This is the most wonderful, spicy and vibrant soup for times you just want to feel goodness and warmth coursing through your body, doing its magic. A collection of beautiful, immune-supporting vegetables, spices, herbs and creamy beans brought together in a coconut Thai curry broth.
The ingredients list looks long – please don’t let that put you off, it’s such an easy and quick recipe. It’s because there are a lot of spice pastes and easy veggies that you hardly have to do a thing with. It’s a lot of just throwing things in the pan.
Heat a couple of large glugs of olive oil in a wide shallow pan, you need it wide so the veg gets max surface area to cook fast.
Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and sambal/chilli paste and fry for a minute before adding ¾ of the onion and the sugar and salt. Now cook the onion for a minute or two then add the rice wine vinegar and sizzle it off for 30 secs.
Add the rest of the veg, keeping just a little bit of green veg and carrot back to add as a garnish at the end. Cook for 5-6 mins until the sweet potato/squash is cooked but still firm and not squidged.
Pour in the coconut milk and about a teacup of boiling water, plus the tomato puree, most of the beans (keep a few back) and a good few splashes of soy/tamari sauce. Stir and taste – add more seasoning, boiling water or spice as needed. Simmer for a few mins.
Note: If adding extra water you will likely need to add extra seasoning and spice.
Mean time heat some olive oil in a small frying pan and add the rest of the onion slices and beans, a bit of salt and chilli paste. Fry until the onion is slightly caramelised and the beans have split and browned a bit, you’ll use this as a garnish.
Go back to the soup and add the remaining veg just to heat it through – keeping it bright and vibrant.
Serve in shallow bowls garnished with the fried onions and beans, fresh herbs and a couple of sliced sugarsnap peas or spring onions if you have any.
Where to start with this one?! Its huge nutritional benefit comes partly from its phytonutrients – they’re the compounds that give plants protection against weather, disease and pests, and they help to do the same for us when we eat them. Eating a good array of colourful veggies, herbs and spices not only means you get fantastic fibre to make your gut happy but gives you a nutrient-dense meal with plenty of immune-supporting vitamins, minerals and compounds. The beans add valuable protein as well as folate, copper, manganese and iron.
Though the term “superfood” is applied to many foods these days, beans really may be deserving of the title. They are technically a starchy vegetable packed with protein, low in fat and sugars – this can aid weight-loss as they keep us feeling fuller for longer. It has been proven that beans also decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes due to their low glycaemic index, thereby improving lipid and glycaemic control in diabetics. Their most famous attribute is the link between their consumption and lower levels of cholesterol which in turn reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Beans, in general, are one of the only plant foods that provide a significant amount of the amino acid lysine, in addition to a wide range of antioxidants. It’s important to get a variety of beans and legumes as each contain different and varying micronutrients; cannellini beans have more calcium; pinto beans score high in folate; and aduki beans, chickpeas, and butter beans are particularly high in iron. Most are packed with resistant starch, adukis are high in potassium, and red and black varieties are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.
Red onions are a not only a great source of the antioxidant, quercitin but are rich in flavonoids, which are responsible for their colour. Flavonoids are compounds found in plants that offer them protection agains the elements and against disease and they pass that quality on to us. Another good source of fibre, onions provide food for the microbes in your gut, which in turn produce beneficial fatty acids.
“What would you like for dinner?” “Not Thai food.” Said no-one ever.