Thai-style sweet potato soup

We bought the most amazing organic orange sweet potatoes from a woman called Nomonde Ntsundwana at the Valley Market this past weekend. She grows these huge whoppers in the township. We came home with a good kilo and immediately remembered a favourite old recipe from our The Global Table days. This soup with its distinctive Thai flavours is ideal for the colder months and surprisingly affordable to make. You must just work fast with raw sweet potato or it’ll quickly discolour – best peel and dice it right before adding it to the pot. We used to add a whole tin of coconut milk to the soup but our friend Lynne Howse, a real foodie, suggested half a tin would be better. And you know what, she was right!


Serves 4 to 6


1 medium red onion, chopped; 1 tsp grated fresh ginger; 2 cloves of garlic, chopped; 2 tbsp sunflower oil and 2 tbsp sesame oil, for frying; 1 level Tbsp green curry paste; 5 cups boiling water; 2 level tsp good-quality vegetable or chicken stock powder (or 2 Ina Paarman sachets); 2 level tsp soya sauce (we use low sodium); 2 tsp soft brown sugar; 4 dried lime leaves; 4 to 5 medium sweet potatoes (about 1kg in total); 1/2 tin of coconut milk, 1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce; handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves; cream or creme fraiche for serving


Fry the onion, garlic and ginger in the oil in a pot; when starting to soften, stir in the green curry paste. Add the water, stock, soya sauce, brown sugar and lime leaves. Peel and dice the sweet potatoes, add to the pot and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the sweet potato is tender (30 to 40 minutes). You might not think the liquid will be sufficient but it is, as you’ll still be adding coconut milk later. Let it cool a bit, blend till smooth, then return to the pot. Add the coconut milk, shaking the tin before you open it so it blends properly. Stir through, season with fish sauce to taste, then gently reheat so the soup loses that raw coconut taste (try not to boil it). Stir through the chopped coriander and serve immediately with a drizzle of cream or dollop of creme fraiche.

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