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup is more or less a love letter to that dish. If you have not tried it, run, don’t walk. It’s a dish you ought to experience. I mean, as long as you don’t have a peanut allergy.
While I was wrapping up this recipe, I realized I had unintentionally crafted a meal that was gluten and dairy-free. I love when this happens. I’m never one to roll my eyes at food sensitivities, moral codes, or simple preferences. I truly want to feed anyone who is happy to settle at my table. But I do sometimes struggle against the constraints of dietarily mindful cooking. At times it feels like I can only use half of a crayon box. And the crayons that are available to me are the colors I like the least. But every now and then I make a recipe without any restrictions in mind and it suits the diet of one of my close friends. That is an easy win free of creative or culinary compromise. I’m filing this recipe away for my dear friend Amanda, in particular.
So, if this soup has no gluten or dairy, what exactly does it have? Well, a whole lot of sweet potato cooked within an inch of its life and pureed into a silky soup. I mean, there are a few supporting cast members. The usual suspects – shallots, celery, and carrots. And, of course, there’s red curry paste and fish sauce – the one ingredient that held this soup back from being accidentally vegan. Do they make a vegan fish sauce? And if they do, is it any good? Tell me in the comments below.
On top of being friendly to a whole crop of diners, this Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup is a snap to prepare. And like all the best soups, it delivers a hefty dose of aromatherapy. Honestly, this soup will make your entire house smell amazing. Apple cider who? So let’s get into it.
This soup starts, as most do, with a mirepoix. A mirepoix is a simple mixture of ingredients that serve as the base flavor for soups, stews, and sauces. Most sport an allium, like a shallot or an onion. And generally, there are carrots and celery involved. But some cuisines stray from the typical French holy trinity. Cajun and Creole cooking are good examples of this. Their mirepoix contains onion, celery, and bell pepper. For this soup, I went with the classic carrot, celery, and shallot medley with the added benefits of sliced garlic and minced ginger.
Once, the mirepoix is slightly softened, it’s time to add the red curry paste. The paste I used was a simple storebought variety but I fully support anyone who chooses to go whole hog and make their own. Curry pastes do freeze well. It could prove worth the extra time to have some gourmet curry paste stashed in your freezer and at your beck and call. But store-bought will work fine. Saute the curry paste until good and fragrant.
From here, it’s a simple matter of adding a whole whack of sweet potato, your choice of stock, and a hefty dose of fish sauce. Fish sauce is the secret to this soup’s umami, which is vital to balancing out the sweetness of the potatoes. Now, remember fish sauce is salty, so be sparing with your salt from here on out. Simply bring everything up to a boil before reducing it to a simmer. Let the soup go for a good 20 minutes. We want the sweet potato to be on verge of falling apart before we introduce the immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use a food processor for this. Just remember to use caution when puréeing hot liquids. Work in batches and be aware and stir clear of escaping steam.
Once your soup is silky smooth, it’s as simple as stirring in coconut milk and lime juice. From there it’s a choose-your-own-adventure of soup toppings. Now, I of course endorse a swirl of smooth peanut butter – it made it into the title for a reason. But you can add just about anything your heart desires. I went with fresh Thai chili slices, cilantro, and extra coconut cream.
And that’s everything you need to know about this Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup. It has everything going for it: heat, sweet, and creamy consistency. Oh! And it’s unintentionally gluten and dairy-free. How’s that for a selling feature?
Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter Swirl
- Immersion blender or food processor
- Dutch oven
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- 3 shallots peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 ribs celery coarsely chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 knob ginger peeled and minced
- 2 tbsp red curry paste heaping
- 4 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 lime juiced
- ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 2 Thai red chilis sliced thin
- Additonal coconut cream for serving
- Fresh cilantro leaves for serving
- Place a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the shallots, carrots, and celery. Add a sprinkle of salt and sauté until slightly softened.2 tbsp neutral oil, 3 shallots, 3 ribs celery, 3 carrots
- Stir in the garlic, ginger, and red curry paste. Sauté until fragrant about a minute or two more.4 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp red curry paste, 1 knob ginger
- Add the sweet potatoes, stock, fish sauce, and honey. Stir to combine and bring the mixture up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes or until the potato is very tender.4 large sweet potatoes, 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock, ¼ cup fish sauce, 2 tbsp honey
- Turn off the heat and purée the soup using an immersion blender.** Once the soup is smooth, stir in the coconut milk and the lime juice. Spoon the soup into bowls and finish with a swirl of peanut butter, additional coconut cream, red chilies, and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.1 can full-fat coconut milk, 1 lime, ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter, 2 Thai red chilis, Additonal coconut cream, Fresh cilantro leaves