Spiced tomato + coconut soup bowl

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I’m not really a soup person but if Heidi Swanson says jump, I say how high. They usually leave me a little unsatisfied and feel a little austere as a main course in themselves, but her inspired solution to heap everything you like or have in the fridge on top changes the game completely.

Inspired by her tomato soup, this bowl of creamy, spicy Asian-inspired goodness is already becoming a favourite recipe and I have spent the whole morning making double quantities to freeze. You can use it to poach, as a base for other sauces, or as the perfect pick-me-up to have on hand. I have no doubt that as the year evolves I will have found a multitude of uses for it.

The high fat content keeps you full for a good long while (again, not really a normal soup accolade) and the versatility of the flavours means it goes just as well with Mediterranean treats like Halloumi and oregano as Asian-inspired jasmine rice or sweet potato. As Heidi is the queen of quick and easy goodness, the recipe uses canned tomatoes, but I have subbed in roasted cherry ones for a sharper taste and to keep things fresh and as nutrient-dense as possible. Cooked tomatoes are super high in lycopene – a powerful phytochemical that can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. It is less bioavailable in raw ones, and with the disease on the rise this is a great excuse to whip this up for your men.

I have used a whole can of coconut milk here for a rich and creamy texture, but you can use less and add more water if you prefer things a little lighter. I use Biona coconut milk – it is organic, affordable and they use as little BPA as possible compared to other brands, far below the European standard. In the UK it is hard to find BPA-free cans but if you can track down Trader Joe’s and Native Forest they’re taking the lead in the US.

Enjoy.

Serves 4

Ingredients

800g cherry tomatoes

1 can organic coconut milk

2 cups short grain brown rice

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 onions, finely sliced

4 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

A little water to taste

2 slices of halloumi per person

1 ripe avocado

A bunch of fresh oregano

Sea salt and pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and roast your tomatoes until they are juicy and a little golden. Meanwhile, boil the rice in water for about 20 minutes until it is soft but with a little bite. Drain and set aside when done.

While this is going on, fry the onion in one tablespoon of the coconut oil for a couple of minutes until soft and golden, then add the curry powder, cumin and chilli and stir over a medium heat for a further two minutes. Remove from the hob and set aside.

When the tomatoes are done, place them in a blender with the onions and spices and pulse gently to liquidise, adding the coconut milk as you go. If you prefer it thinner you can add a little water here instead of the whole can.

Return the soup to the hob to warm through and season to taste. Meanwhile, gently fry the halloumi in the remaining coconut oil and slice the avocado. Place a heap of rice in each bowl, ladle the soup on top and serve with cheese, avocado, fresh oregano, salt and pepper.

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