January 19, 2011

Red Curry Soup with Rice & Purple Kale

by IsaChandra

Serves 8

Active time: 15 minutes || Total time: 40 minutes

For this recipe, I went into kitchen and stared at the kale for like a half hour. What would you like me to do with you, kale? Guide me, oh ruffly one! When that failed, I threw it into a soup.

The results were a grab-bag of texture! The kale is rugged and chewy, the rice is fluffed up and soaked through with flavor, and the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy, just the perfect sweet bite. All of this in a creamy, coconut base bursting with all of those sensuous red curry flavors. The gingery aroma will waft through your entire mansion! So stop spending money on scented candles, soup is the best aromatherapy.

Notes: Since curry pastes vary from brand to brand, start with 2 tablespoons and add more from there. I didn’t make this very spicy but I definitely serve it with plenty of Sriracha. If you would like to use brown rice, that’s fine! Just let it boil for 20 minutes more before adding the sweet potatoes and kale.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 cups basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons red curry paste
1 bunch purple kale, pulled from stems and torn into bite size pieces
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 can lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon agave syrup
Juice of one lime

Optional: fresh chopped cilantro to garnish

Preheat a 4 quart soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes or so, until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and saute a minute more.

Add rice, vegetable broth and salt, cover pot and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, lower heat to simmer. Mix in 2 tablespoons curry paste. Add kale and sweet potatoes. Cover pot and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.

Add coconut milk, agave and lime. Taste for salt and flavor. Add more curry paste if you like.

Remove from heat and serve immediately, or even better let it sit for 10 minutes to give the flavors a chance to meld. Top with fresh chopped cilantro if you like.

  • January 19, 2011 at 2:39 am: Laura

    This looks absolutely fantastic. I’ll certainly be trying it.

  • January 19, 2011 at 3:10 am: Kierstan

    That looks amazing! Will be on next week’s meal plan for sure!

  • January 19, 2011 at 3:16 am: Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    The colour of this is just gorgeous!! How would you adjust the cooking time if brown rice is subbed for jasmine?

    • January 19, 2011 at 3:33 am: IsaChandra

      I actually wrote that in the headnotes! 20 minutes more of boiling before adding the kale and sweet potatoes.

  • January 19, 2011 at 4:19 am: Miss Lynx

    That looks wonderful! And if you added some tofu, it could be a one-pot meal!

  • January 19, 2011 at 4:56 am: Kristy

    I have some rainbow chard, could i substitute? Do you think the flavor would change?

    • January 19, 2011 at 6:02 am: IsaChandra

      That would be great! Just slice the stems thinly.

  • January 19, 2011 at 5:51 am: Van Chick

    yay! This iooks AWESOME!!!!!!

  • January 19, 2011 at 6:15 am: chefJOSEPH

    Really like this simple recipe. I enjoy kale in soups and curry with coconut milk is usually delicious.

  • January 19, 2011 at 11:08 am: Eloise

    Looks incredible, and easy enough to satisfy any curry-craving I have despite living on an island VOID of all things spicy…

  • January 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm: Mipa

    wow, i made thai red curry for lunch today, and then I see this! We’re on the same wavelength~ I’m gonna try your recipe next time. :) The picture looks amazing.

  • January 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm: Ms. V

    I will try replace the kale with rapini…tonight’s dinner, thanks!

  • January 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm: Jake Tobin Garrett

    This might be a silly question, but when you say one can of coconut milk how many ounces are we talking here?

    • January 20, 2011 at 12:03 am: IsaChandra

      14 to 16 oz.

  • January 20, 2011 at 12:59 am: Claire

    Just made your quinoa, white bean and kale recipe tonight. 1) It was delicious, 2) it gave me enough leftovers to last a week, and 3) I can’t wait to try this next take on kale! Your low-fat section rocks, thanks for providing so many recipes that are healthy and STILL bursting with flavor.

