With a Little Help from our Friend ‘Coconut Oil’
The recent article from Miss Pollyanna on the benefits of Coconut Oil got me thinking. For me coconut oil is in the same camp as my daily vitamins. If I’m being honest I can’t really make a direct link to my consumption of it and how I feel in my day to day life. But like vitamins, I believe in the good things I read and I trust what the experts say. Maybe I’m just buying into the hype, but I like doing the right thing. So as far as coconut oil goes, you can count me in.
I have cooked with both flavoured and non-flavoured coconut oil for some time, using flavoured for Thai and Indian dishes, non-flavoured for everything else. It’s great to cook with and I find that I don’t need to use as much as an equivalent, such as olive oil.
Coconut oil is pretty versatile too, I throw it in everything from smoothies and juices to slow cooks and roasties.
Just speaking about Coconut Oil makes me hungry, and being the resident healthy foodie writer, I decided to take a look at some of my recipes – and my World’s Greatest Curried Broccoli Soup is one of my ultimate favourites.
The marvel of soup making
I actually think I get more pleasure from making soup than anything else in the kitchen. Let’s face it, soup making is so forgiving. If you don’t want to open a recipe book or don’t have the exact ingredients suggested, you can always take a short cut, add a little something else or simply make it up as you go along. It’s also pretty low maintenance on the appliances front, leaving you with no more washing up than one big pan and a hand blender.
This stunning curried soup is flavoursome and filling, one of those soups you can call a meal in a bowl. The warming curry spices bring the vegetables to life and the coconut milk creates a beautiful creamy finish. It’s a doddle to make and keeps on giving you healthy heartwarming lunches for a few days on the bounce. If you can’t quite face a week of soup, use food bags to make a few 500ml portions for the freezer, then defrost them as you fancy.
It’s also the perfect soup to accompany a January health kick. Broccoli is a non-starchy vegetable, making it great for a low sugar diet. It is high in fibre, low in calories and high in protein too. It’s also a great natural aid for a happy and healthy digestive system. The sulforaphane in broccoli helps with the balance of stomach bacteria, stopping bacteria from clinging to the stomach wall. After the Christmas break, any help to restore the balance of our sensitive insides is not just a good thing, but a great thing.
Making the greatest ever curried broccoli soup
This recipe has been adapted from a Nom Nom Paleo recipe. There are some really innovative cooking ideas on the Nom Nom website, all presented in a really refreshing way.
The following ingredients will make 4 generous portions of soup:
A tablespoon of coconut oil (flavoured on non-flavoured)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 large white onion, chopped finely
3 leeks, chopped roughly
Around 500g broccoli roughly chopped including stalk
A generous tablespoon of masala curry powder (or your preferred curry powder)
Enough vegetable stock to cover the vegetables (around 750ml)
Seasoning (to taste)
150ml coconut milk
- Melt the coconut oil on a medium heat, then add the garlic, onions and shallots. Give them 4 or 5 minutes to soften down, making sure you stir and move them around the pan so they don’t stick.
- Add the leeks to the pan for another 5 minutes till they also soften.
- Season with a little salt and lots of black pepper.
- Add the broccoli, curry powder and enough stock to just about cover the vegetables. You don’t want a really runny soup so don’t overdo it with the water at this stage.
- Pop a lid on the pan, turn the heat down a little and leave the soup for about 20 minutes till the vegetables are really soft and cooked through completely.
- Leave the soup to cool for 20 minutes.
- Remove a little bit of the liquid using a jug, but don’t throw it away.
- Blitz the soup and depending on the consistency you want add back some more stock till you have a thick but smooth soup.
- Have a taste and season as much or as little as you fancy. At this stage you may also want to sprinkle in a little more curry powder depending on your taste buds.
- Finally add 150ml of coconut oil and blend once more. Drizzle a little of the remaining coconut milk on the top when serving. You can keep the rest of your coconut oil in the fridge for the other servings.
Of course, you can mix this up and make it your own too. Try butternut squash instead of broccoli, or cauliflower with the addition of some ground almonds with the coconut milk. There are thankfully very few rules with soup, so you can be as creative as your heart desires.
Enjoy, and do let us know any improvements or tweaks you make along the way.