I love the shocking pink colour of this soup! There is something quite magical about the way beetroots disguise their brilliantly bright, fuchsia coloured flesh behind their grubby brown skins. Beetroots are in season at the moment and this is a lovely, fragrant, summery recipe to use them in and it also has a pretty hot chilli kick too. You could eat this cold too like borscht. Be careful not to stain your clothes when preparing or eating this though!
500g fresh beetroot, scrubbed
1 tsp cumin seeds
600ml/1 pint vegetable stock
400ml (1 can) coconut milk
For the paste:
2 stalks of lemongrass, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
3 red chillis (use less here if you prefer it less spicy and remove the seeds)
5cm/1 inch piece of fresh root ginger
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 lime, juice only
Pinch of sea salt
Finely chopped fresh mint, coriander leaves and grated shavings of cucumber
- Place the beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender for about 45 minutes. Once they are cooked, drain and leave to cool.
- Once the beets are cool enough to handle, top and tail, peel off the skins and chop into pieces.
- Put the paste ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth (the smoother the paste, the nicer the soup).
- Gently fry the shallots and cumin seeds in a little oil in a pan, then add half the paste and cook for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat to release the fragrance.
- Add half the beetroot pieces to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the stock mixture, coconut milk, the rest of the paste and remaining beetroot pieces into a blender and blend until smooth. It will be bright pink. Check the seasoning and adjust if required. The soup should still be hot enough to serve straight away but if necessary, reheat gently back in the pan for a minute or so.
- Serve the soup with the mint, coriander and cucumber garnish. Add on a dollop of creme fraiche on the top for some cool amongst the chilli if you desire.