A lot of times in cooking this is a good thing. You run out of cinnamon, scan your pantry, and decide that another spicy ingredient like chili powder would go great in those chocolate brownies. Or, you run out of lemon for your hummus and decide to use lime juice instead (so good; another post for another day).
But this accident was not one of those creative culinary breakthroughs you see on Cooking Channel where someone finds a miracle solution to pizza dough and builds a million-dollar food truck empire. This was more along the lines of, “Oh, my Lord, I have just dumped all of the soup I was supposed to bring to my food shoot on my carpet, down my purple pants and in-between my toes. And on my neighbor’s front door. Oh dear-and their door mat.”
This, by the way, was the first time I met my incredibly sweet neighbor across the hall. In an attempt to carry all of my food props, the food itself and my large purse in one trip to my car- because, heaven forbid I have to take two trips- I also tried balance my pot of soup on the steps next to her door. Instead, the pot slid forward, cascading in a slow-motion orange waterfall from my orange dutch oven down my (now-orange) lower half.
After the initial shock, squishing back into my apartment for paper towels and trying my best to sop up the thick, slightly warm mess from her surrounding steps and entryway, I knocked on her door, mustered my brightest smile and shouted a very overenthusiastic “HI! I just spilled sweet potato soup all over the entryway to your home. I AM SO SORRY!” She was, of course, incredibly gracious and wonderful and understanding. While I, on the other hand, had orange gew in my hair and was experiencing mild symptoms of a panic attack and/or emotional breakdown.
But the lovely blessing in disguise from this was the answer to the prayers I quickly uttered right after the pot of soup splattered down our hallway. In a final, last-ditch effort, I rushed back to the pot in my kitchen sink with the faint hope of any liquid left inside we could photograph. And you know what? A thin rim, silver-lined rim remained. It was a total loaves-and-fishes moment: like the miracle of feeding the five thousand (but with a tiny bowl and stage lighting).
The miracle continued as my talented friend Stephen DeVries took my offering and once again made the spread look gorgeous. I am so glad he did because, y’all, it is delicious. As a Southern girl far from the country of Thailand, I imagine it tastes like what that country would offer: spice, tons of flavor, and a sweet nuttiness from the potato and peanut butter combination. And the toasted chickpeas offer a fantastic spicy crunch to compliment the jalepeno and cilantro in the broth.
Take a Southern, Thai advenure this week- just try not to spill your luggage.
Coconut Sweet Potato Soup (This recipe was taken from the lovely blog Foodess.com)
What You Will Need
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup chopped onion (from 1 medium-large onion)
- 1 jalapeno, chopped (seeds removed)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1½” pieces
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ⅓ cup natural peanut butter
- 3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- salt, to taste
- ⅛ tsp cayenne (optional)
- 1 lime, cut in wedges (optional)
What You Will Do
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until just softened (and a bit translucent). Add jalapeno and garlic; saute for one minute. Stir in curry paste.
- Add chopped sweet potato, coconut milk and broth. Bring this mixture to a boil, then turn it back down to medium and cover. Cook until the sweet potato is very soft, about 20 minutes (I like to test mine with the back of a wooden spoon; if it gives gently when you press it, it is ready-to-go). Puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or do it in batches in a regular blender. (Does anyone out there own an immersion blender? I feel like if I had one I would be a total gourmand, much more like the Foodess, and it would save me from clumsily pouring boiling liquid into a blender. Be warned; if you pursue the blender method, do not fill the liquid up to the top of your blender! The steam will explode the top off and soup will go flying everywhere. Trust me.)
- Stir in peanut butter, cilantro, and a generous pinch of salt until combined. Stir, and adjust salt to taste. Add cayenne if additional heat is desired.
- Serve with more minced cilantro and lime wedges on the side. And chickpeas! And jasmine rice if you have some.
Toasted Chickpeas (This recipe is adapted from the wonderfully detailed Everyday Maven)
What You Will Need
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if you have coconut, it would work great here)
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon hungarian paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 to 7 turns of fresh ground black pepper
What You Will Do
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas and place them into a bowl. Add in oil and spices. Toss with a spoon until the beans are evenly coated.
- Scoop chickpeas onto a non-stick baking sheet OR a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Leave any extra liquid in the bowl (don’t pour it onto the cookie sheet).
- Roast the peas for 15 minutes. Toss them again, making sure to evenly distribute them across the cookie sheet, and roast for another 15 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then place in a bowl and serve! (Make sure that you let these completely cool before you put them in the bowl; they get mushy if you let them cool together).
Now enjoy your tasty Thai adventure!