Sweet Potato or Yam? Soup anyone?

When I was a kid, I didn’t care what you called them, and no amount of brown sugar or marshmallows was going to make me eat them. Now I love them (hold the marshmallow) but I still can’t find anyone who is not a little bit confused about what is what in the tuber section of the grocery store.¬† A little internet research reveals that everything at the store (unless you’re at an international market) is probably a sweet potato, no matter what the color of the skin or flesh, and that when the deep colored varieties were introduced in stores, they were often labeled “yams” – an African native tuber they resemble – to differentiate them from the paler varieties. Even though I now know the answer to the question, “yam or sweet potato?” I still sometimes call my favorite dark redish sweet potatoes “yams” because it is good to be able to identify one from the other, and because, well, yam just sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Dairy free sweet potato curry coup

Dairy free sweet potato curry coup

Autumn soups, like pumpkin soup also sound good to me this time of year, and I’ve found that “yams” make a wonderful, and somewhat similar soup. This take on creamy pumpkin soup – using sweet potatoes instead – integrates the warm taste of curry, the sweet creaminess of coconut milk and the juicy acid of lime for a truly satisfying taste.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup
gluten free – dairy free

2 medium red sweet potatoes (yams)
2 cups organic chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegan)
2 cloves garlic
2 tsps fresh peeled ginger
3/4 tsp madras curry powder
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 TBSP fresh squeezed lime juice (to taste)

Cut yam or sweet potato into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to a saucepan and cover with chicken broth. Peel and chop ginger and garlic and add to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until yam is very tender.

Set aside until lukewarm and pour into blender. Blend and return to saucepan. Or you can use a hand blender directly in the pot (if you have one, which I don’t, yet. Santa – please note).

Add the spices, coconut milk and lime juice. Taste and adjust. If it seems too sweet, add another squeeze of lime to bring the soup into balance. Heat until just hot, do not boil. Serve, if desired, with a dollop of whipped coconut milk  a sprinkle of chopped cashews, and a sprig of cilantro.

For a vegan version of this dish, simply use vegetable broth or stock instead of chicken.

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