My friends recently hosted an international-themed potluck. Everyone brought a dish from another country. A real melange of flavours.
While most of my cooking comes from an international menu, I used this opportunity to try a cuisine I knew next to nothing about: Indonesia. While I have cooked with tempeh, fermented tofu originating from Indonesia, I didn’t really know much else.
While browsing through Love Soup, I spotted this curious soup: it featured a host of vegetables including carrots, parsnips and yams (yes, I had a monster yam that weighed 900g and even another that weighed 1100g!), flavoured with earthy tones from cumin and garam masala, spiced with garlic, ginger and chili flakes, lightened with sourness from both tamarind and fresh lemon juice, and coming together with a hint of lusciousness from the peanut butter. My mouth is watering as I write this…
At first, I wasn’t sure how this would be a spicy soup: I substituted garam masala for the curry powder and was only using a small amount of chili flakes for such a large amount of soup. Have no fear, this is a zingy soup with all the right amount of zing. The culprit? The savior? Half a cup of grated ginger, tempered by the peanut butter. Boo-yah! Joanne pointed out I was on a ginger kick, and yes, I am loving it!
This soup has a great mix of flavours – warm yet spicy, creamy yet light, zingy and sour. Soups get the shaft in the summer, but I think they are great any time. Share this with friends, because it makes a lot of soup. It also freezes well.
Spicy Indonesian Yam and Peanut Soup
900g yams or sweet potatoes, cut in 1″ chunks (1 large yam, 5-6 cups)
300g parsnips, cut in 1″ chunks (2 cups)
350g carrots, cut in 1″ chunks (2 cups)
1 tsp salt
140g ginger, grated (1/2 cup)
30g cilantro, chopped (1/2 cup)
500g onions, chopped (2 large)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, to taste
70g tamarind pulp, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for 30 minutes, massaged well then strained through a fine mesh strainer (or 1 tbsp tamarind paste)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1. Place in pot yams, parsnips, carrots, 1 tsp salt, ginger and cilantro plus 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
2. Meanwhile, saute onions in olive oil over medium for 10 minutes, add garlic and a pinch of salt and continue cooking 15 more minutes, until onions are soft and golden brown. Add garam masala and cumin and stir for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with 1.5 cups water (or broth), then add to the soup.
3. Stir in tamarind paste, peanut butter, Aleppo chili flakes, and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Blend in blender or with immersion blender.
4. Keep adding broth to get a creamy soup-like texture. Should be like a custard sauce. Can garnish with cilantro, peanuts and harissa.