Yam and Kale Soup with Coconut Milk and Curry

yam and kale 2

Sometimes the very best way to stay healthy in the flu season is to eat food that can repel the plague.  Spicy stews and soups are invigorating, warming, and healthy.  This particular soup is a variation on one I made years ago from either Moosewood’s Low Fat cook book, or from Vegetarian Times.  I have forgotten because it’s been so long now.  The original had some fresh Serrano chilis in it and I’m not sure what else since I couldn’t find the original.  I was feeling low this week and wanted to make a soup that could help me bounce back and not get sick.  This soup did the trick!  It is always satisfying that what I want to eat is actually in season, most of the vegetables in this soup came from my organic CSA!

Yam and Kale Soup


3 onions sliced in thin rounds and then in quarters

2 lbs yams* (sweet potatoes), cut in 1″ pieces

1 large bunch of kale chopped smallish

2 quarts stock or water

1 can coconut milk

2 Tbsp olive oil

1″ piece of fresh ginger peeled and minced

3 garlic cloves minced

1 red dried hot chili such as cayenne

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt


In a soup pot on medium heat: saute the onions in the olive oil until they caramelize.  This should take about 20 minutes.   When the onions are soft and browned and slightly sticky add the minced garlic and ginger.  Cook for a couple of minutes with the onions, stirring frequently, then add the 2 quarts of water to the pot and turn the heat up until it comes to a boil, then turn down to medium/high.  Add the yams and cover the pot.  Let the yams cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

When the yams are tender add the curry, salt, chili pepper, and the kale.  Stir well and then cover and let cook until the kale is well-cooked, about five minutes.  Now add the coconut milk and when it is completely blended into the soup it is ready.

This recipe makes approximately 8 servings.

Recipe Notes: If you are short on time you can simply saute the onions until they are transparent rather than caramelize them.  That will save almost 15 minutes off the cooking time.  I like the onions caramelized here because it compliments the spiciness and deepens the flavor of the broth.  If you want to shave even more time off of the cooking time you could cut the yams in smaller cubes which will cook faster (try doing 1/2″ cubes).  This is an easy and versatile soup to make and you can make many substitutions to please your own palate:  chard instead of kale, winter squash instead of yams, and of course if you don’t have coconut milk it is excellent without it.
*When I was growing up my mom cooked with yams a lot.  Our favorite was the “Garnet” variety.  I have always known them as yams…however, what I grew up eating weren’t true yams.  True yams are an African tuber that is very rarely available in the United States.  What I grew up eating are actually orange varieties of sweet potatoes.  This knowledge is becoming more common and now there is almost always someone who feels the need to correct me when I say “yam” instead of “sweet potato”.  So why do I still call them yams?  Because that is what most Americans (particularly in the West) know them as and it’s what I’ve called them my whole life.  I choose to continue to call them yams but if you choose to do as I do, just be prepared to have people pipe up with this information!
Soup Philosophy An article about soup making basics.

6 thoughts on “Yam and Kale Soup with Coconut Milk and Curry

  1. NM

    Sounds fantastic. But, alas, Mr. Black does not care for curry. Any thoughts on how it would taste without it?
    And while we’re on the subject of those CSA vegetables, could you post something on what to do with arugula that does not involve eating it raw (or with cheese?)

  2. stitchy1

    Nicole- I think it would taste really good without the curry if Mr. Black likes garlic and ginger. Those are the most important spices in that soup. You could add a small green chili too if you like. As to arugala…oy. I have one suggestion that I can back up with approbation: lentil soup. I made a big batch of lentil soup and added a whole CSA bag of arugala to it (chopped) and although the soup smelled strongly of arugala (ugh!) it actually had a very mild flavor. I would try something like that. If I get a chance to I’ll post my basic lentil soup recipe with suggestions for additions. But I feel certain you have your own favorite lentil soup recipe already!

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