This fragrant sweet potato and red pepper soup is the best way to beat the winter blues! Your body will thank you for the immunity boost and the addition of the red chilies will warm you right up.
2 red birds-eye chilies
2 medium red onions (diced)
1 medium sweet potato
3 red peppers
1 knob of ginger (peeled and chopped)
3 or 4 good-sized garlic cloves (crushed)
1 bunch of coriander (stalks and tops)
1 can organic coconut milk
1.5 pints water (+ 1 can)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large stockpot
1 sheet of greaseproof paper
First off, cook the sweet potato and red peppers:
Preheat oven to 180C (fan)/200C (conventional).
Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork. Bake on greaseproof paper along with the three whole red peppers until they are soft (around 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size). I didn’t use any oil or seasoning when baking.
The peppers will be ready slightly earlier, so keep an eye on those and remove them once the skin is a bit shriveled and they are slightly blistered.
TIP: It is a good idea to use greaseproof paper when baking the red peppers as foil can transfer a metallic flavor.
In the meantime, roughly dice the two red onions and heat a little olive oil in a large pan. The pan needs to be large enough to hold the entire volume of soup. Soften the onions in the pan for a few minutes before adding the crushed garlic and the chopped ginger.
TIP: Ginger is easiest to peel using a teaspoon. This quickly removes the skin and gets into all the awkward crevices.
Reduce the heat and add around a half pint of water to the mixture. Then add the chilies – I just snip them directly into the pot, using kitchen scissors.
Remove the potato and peppers from the oven and allow them to cool slightly.
You should find that the peel comes away from the sweet potato very easily now. Add the sweet potato into the pot and then break it up with a wooden spoon.
It will be quite mushy, like mashed potato, and will almost dissolve into the other ingredients.
Work carefully with the red peppers. Wait until they have cooled down a bit. They will be filled with hot liquid that, ideally, we want to add to the soup for extra flavor. Carefully hold the pepper in one hand and use kitchen scissors (or a knife) to snip around the top of the pepper stalk. Then hold the stalk to pull it and the attached seeds out. A few seeds will probably remain inside, don’t fuss too much, and just remove what you can.
Add the pepper, including the liquid, to the pot. Repeat this process with the other two peppers.
With the coriander – line up the stalks so they are all facing the same way and then chop them finely. Add these and a few of the leaves to the soup pot, reserving the remaining leaves to use later as a garnish.
Add another pint of water to the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for around 10 minutes, just to harmonize the ingredients.
Empty the can of coconut milk into the soup pot. You won’t get everything out, so after emptying as much as you can, fill the can with warm water and add to the pot.
Remove the pan from the heat and, using a handheld stick blender, blend the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with the reserved coriander leaves.
This sweet potato soup is full of really healthy ingredients that will give your immune system a wintertime boost.
Sweet potatoes contain antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage and chronic disease. They also are high in fiber, which is great for keeping your gut healthy. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and anthocyanins, antioxidants that may help prevent vision loss and improve eye health. Beta carotene can be converted to vitamin A by the body and this helps support your immune system.
Red peppers are very high in vitamin C. As well as being a powerful antioxidant, it also helps with the absorption of iron. Combining a few red peppers with an iron source is a wonderful way of boosting iron if you have an iron deficiency.
They are also high in vitamin B6 and folate, which can protect against anemia. An added benefit is that they contain high levels of lycopene (this is what gives them their red color).
Lycopene is linked to the prevention of certain cancers.
Ginger contains gingerol, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It has been linked to pain relief, improved brain function, and reduced oxidative stress. It can be beneficial in relieving arthritic pain, in particular in the knee joint. Ginger also has the ability to lower blood sugar levels.
Chilies contain capsaicin, which has been linked with weight loss through the reduction of appetite.
Red onions contain quercetin, which fights inflammation and boosts the immune system. They have also been linked with improved bone density.
Keen to try this wonderful, warming, nutritious sweet potato soup? Tag us on Instagram if you do!