Recipe from Tasty. Naughty. Healthy. Nice. by Susan Jane White, © 2016 by Susan Jane White. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications. Boulder, Colo.
Lemongrass is the easiest of exotic Asian herbs to deal with in a Western kitchen.
I tend to have problems pronouncing the others, let alone soliciting them into a pan. Lemongrass is widely available in supermarkets now, which means we are becoming either more courageous behind the apron or more mournful of our carefree days backpacking around Thailand.
Organic coconut milk is best because otherwise the milk can be hijacked with all sorts of preservatives and stabilizers. If you think this is just claptrap, I urge you to buy both and compare. You’ll notice a trippy purple hue in many nonorganic milks.
Lemongrass, Coconut And Sweet Potato Soup
- Good blob of extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2 lemongrass stalks
- 2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock or water
- 1 (400g) can organic coconut milk
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, torn
- Tamari, to serve
Gently warm a dollop of extra virgin coconut oil in a sauté pan. Add the sweet potatoes, onions and garlic, and leave to sweat quietly while you prepare the remaining ingredients. This process sweetens the veggies naturally as long as you don’t brown them.
Bash the fat, fibrous end of the lemongrass stalks with the base of a saucepan or other heavy object. Of course, a pestle and mortar would be perfect yet not as cathartic as a flying saucepan after a long day in the office. Add the smashed stalks to the sweet potatoes and onions along with the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until soft.
Remove the lemongrass and discard. Purée the soup with a handheld blender until delectably smooth. Tickle with cayenne to give delicious heat and a splash of lime for a sharp kick. Finally, dazzle with the torn cilantro, a splash of tamari and your vacation photo album. Guaranteed to transport you straight back to the coconut-lined beaches of Koh Samui.