Warming tomato and coconut soup

I’ve had some kind of bug on and off this week, and for the first time in probably years I haven’t had an appetite. Tuesday was the worst day and the only thing I could eat were soda (saltine) crackers, which got me reminiscing about being sick as a kid and dunking those crackers into that bright yellow Lipton chicken noodle soup – the one that comes in powder form in a sachet. That, and eating copious amounts of Jello. Man did I ever love that stuff!
Those times are so romanticized in my brain – when you’re a kid, if you’re sick someone stays home and takes care of you (merci Maman!), and you have no real responsibilities to speak of so you don’t just lie there incapable of doing anything but working yourself up about having to get x, y and z done!

tomato and coconut soup, vegetarian recipe

Whenever times get really busy, I start longing for a day to unapologetically do nothing but watch movies and start tv series and read and have a marvellous time… but do you know what I watched on Tuesday? Random YouTube clips. All day. I think I was too overwhelmed by the amount of choices at my finger tips and I just couldn’t commit, so instead I delved into all sorts of strangers’ lives on the internet. Anyone else do this?!

tomato and coconut soup, vegetarian recipe

This tomato and coconut soup is a very loose take on this recipe, of which I make a variation probably at least every other week at this point – often with pumpkin. Popping some rice and some legumes into a coconut-based soup takes said soup from a very light meal to filling and comforting and hearty and highly satisfying, and I just love it!
Granted, it isn’t the salty palooza of goodness that I remember the Lipton soup being. In fact, I’m 100% sure I would have turned my nose up at it as a kid. But it’s been my main source of calories (besides crackers) recently and I’m definitely getting better, so I’m thinking it has similarly magical properties.

I hope that you guys are all well and that your appetites are intact. Eat lots for me!
xx Sophie

Warming tomato and coconut soup

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 portions

Warming tomato and coconut soup

Ingredients

1 large onion, roughly diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp (70 g) tomato paste
2 cups (400 g) canned diced tomatoes
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable broth
1-2 tbsp sugar, to taste (see note)
1 3/4 cups (400 ml) full-fat coconut milk
salt to taste
Toppings
canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
cooked rice of choice (I use basmati)
Greek yoghurt
chili flakes

Instructions

1. In a soup pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato paste and allow to cook through - about 1 more minute.
3. Toss in the diced tomatoes and the vegetable stock, then bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, just to really get the flavours going.
4. Remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk, and taste. If you find the soup a bit acidic, start by adding 1 tbsp of sugar, and then adding a second tbsp if you find it necessary.*
5. Use a hand blender to blend until smooth. If you are using a standing blender, let the soup cool until it is no longer steaming at all, and then blend it in small batches to avoid any explosions!
6. Season as you please. Serve with a scoop each of rice and chickpeas, and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. Sprinkle chili flakes on top, if desired. Enjoy!
For the toasted chickpeas
1. Toast in a dry skillet (without oil) on a high heat for 3-4 minutes or until slightly dry and slightly brown. Season as desired. (I simply salted mine, but you could also use cayenne pepper or turmeric!) Note that this toasting gives the chickpeas a bit more bite, but won't necessarily make them crispy. I like to do this to give them slightly more texture and bite.
1a. If you want them crispy, toss them into just enough oil to coat, then bake in the oven on a baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

Notes

*I think this has a lot to do with the quality of the tomatoes that you buy - and I am a total cheapo on this account!

If you hate grating ginger: I find it really helpful to keep it in the freezer. It grates more easily when frozen.

I like to whip up a big batch of this soup + some rice and chickpeas, then store them separately and warm them up as needed. (I don't recommend storing the rice and chickpeas in the soup itself as they will lose some of their texture and may very well give the soup a starchier texture.)

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