A simple combination of select but prepared ingredients lends this Curry Vegetable Soup an unexpected depth in no time at all.
This soup is more a recipe of convenience than a classic or traditional style, yet the particular flavor combinations mask the shallowness of preparation for a dish of surprising brightness and complexity. Of course, each ingredient can be individually selected and prepared but a simple frozen bag of mixed vegetables works surprisingly well.
The particular but specific ingredient enhancements lend a decidedly pan-Asian flavor to this dish, from the fresh ginger to the curry powder to the coconut milk. The selected commercial mix of the vegetable medley lends this soup a near-East base but the chile, coconut and curry steer the dish solidly into the Indian subcontinent.
Any combination of prepared, pre-cut frozen vegetables will work for this recipe, but some brands offer an “Asian-style” or other blend specifically for stir-fry preparations. This combination usually includes snap peas, baby corn, red bell peppers, chopped cauliflower and broccoli; if desired, add water chestnuts or sliced mushrooms to round out the vegetable variety.
Fresh cilantro lends a fresh herbal brightness, and whole cashews (preferably toasted) add a distinctive contrast of both flavor and crunchy texture. Although they enhance the other Indian-style components, toasted peanuts or pine nuts can be substituted, or they can be omitted altogether. Likewise, true dairy or almond milk can be substituted in equal parts for the coconut element, if desired.
Garnish with whole cashews, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Curry Vegetable Soup
1 lb mixed vegetables (frozen, pref. Asian/stir-fry mix)
14.5-oz can tomatoes (diced)
1 russet potato
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1-in. piece ginger (fresh)
4 c vegetable broth
15-oz can coconut milk
2 T curry powder
½ c cashews
1 Dice the onion, and peel and dice the potato. Finely dice the jalapeño, and mince the garlic and ginger.
2 In a dry pan, lightly toast the cashews. Set aside.
3 Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in a little oil until browned, about 5 min. Stir in the garlic, ginger, jalapeño and seasonings, and cook for 30 sec more.
4 Add the tomato, potato, mixed vegetables and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potato is tender, about 15-20 min.
5 Stir in the coconut milk, and bring back to a simmer.