I don’t know why but curry has always scared me. Where do I buy it? How do I use it? What does it taste like? Is it going to spice my face off?
Sadly, these questions were all too accurate. That is, until I tried a few curry dishes and started doing some down and dirty curry research. I quickly discovered there’s nothing to be scared of with this colorful spice. And I now plan to use it abundantly.
Curry is typically a blend of spices that comes in a variety of colors and flavors and even consistencies. You can buy curry paste, curry powder, red, yellow and green curry, just to name a few. And each seems to be best suited for a certain type of dish. Yellow tends to be the mildest of the curries and green the spiciest. Yellow curries get their bright yellow hue from turmeric, green from cilantro and coriander rot, and red from red chilis.
With all of these considerations, curries can be made more spicy or mild, depending on the curry base and how much heat is added in the form of chilies and peppers.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what curry is, how do we use it?
Curries are most heavily employed in Thai and Indian cooking, and this soup is a fusion of the two, relying on yellow curry powder (Indian influence) and coconut milk (Thai influence. I prefer spicy dishes, so I added some chipotle powder to this soup. But I think cayenne would work well here, too (used in moderation). I didn’t have access to red chili at the time or I likely would’ve tried adding it to the mix. Next time. There will certainly be a next time.
Let’s talk soup.
This soup is luxuriously creamy.
Comes together in about 35-40 minutes, and requires just 1 pot ( + 1 bowl and baking sheet is making chickpeas).
Is naturally sweet from the sweet potatoes and coconut milk.
Spicy from the garlic and chipotle powder.
And surprisingly filling, thanks to the addition of crunchy, spicy baked chickpeas.
The flavor also comes in waves, first savory, then sweet, then “whoa, this is spicy.” If you prefer it less spicy, simply add less chipotle (or cayenne) powder, or omit it entirely. I just felt that it needed some heat to balance out the sweet potato and coconut milk.
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
- 1/4 tsp chipotle (or cayenne) powder*
- 3/4 tsp sea salt + 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 cups coconut milk (either light coconut milk or plain coconut beverage)
- 1 can chickpeas (2 cups)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- pinch chipotle (or cayenne) powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C).
- Then start the soup by sweating the onions in a large pot over medium heat in 1/2 Tbsp coconut (or olive/canola) oil. Cook for a few minutes and then add garlic and stir.
- Season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and stir. Add sweet potatoes, curry powder, chipotle (or cayenne) and stir.
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add 1/4 tsp more salt and pepper and the coconut milk. Then cover.
- Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25 minutes more.
- In the meantime, prep your chickpeas by tossing them in olive oil and spices and spreading evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside. Remove and set aside for serving.
- At the end of 25 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added about 1/4 tsp more salt and a pinch more chipotle. Then puree using an immersion blender, food processor or blender. Transfer back to the pot if needed and keep heat on low until ready to serve.
- Will keep in the fridge for several days and the freezer for a month or so.
*I amended the cayenne/chipotle to include just 1/4 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp. I prefer spicy but recognize that some people prefer it more mild. Adjust this amount as you see fit.