What’s cooking today: Curried sweet potato soup

What’s cooking today: Curried sweet potato soup
Tony Jackman’s curried sweet potato soup, served in a Mervyn Gers Ceramics bowl. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

If you like a bit of heat in a hearty cold-weather soup, you’ve come to the right recipe. Kara sweet potatoes can take a whack of heat, which is leavened by the sweetness of peach chutney and warm, aromatic spices.

This recipe uses the beautiful kara (orange) sweet potatoes which have a more satisfying flavour and texture than the white variety, as well as adding that blast of orange colour which, in this recipe, I take further by adding orange juice and zest. For spice, there’s cardamom, star anise and fenugreek, with the bitter end of the spectrum coming from curry leaves, and garlic and ginger working in harmony to do their usual curry magic.


1 kg orange (Kara) sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

4 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated

10 cardamom pods

2 star anise

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 Tbsp dried curry leaves, crumbled (no stems)

2 tsp masala plus 1 heaped Tbsp

2 tsp ground turmeric (each tsp separate)

1 tsp chilli powder

8 Tbsp coconut oil (2 plus 2 plus 4)

3 Tbsp peach chutney

Juice and grated zest of 1 orange

1.5 litres vegetable stock

1 x 400 g can coconut cream

Salt and white pepper

Coriander leaves for garnish


Braise the star anise, fenugreek seeds, cardamom pods and curry leaves in 2 Tbsp coconut oil on a low heat for three minutes. If it starts to smoke, remove from the heat immediately.

Add the coconut cream and a few grindings of salt and heat through but do not let it boil. Stir in 2 tsp of masala, 1 tsp chilli powder and 1 tsp ground turmeric. Heat it through again but don’t allow it to boil. Turn off the heat and let the spices steep in the coconut cream for 15 minutes or longer. It will be returned to the soup later.

Melt 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a large heavy pot. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté gently till soft, stirring.

Add 4 Tbsp more coconut oil and the chopped sweet potatoes and carrots as well as 1 heaped Tbsp masala and 1 tsp ground turmeric and stir to coat. Add a few grindings of salt.

Cook while stirring on a moderate heat for 10 minutes.

Add 1.5 litres of hot vegetable stock and the peach chutney, stir, bring to a boil and turn it down to a moderate simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Strain the spiced coconut cream into a bowl or jug and discard the hard spices and leaves. Squeeze the lime juice through a sieve into the spiced coconut cream. Grate the orange zest into it and then squeeze the juice of the orange in through a fine sieve. Pour this into the soup pot and return it to a gentle simmer for five minutes. Blend with a hand-held blender and serve with chopped coriander leaves. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing. 


Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options