Potluck soup

Still scrambling to put together your contribution to the family’s holiday dinner? Try this sweet, spicy, rich, and tangy dish that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser (courtesy of Ipanema Cafe’s head chef).

During the winter, like most people, I love making soup. I had these ingredients laying around my house a couple days after a potluck and decided to throw them in a pot and see what happened. Luckily it turned out pretty well. It’s sweet, spicy, rich and tangy… and it makes it on the menu at Ipanema pretty often.


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1” ginger
  • 1 dried Chile de Arbol
  • 1 piece lemongrass
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • vegetable stock
  • basil (Thai Basil is best)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Dice the yellow onion, mince the garlic, and grate the ginger, peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Cut about 3 inches off of the lemongrass using only the white section, take the back of a knife or tenderizing hammer and bruise the lemongrass (this will help get the most flavor out of the lemongrass without chopping it up. This also makes it easier to remove later).

Add the sweet potatoes, lemongrass, and chile pepper and stir. Add the two cans of coconut milk and use veggie stock to cover the potatoes the rest of the way.

Turn heat to medium-high and simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft.

Remove the lemongrass and puree using either a blender or an immersion blender (I prefer the immersion blender, less mess). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chiffonade some Thai Basil and garnish with each bowl.

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Chris Rubinstein

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  1. Recipes from Chris Rubinstein? I think I just died and went to heaven.

  2. Wow, that sounds really tasty.

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