Last week, I had the unexpected opportunity to experience a few firsts. For starters, my wife and I went to a local Indian restaurant, and were happily impressed and will definitely be back. Second, for the first time since I have known my wife, I got to witness her eating spicy food that was actually too hot, which was probably more enjoyable for me than for her.
And it was the first time I had ever had Indian Coconut Soup. Wow, I could have eaten that all night, but I’m glad I didn’t, because I sure enjoyed my “main dish” as well. But it was the coconut soup that kept calling my name, so I wanted to see if I could make a passable version for home use.
Food For Thought
It turns out that making Indian Coconut Soup at home is pretty easy, especially if you have a Vitamix or some other high powered blender at home. You can certainly make this recipe without a blender, on the stovetop, but I prefer to use my Vitamix whenever the opportunity arises. After digging around online for a bit, I was able to find a few recipes that would work for me with a little tweaking on my part, to get the quantities and ingredients to my liking.
Most of the recipes that I found used either butter or ghee to toast the coconut with. Which is great, especially when using butter from grass fed pastured cows. But why not coconut oil? I figured it might just add to the overall coconutiness of the soup, so why not give it a try? But I wouldn’t worry about using one over the other, unless you are trying to avoid dairy and consequently butter was unacceptable.
Another concern for anyone looking to avoid dairy is the number of recipes that I found using milk a portion of the base. Especially the recipes calling for any kind of low fat milk, yuck! Besides the health concerns of consuming low fat dairy, why even bother making coconut soup, and then try to turn around and make it low fat? Coconuts are fatty, but a good fat, so go with it, and make a full fat soup.
So I dumped the low fat milk I saw in a few recipes, and tried this recipe both with a little whole milk, and then entirely with coconut milk. After tasting them both, I can’t really come up with any reasons for including the milk in the list of ingredients, so I didn’t. Reading a few articles about the health benefits of coconut milk only served to reinforce my decision to up the amount of coconut milk in the recipe and drop out dairy milk altogether.
I’m not very worried about my health when it comes to the rest of the ingredients, such as the spices and honey. I would prefer organic when possible or reasonable when buying spices, but that’s not a deal stopper. Same is true with honey, I always try to find some local sourced honey when possible, but as long as I get the real deal and not some fake honey from an importer, I feel like I am ahead of the game.
The last ingredient I included was pistachio nuts. I saw many recipes with, and without, but I chose to include them when making my soup. One thing that I like about pistachios, besides being a real food that can be found growing on real trees, is that they are one of the few nuts that are commonly roasted without using Canola oil or some other nasty seed oil.
If you choose to add pistachios, you can blend them up with the soup, which might thicken the soup just a bit, but you won’t have the contrasting chunks of nuts with your soup that some people find so enjoyable. You can always opt to garnish your soup at the end with some crushed pistachios instead of including them in your blender.
And now that I have a base coconut soup, that takes only about 15 minutes to make, I can start adding in a few other ingredients, like curry paste, shrimp or chicken, when I want a new twist on a an old favorite.
2 tablespoons coconut oil, butter or ghee
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 can coconut milk (1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons pistachio nuts (optional)
- Melt coconut oil in pan on stove over medium heat
- Add coconut and lightly toast to a light brown color
- Add the remaining ingredients to your Vitamix, holding back the pistachios and shredded coconut
- Set Vitamix to “Soup” function and run, or set to high and blend for two minutes until soup is frothy and hot
- Add shredded coconut to Coconut Soup and set Vitamix to medium and blend until thoroughly combined, about 15 or 20 seconds
- You can add the pistachios one of two ways… Add to Vitamix and blend on medium until thoroughly combined, or crush by hand and add to top of soup as a garnish.