image curried sweet potato soup

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Autumn means soup weather.

Last week, it rained in Israel for the first time this year, with lots of loud thunder. We Israelis pray for and love rain, because it’s so scarce, but it provokes a sort of domestic hysteria. We rake our closets for sweaters and hoodies and shake out last year’s umbrellas, too often finding them only half useful because of broken spokes. Last year’s boots look shabby – do the shoe stores have new boots out yet? And did everyone get their flu shot?

Yet today the sun shines comfortably, skies are blue again, birds are singing in the trees and our two cats are out on the porch eying the birds and thinking their feline thoughts. My herbs and flowers liked the rain, but like me, they’re only waiting for the next cloudburst.

In spite of lingering summer heat in daytime, nightfall comes early and chilly. It’s soup weather already, at least for me. The minute it rains, I crave soup. So I look through the fridge for some soup-making materials. What will I find? Neglected vegetables? Likely.

Ah. Sweet potatoes. Half a package of cilantro. A “hand” of fresh ginger root. I remember a curried soup I made several times last winter and recalled that it takes about 10 minutes to prepare. Found a can of coconut milk in the pantry – great, the soup is almost there.

Here’s some fresh ginger root I saw in the shuk last week. I truly don’t understand why it was stacked into what seems to be an ashtray, but I bought some anyway.ginger root at shuk israelAnd lovely sweet potatoes.

image sweet potatoes israel

I made the curried soup with sweet potatoes this time, but I have often made it with butternut squash,

image curried butternut squash soup


image curried carrot soup

or pumpkin; any sweet, orange vegetable.

image autumn squashes israel

You want that balance of sweet and hot and creamy. But remove the ginger before you blend the soup, unless you like it fiery.

curried sweet potato soup

I don’t peel the sweet potatoes, although I do go over them with a peeler to remove any part that looks bruised. The cilantro goes in at the last few minutes of cooking. If you dislike cilantro, basil, chives or parsley do well instead. And have you ever cooked with celery leaves? A handful of chopped celery leaves improves almost any soup.

Depending on how spicy you like your food and how hot your curry powder is, you might want to add a few flakes of cayenne to the soup while it’s cooking. The curry I’m presently using is hot enough for my taste, but if I were working with a milder version, I’d like that touch of heat. Finally, a teaspoon or two of diced fresh tomato provides texture contrast in the blended, creamy soup.

Be’te’avon – bon appetit!

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