I have been struggling for days with the name of this recipe. It’s kind of a curry, kind of a stew, but it has Asian influences, and also some South American vibes. After hours of Googling “stew vs soup vs chowder”, I think “chowder” is the proper term. It seems that a chowder is “characterized by a thick consistency with the addition of chunky seafood, potatoes or other vegetables and often thickened with cream.” And that’s exactly what we’re doing here.
Forget what we call it; the important thing is that it has some really satisfying flavors. There’s a base of red Thai curry paste, some vegetable broth with stewed sweet potatoes and tomatoes, lots of savory bits from the white beans, brightness from the ginger and fresh greens, and it’s all infused with a little cashew cream to add richness at the end.
This rustic curry / stew / soup / chowder is the perfect way to kick off fall. Fall. You know, the season where the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to fall… or if you live in California, the season where the leaves burn into oblivion and rain down as a shower of ash amid orange skies and 120º temperatures. It’s a beautiful time of year…
Makes: 3-4 entree servings
- 1 small red onion
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 1 15 oz can white beans
- Salt, to taste
- 3 cups diced orange sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 3 cups chopped kale
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 6 oz fresh water
Begin by dicing a red onion and adding it to a large skillet with a splash of water. Allow the onions to simmer and soften for 2-3 minutes. Then, add in the curry paste directly onto the onions and simmer for another 2-3 minutes so that the onion can absorb the flavors.
Note: This Thai Kitchen brand of curry paste is great, unprocessed, and widely available. It’s vegan in the US but readers in Europe mentioned that their version has fish sauce so double check!
Add in the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, corn, and (drained) white beans. Bring them back up to a simmer. Meanwhile, dice the sweet potato into fairly small chunks of 1/2 inch or smaller and add them into the pan as well (no need to peel, the skins have tons of nutrients).
Feel free to add a dash of sea salt as well, depending on your preference and how much sodium was already in the broth or other canned goods.
Have some patience. Allow all of this to simmer over medium heat for at least 45-60 minutes (covered, preferably) until the sweet potatoes are fully soft. You can take a break here before coming back once the potatoes are soft to prep the final steps.
In a powerful blender, blend the raw cashews and water into a smooth cream and drizzle most of it into the stew once the potatoes are soft, reserving a bit for garnish. Also at this point, add in a bunch of chopped kale (don’t be shy, it will cook down to practically nothing) and a grating of fresh ginger to boost the brightness at the end.
Let that simmer for 5+ minutes for the cashew cream to thicken and the greens to wither. Then make some final adjustments – give it a taste and feel free to add more salt or even more curry paste if the flavors aren’t popping. If you feel the dish is too watery, use a large spoon to mash some of the beans, releasing starch that will thicken it.
Serve in bowls with a garnish of cashew cream and chopped parsley.