Sunday, February 13, 2011

Curried Peanut Soup with Banana Topping: Unique & Warming for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Making a weekly soup, there are times when the ideas and recipes flow easily--something I saw, something I am craving, some ingredients that have been wafting around in my brain. Other times I get a little stuck and that's when I pull out my soup journal. What's a soup journal--well for me it's a notebook full of soup recipes and ideas--recipes clipped out of magazines and newspapers, a list of soups from various cookbooks that I want to try someday, and random jottings of flavor ideas that I want to turn into my own recipes. It isn't 100% soup, other food ideas get written down in there, but I still think of it as the soup journal.

This week I was stuck on what soup to make so I opened the soup journal up and looked for something a little different and something I could make with on hand ingredients, and found a notation about Molly Katzen's Curried Peanut Soup with Banana Topping from an old favorite cookbook, her "The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest." Since I had fresh ground peanut butter sitting in my fridge, new greenish bananas, and a cupboard full of spices I was pretty much good to go--except for the buttermilk, which I subbed out for coconut milk anyway to keep it non-dairy. This is an unusual soup--rich and highly seasoned but if you are at all adventurous and a lover of curry and peanut butter it is a delicious, warming change of pace.

Katzen says, "Filling and very satisfying, this soup can be the focus of a meal. Try it with the Banana Topping, even if it seems strange at first. You won't forget it. You can make the soup several days ahead.It keeps-and reheats-beautifully."

Curried Peanut Soup
Adapted from "The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest" by Mollie Katzen
(Yield: 6 to 8 Servings)
Preparation Time: About 45 minutes

1 cup good plain peanut butter
2 Tbsp honey
4 cups boiling water
1 to 2 Tbsp peanut oil
2 cups minced onion
10 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt (Use less, if peanut butter is salted)
2 to 3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne (or more or less to taste)
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (I used light coconut milk)
(I added the juice of 1/2 lemon to replace the tang of the buttermilk)

Place the peanut butter and honey in a medium-sized bowl. Add about half the boiling water, and mash with a spoon until it becomes smooth. Whisk in the remaining hot water and set aside.

Heat the oil in a soup pot or a Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, salt, and ginger. Saute over low heat for about 10 minutes, then add the spices. Continue to cook and stir for about 5 minutes longer.

Stir in the peanut butter mixture and cover. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat way down and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. (Recipe follows.)

Just before serving, heat the soup again (if necessary) and whisk in the room temperature buttermilk. Serve right away, with a small spoonful of Banana Topping in each bowl. (In addition to the bananas I sprinkled some crushed roasted peanuts on top of each bowl for a little crunch.)

Banana Topping

3 fairly green medium-sized bananas (green as in those you bought yesterday to eat 2 days from now)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp canola or peanut oil
a pinch or two of cinnamon
a dash of salt, optional

Peel the bananas and slice them at 1/4-inch intervals. Place them in a shallow dish and drizzle with lemon juice. Let stand about 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a medium-sized heavy skillet. Add the bananas, including all the lemon juice, and saute on each side for about a minute. Dust lightly with cinnamon, sprinkle with a little salt, stir gently, and remove from heat. (Don't worry if the banana slices lose their shape because they are not that visible in the soup anyway.)

If you haven't inadvertently eaten all of these delicious banana pieces straight from the skillet, add a small spoonful to each bowl of soup. If you couldn't restrain yourself and you have none left, return to Step 1 and start over.

Notes/Results: Unique and really tasty--this soup is full of spice, creamy and rich. Kind of a cross between a curry and a satay sauce, warming and with a little kick from the cayenne. The peanut butter doesn't stand out strongly--but it is there in the background, adding a nutty richness. The soup is good on its own, but Katzen is right--you really have to try it with the bananas--which are pretty addicting. I recommend making extra because you will stand and eat them out of the skillet. The bananas add a great touch of sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the savory spiced soup. (I also liked the addition of a sprinkle of chopped roasted peanuts that I added for a little crunch.) This is a good soup for a smaller bowl or cup, because it is rich and not low calorie. Still it has protein and healthy fats in it, and lots of healing spices so a worthy indulgence. A fun way to start off an exotic dinner--I will make this soup again.

We have some wonderful dishes waiting in the Souper Sunday kitchen along with some good friends too--let's go take a look.

