I love a good curry. Not the sissy stuff Capetonians generally try to pass off as curry (sorry!). I mean Durban-style – a curry with ‘tude that burns you just by looking at it. It has to hurt and it absolutely has to come with a truckload of interesting side bits – raita, sambal, chutney, achar, poppadoms, Mrs Ball’s chutney… I can make a whole meal just of the side dishes. In fact, I have.
So when I decided a curried sweet potato soup sounds like a plan, my mind naturally turned to the toppings. This soup is velvety smooth, so I figured a bit of crunch contrast is not a bad idea. I grabbed some poppadoms and sliced them into thin ribbons. (If you want to be fancy and pretentious, I guess you could get cute and call it poppadom tagliatelle.) Add some fresh limes, coconut shavings, and fresh coriander and it’s topping heaven.
All you need is…
For the soup
1 medium onion (about 1 cup), finely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil or coconut oil (my new fave)
1 tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tsp all-purpose curry paste (I used Packo curry paste which I found at Checkers. How much you use depends on how much heat you like.)
800g peeled, diced orange sweet potatoes
3 cups boiling water
1 cube chicken stock
4 tbs coconut milk
juice of one small lime
black pepper and salt to taste
6 poppadoms, cut into 4mm-wide strips
vegetable oil for deep frying
fresh coconut shavings
Fry the onion in the vegetable or coconut oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and curry paste and fry for two minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, water and stock cube. Cover, lower the heat and boil for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through and soft. Remove from the heat and liquidise with a stick blender or in a liquidiser. Check consistency, if it’s too thick at this stage, add some more water. Stir in the coconut milk and set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan (you need at least 2cm oil) and drop the poppadom strips into the hot oil a few at a time. These will cook pretty much instantly – in 2-3 seconds (I kid you not). Lift and drain on kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil. As they cool they will crisp up beautifully.
Heat the soup through and stir in the juice of one lime. Taste and add salt (if needed) and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with the poppadom ribbons, lime wedges for guests to add an extra bit of zing to their soup (it really transforms it), coconut shavings and coriander.