Carina Truyts


Nourishing butternut soup with sweet potato, ginger and coconut

I cashed in on the first round of winter-sickies over the weekend. Assorted painkillers, lozenges, cough syrups and some Olbas oil on my pillow were all administered to little effect.

Then yesterday I rolled out of bed, put a jersey on over my pajamas, and drove to my favourite supermarket (Balmoral, in Woodstock, Cape Town). An R8 butternut beckoned. They also had the most beautiful orange-fleshed sweet potato, and ginger was on my shopping list anyway.

It’s easy to make so didn’t take too much energy besides the chopping.

I ate my first cup-full and felt instantly better. It goes down hot and smooth, easing the achy throat, warming from the belly and reminding you what you forget when you’re sick: that there are delicious things that are simple and purely good.

Magic soup, this.



Butternut and sweet potato soup with ginger and coconut

This soup is warm, nurturing, and zingier than your usual butternut soup. The sweet potato makes it velvety, the ginger makes it healthy and the coconut makes you want to dive in. Inspired by chef Reuben Riffel’s excellent recipe.

*need a hand-blender

Serves 8 – 10

Oil for the pot

1 onion, chopped

2 cm ginger, crushed

1 big butternut, peeled and cubed (about 500 g)

1 big sweet potato, scrubbed and cubed (if you can get the orange flesh kind, it helps the colour stay a deep shade of sunset)

1 can coconut milk


Heat up a dash of oil in a large pot until hot. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes, and then add the ginger and fry until golden brown.( Actually, I also added one clove of crushed garlic this time – it was so good).

Add the butternut and sweet potato and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add enough water to just cover the veggies and cook over high heat for about 30 minutes until they are tender.

*At this point I have a careful look at the water-iness. If it looks very watery, scoop a cupful of liquid out before you blend. If the soup is too thick you can add it back in while blending. This way there is no risk of it being too thin.

Add the coconut milk and blend, adding salt to taste. (In the book I say salt and pepper, but I’ve changed my mind – pepper is a bit too brash for this soft soup).


PS. The title for this post inspired by my anthropology  thesis (on nourishment) which is what I’m supposed to be writing instead of being sick and bloggerish. I’m going to get back into that now that I’m re-fuelled, and highly recommend this soup to anyone suffering writer’s block, thesis mal-inspiration, marker’s frustration, or academic woe of any sort.



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