First up, Graziana from Erbe in Cucina with Minestrone with Buck's-Horn Plantain. She says, "As you can see from my posts, I'm using often pennyroyal, curly leaf parsley, watercress and buck's-horn plantain: they're all fresh herbs that I sowed in October, and they surprised me with fresh leaves to harvest during all winter. This is my Buck's-Horn Plantain (Plantago Coronopus), it looks like grass, and it has a fresh and special flavor. It's rich in vitamin A, C and minerals. Is an excellent topping for salads and creamy soups like this minestrone (an Italian soup made with many vegetables)."

Debbi from Debbie Does Dinner... Healthy & Low Calorie made a hearty slow cooker Pumpkin Chili and says, "I pretty much think that pumpkin can be added to just about anything. I find myself cooking things with pumpkin a lot lately. It's healthy, low calorie and delicious, so why not! I love how the pumpkin thickened this chili up. You couldn't taste the pumpkin directly but it made a wonderfully tasty thick chili that I will for sure make again!"

New friend Nashira from Plateful is back this week with Tom Yum Goong--Thai Hot and Sour Noodle Soup with Shrimp. She says, "Tom yum goong soup is one of the most exquisite dishes of Thai cuisine. The broth is a myriad of texture and flavors – sour lime leaves and lemon grass, spicy ginger and chilies, and sweet seafood. My husband and I are big fans of this dish. My son too. We were enchanted after one sip of the broth, while cruising along the Chao Phraya river on our first visit to Thailand. The burst of aroma and flavor was so intense and unique, it took our breath away. The beautiful citrusy fragrance was intriguing, the wonderful aroma it leaves in the mouth and the air - heavenly."

Spencer from Live2EatEat2Live Blog tried his hand at a Ham Hock Stew. He says, "I first simmered rehydrated soy beans for several hours, added a can of cooked dry peas (found in Asian markets, posted previously), and simmered a bit more. Then added celery seeds, chili powder, diced onions, carrots, and a can of diced tomatoes. I added the ham hock last, since it was already cooked. Salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar to taste. Simmered to blend the flavors and voila, my version of ham hock stew."

Lauren from Healthy. Delicious. made a unique and delicious Garbure. She says, "Garbure is a ridiculous soup with an even more ridiculous name. It’s also one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. With a half pound of proscuitto (and a smidge of bacon fat for good measure), how could it not be? Don’t worry though, in addition to all that porky goodness there’s enough healthy stuff to land this soup solidly in the “good choices” category of eating. Which is a good thing, considering if you’re anything like me you’ll be licking your bowl clean."

Lovely Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice made a yummy and fun Mini Meatball and Ravioli Soup. She says, "Everything about this soup is mini, except the flavor! Packed with mini meatballs and bite-size cheese ravioli that are the perfect size for your soup spoon, it's brimming with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and fresh spinach. It's stick-to-your ribs, hearty, warming and filling. A soup that eats like a meal."

It's always a pleasure to have my friend Stephanie, The Happy Sorceress from Dispensing Happiness join in with a bowl of goodness. She says, "It's been a while, so here's some Chocolate Chili (a Moosewood recipe) for Deb's Souper Sunday.Tastes a lot meatier than you'd expect from a vegan recipe. Nice heat, but not searing. Hearty stuff, & perfect with tortilla chips."

Joanne from Eats Well With Others tried Michael Symon's Split Pea Soup this week and says, "Have you ever encountered a split pea soup so good that you woke up in the middle of the night and could have sworn that you heard it calling you to the fridge, practically begging you to pick up a spoon and eat it out of the Rubbermaid container? Yeah. I late night-snacked on split pea soup. Weird."

Gwen from Simply Healthy Family did a recipe makeover this week and says, "Potato Leek Soup is a pretty common soup I think. Probably because it's pretty simple to make, delicious and warming making it a true comfort food. All of the recipes I've come across are pretty similar, most call for just potatoes and leeks, stock and cream. To me, that just makes glorified mashed potatoes which is all fine and good but I wanted more of a hearty, flavourful yet healthy soup. So I made up my own version out of the usual 'starter' recipe and it was magnificent."

Umm from Taste of Pearl City is back this week with an elegant Peas and Mint Soup and says, "This is a type of soup which I like to have any time of the day, even for breakfast. The method of preparation for this soup is general English style soup but quite thinner than the normal English style soup. According to my understanding English style of soup are made with vegetables, potato, stock and cream, which is then pureed in a blender. The body of the soup is generally a thick consistency, which is perfect with a crusty bread rolls."

Janet from The Taste Space made a soup this week, as well as a sandwich shown below. First this Red Lentil, Spinach, and Lemon Soup--"Unlike many soups, this one doesn’t have much fat or salt. It was full of healthy lentils. The spinach and garlic are added at the end and cooked only a little bit, helping to preserve any good stuff inside them. I made it, ate the leftovers for days, and just made it again the other day. One good soup deserves another round, right?"

