Polynesian peanut soup with toasted coconut

Vegetarian matzo ball soup

Makes 4 cups – 4 to 6 servings

This unusual, distinctive rich and creamy soup was inspired by a favorite peanut sauce. A friend shared the recipe with me over lunch on a South Pacific cruise. Just making it conjures up fond memories of a sunny deck, sensuous breezes, and the bright blue sea.

¼ cup packaged sweetened flaked coconut

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

¼ cup finely chopped fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

One 14-ounce can “lite” coconut milk

¾ vegetable or chicken stock, or as needed

¾ cup smooth natural peanut butter

¼ cup mango chutney

1 tablespoon minced jalapeño chili, or to taste

Salt to taste ¼ cup finely chopped green onions (green parts only)

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

Asian sesame oil for garnish

Toast the coconut in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and ginger are very tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the onion mixture to a blender. Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, peanut butter, chutney, and jalapeño; puree until smooth. (It may be necessary to add more vegetable stock if the peanut butter is very thick.)

Transfer the soup to the Dutch oven and stir occasionally over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, toss together the coconut, scallions and cilantro. Drizzle each serving with sesame oil and top with a mound of the coconut mixture.

Advance preparation

Refrigerate this soup and the toasted coconut in separate covered containers for up to 3 days. When reheating the soup, stir in water to thin as desired.