    Also noteworthy? The pumpkin oatmeal cookies. They were a big hit, even with my non-vegan family!

  • January 20, 2011 at 2:41 am: Kayla

    Made this for dinner tonight. Pretty delicious. My first time using curry paste, and I added about 4 tablespoons. I like spicy! It turned out well.

  • January 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm: Stephanie

    I made this for dinner tonight. Man oh Man was it fantastic! Thank you for the recipe!

  • January 21, 2011 at 12:58 am: Amy

    i was just staring at my kale today, wondering what to do with it! since I have all the ingredients thanks to today’s Farm Fresh Delivery, I think this will be lunch tomorrow. thanks as always, Isa. Just love u!

  • January 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm: amanda

    Made this for lunch. It’s super awesome! Thanks. Kale rules the world, ya know.

  • January 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm: Celia

    That looks beautiful and tasty!

  • January 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm: Adrienne O.

    I made this for dinner tonight, and my boyfriend and I were totally blown away. OMG, It’s SO freaking good, and so easy to make! I was a little worried since I’m not crazy about coconut milk and I honestly hate sweet potato (it was always the only thing I could eat at Thanksgiving, I probably got sick of them), but they are both delicious in this! I used regular green kale instead of the purple kind and since agave nectar is a pain to get where I live, I used maple syrup instead. The maple flavour wasn’t even noticeable, so it worked out great! I’ll definitely be making this again!

  • January 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm: Sneaky Vegan

    This looks divine!!! We just got back from Thailand and are obsessed with al things curried. Can’t wait to try it!

  • January 22, 2011 at 6:30 am: Van Chick

    Made it tonite and it was fabulous! Did you use yam or sweet potato? Recipe says potato but the pic looks like yam…

    Anyway, great work Isa, thanks so much for sharing…YUM!


  • January 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm: Crissie

    This soup is RIDICULOUSLY amazing! I made it for lunch today, and just finished my second bowl. I made it exactly per the recipe, and I can’t wait to be hungry again so I can eat some more.

  • January 24, 2011 at 7:25 am: katy

    made it for dinner tonight. this is an awesomely simple way to get my family to eat kale and sweet potatoes. thanks again Isa!

  • January 25, 2011 at 12:44 am: Charissa

    I have been trying out different recipes from your page and so far everything has turned out great. I took the Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones into work today and everyone loved them. I am excited to try this soup. My boyfriend and I love red curry!

  • January 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm: Vegan Pimp

    This looks really yummy. I love that the most difficult thing seems to be sauteing onions. I think we all can do that. The rest is a breeze. Can’t wait to make this. I’m curious though, sometimes cooking with rice is tricky. I make big veggie soups and once I put the rice in too early or let it cook too long and it became mushy. I guess if I follow the recipe here it should work out fine…this is my problem sometimes. Getting a bit too creative! :)

    • January 26, 2011 at 12:39 am: IsaChandra

      This is timed pretty accurately so that the rice is not mushy!

  • February 2, 2011 at 12:21 am: Jody

    I really just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you! I recently bought Appetite for Reduction and LOVE each and every recipe I have made, so far. And there are so many more I want to make. Then I came here just to peruse and found this recipe, which I whipped up in no time (I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand!). It is so yummy, warm, and perfect. I am a rock star in our house, thanks to you!

  • February 4, 2011 at 3:04 am: Layla

    Oh wow! So good! Used water instead of broth, added broccoli and red bell pepper and used just a half a can of lite coconut milk, so amazingly delicious.

  • February 6, 2011 at 3:55 am: Nona

    This was Dlish!! I didn’t have the greens so I followed the recipe and added red peppers with the sweet potato chunks, and frozen peas about five minutes before it was done. I also used brown rice and let it cook in the broth for 15 min before adding the veggies, as suggested. The flavoring was so good. The textures with the brown rice made it very hearty. Even my carnivore husband and finicky teenage son had to admit it was tasty. My husband complained about the lack of meat until he had his first bowl; nothing but praise en route to second helping. This will be a winter favorite. Thanks so much!!