Roz of la bella vita made a colorful Grilled Salmon and Grapefruit Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette & Manchego Cheese this week and says, "Here is a nice recipe for a lighter salad for a filling meal. I used salmon filets that we had left over from the weekend. All of the other ingredients were on hand as well. I've been so intrigued by blood oranges lately and the nice thing is that they are available in some markets right now. Luckily, this recipe jumped from the pages of my Cooking Light cookbook. It is quite easy to make and packed with Vitamin C."

girlichef has two sammies to share this week. First, this salad in a sandwich--Chicken Salad with Poppyseeds and Yellow Raisins, about which she says, "...this is a fantastic meal to throw together on such days. As long as you have some cooked chicken hangin' out in the fridge, it goes together in no, it's tasty and satisfying. While my favorite way to eat it is in sandwich form...between a good homemade roll or's pretty great just scooped onto some crisp lettuce, as well."

Next, her meaty and delicious "That's Amóre Meatball Sub" which girlichef says is a big hit with her entire family and even bursts into song about "When I draw inspiration from Giada without fighting or even question that's (simply gotta be) amóre!!!!"

Janet from The Taste Space second dish this week are these healthy Jamaican Jerk Tempeh Wraps --"These wraps really are delicious. They’re not too spicy, but are full of many other bold flavours. Citrus, sour, sweet, and warm; they’re all there. The allspice and nutmeg provides the flavours associated with Jamaican jerk cooking. I would be a jerk if I said any terrible things about these wraps."

A great variety of dishes this week--a little something good for every taste. Thanks to all my friends who joined in. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Soup Sundays logo on my side bar for all of the details.

Have a wonderful week!


  1. You are right, those bananas look like a wonderful addition to the peanut soup! Thanks for another great round-up, Deb! :)

  2. Everything looks amazing...and that SOUP! I am in lust with it...the bananas and I'm loving your added crunch w/ the pnuts. Awesome choice this week =)

  3. Deb, what a superb round up wonderful soups, salads, and sandwiches. I could literally drain you curried peanut soup directly from the bowl, without a spoon, straight down my throat to my tummy in a New York second! This is a must make! Thanks for all of this work that you do in putting this round up together! Thank you for your delicious post on my get-together this week as well. Aloha! Roz

  4. Lovely collection of soups, salads and sandwich....

  5. Everything looks wonderful. I haven't had a peanut soup in an age. Yours looks and sounds delicious. It will soon be moving from your kitchen to mine :-). I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. Hey Deb, your peanut butter soup sounds intriguing!

    Thanks so much for hosting, posting and sharing all these wonderful recipes!

  7. Oh wow, Deb, I bet that is sensational. I think I would have subbed coconut milk for the buttermilk too - I like the idea of that with the curried peanut. It really intrigues me and I can't wait to try it :-)

  8. Great round-up, I love to read hearty recipes like theese every Monday!

  9. A soup journal, eh? Maybe I need to make a butternut squash and peanut butter journal. that seems fitting.

    I am in LOVE with this soup! I am so glad you subbed in coconut milk for the buttermilk...because with those spices, how could you not? Looks amazing!

  10. I love peanut butter, honey and banana on toast, but I can just imagine how it would make a beautifully rich soup!

  11. Your soup IS very unusual sounding but in a good way! I've never seen anything like it. It sounds delicious - almost dreamy, with the topping. And the round-up is full of yumminess too - I'm glad to be back in it!

  12. wow Deb, that is a very interesting and delicious looking soup. I love peanut butter in cooking. Lovely roundup.

  13. Janet--Thank you--the bananas are pretty wonderful! ;-)

    girlichef--Mahalo--it is a fun and unique soup. ;-)

    Roz--Thank you and thanks for joining in this week! ;-)

    Umm--thank you! ;-)

    Plateful--Mahalo and thank you for coming back again. ;-)

    Sue--Thanks--I love coconut milk and try to sub it in anything I can. ;-)

    Graziana--Thank you--it is always great to have you at SS. ;-)

    Joanne--And you need a sweet potato journal too! ;-)

    Foodycat--yes, it is amazing how well the ingredients translate to a bowl of soup. ;-)

    Reeni--thank you and it is always good to have you join in! ;-)

    Priya--me too! Bring on the peanut butter. ;-)

  14. That soup sounds delightful! A very different combination of flavors for me. Great round up as well.


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