a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
My brother and sister-in-law own an amazing Thai-inspired restaurant in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. It happens to be one of the best restaurants on the island. You might think I’m biased, but the reviews on Trip Advisor, Fodor’s and Yelp will back me up here.
I’ve tasted almost everything on my brother’s ever-evolving One-Ten Thai menu, and his sweet potato coconut soup is still one of my favorite dishes of all time.
The soup tasted even better when my brother flew home to Denver earlier this year to visit me while I was undergoing a long and boring recovery from an abdominal surgery. The soup he prepared in my kitchen was warming, healing and – most importantly for me at the time – easy on the digestive system.
The liquid base of the soup is a dairy-free combo of coconut milk and water. For a tea foodie twist on my brother’s recipe, I infused the water with Teatulia’s Ginger Herbal Infusion, which is an organic caffeine-free blend of ginger root and vasaka leaf.
What is vasaka? (That’s what I asked, anyway.) It’s a plant native to India that supposedly helps support bronchial function and is often used medicinally to treat cold and cough. It’s described as having a very bitter taste, which definitely comes through in Teatulia’s blend, although the peppery bite of ginger is the dominant flavor of the Ginger Herbal Infusion.
The finished soup has a sweet spiciness to it, seasoned with fresh ginger, garam masala, cumin, white pepper and sweet chili sauce. You can make the soup as spicy as you like by adding additional ginger, pepper or chili sauce while it’s simmering. Or you can serve it with some spicy condiments on the side to season the soup by the bowlful.
I find this soup to be incredibly comforting and delicious. So much so that I made a double batch this week to take to one friend who’s having surgery and another who’s just had a baby. I hope they love it as much as I do.
Happy cooking and sipping!
(Adapted from the Sweet Potato Coconut Soup recipe served at One Ten Thai in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.)
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 cups water
2 pyramid bags of Teatulia’s Ginger Herbal Infusion (or 2 heaping teaspoons of your favorite loose leaf ginger tea blend)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ground garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
4 medium sweet potatoes (or yams), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
2 or 3 whole fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
1. Boil the water, pour it over the ginger tea blend, and steep for 7 to 10 minutes. Strain, discard the tea leaves, and set aside the brewed tea.
2. While the tea is steeping, heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are very soft.
3. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, salt, and white pepper to the onions, and cook for 2 more minutes.
4. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot, stirring to coat them with the spiced onion mixture. Pour in the brewed ginger tea and coconut milk, and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to a visible simmer, then stir in the kaffir lime leaves, sweet chile sauce, and soy sauce, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft and falling apart when you put a fork through them. Taste the broth, and adjust any seasoning, if necessary.
5. Carefully, and in batches if necessary, add the soup to a blender, and puree until very smooth. Put the pureed soup back on the stove over low heat, and serve.