  • February 15, 2011 at 2:32 am: Erica

    i just made this with tofu, and it turned out fantastic!

  • March 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm: vita

    isa, are ALL red curry pastes HOT? do you know a brand that is not hot?

  • March 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm: Bateman F.

    Hi Isa! Your recipes actually make me want to cook! I LOVE red curry! After trying it the first time, I wanted to make it myself so I could have it all the time. Unfortunately, isn’t there always shrimp paste or fish sauce in these pre-made store bought brands of red curry? And if it’s not listed explicitly, it’s probably hidden under “seasonings/natural flavor”. Do you know of any brands that 100% don’t have this shit in their product? I’ve been without red curry for some time now, and i’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms!

    • March 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm: IsaChandra

      Yes, I should have mentioned that! Thai Kitchen is vegan and very common. My favorite is Thai & True brand but I think it may only exist in the Pacific Northwest. I have seen others that are vegan, though, so just keep an eye out.

  • March 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm: Patrici

    I swear EVERY single recipe of Isa’s that I try is phenominal! This one definalty does not dissapoint! Even my husband (huge meat eater) loved it and asked if he could take the leftovers to work. I used wild rice, and had to cook it for quite awhile, I would say about 30 mins longer, but it is just sensational. Thank you Isa so much!

  • April 16, 2011 at 2:04 am: Spencer

    This is so good. So good. I’m fantasizing wildly about the leftovers I am going to have tomorrow.

  • May 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm: Amanda

    I made this last night and it was amazing. A perfect blend of spices and sweetness, I plan to use this mix again for more soups or sauces. This recipe was made using ingredients I always have on hand, so I’m sure I’ll be eating this soup again and again. Thanks!

  • June 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm: Chelle

    This soup is so delicious. I made this last night for my husband and three boys (ages 8–13). They all loved it. It was quick and easy to make and I am sure I’ll be making it on a regular basis. I can’t wait to have that one left-over bowl for lunch today!

  • July 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm: Lesley

    Absolutely loved the soup! I used quinoa instead of rice and threw in a can of chickpeas for extra protein.

  • August 1, 2011 at 1:40 am: Pretty. Good. Food.

    I can’t wait to give this a try! Sounds great :)

  • October 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm: Rachel

    I made a double-recipe last night so I could share with our neighbors. My husband, our neighbors (a married couple), and I all LOVED it! The spice was just right for me, but my hubs wanted more.
    I’m eating it for lunch now (I threw in some chickpeas I needed to use up), and it’s still just as good. This is going into my rotation!

  • October 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm: Bostoncardiovet

    Here’s my two cents about the whole thing.  First off,  could not find “purple kale”.  I asked the produce guy at wholefoods and he said he did not know of purple kale, but that they had red kale.  I’m sure they are the same as the stalk of the red kale definitely looks pruple.  I really like the qualities the kale added and next time I might add just a bit more as the prominence of the kale was really diminished once it was all cooked.  I added the amount of rice it called for (3/4 cup), but then looked at it and thought that it didn’t look like enough, so I added probably another half cup total.  Way to much in my opinion, it kind of turned into a gumbo like consistency instead of soup.  Still yummy, but too thick I think.  Next time I’ll be sure to add just the amount of rice it called for and no more.  The recipe called for white rice, but did say you could substitute brown rice.  I decided to use brown rice instead.  It took about 20 minutes longer to cook.  For the red curry paste, I think I might experiment with other types of curry paste next time, but I used “Thai Kitchen” Red Curry Paste. I added 2 tbsp to start, but just continued to add to taste.  I did not add the agave, as I found it was PLENTY sweet with just the lite coconut milk.  2/3 of the three kids liked it, which is a huge and pleasant surprise to me.  I really like the recipe and will definitely make it again!  Thanks for the AWESOME recipe!

  • November 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm: Robyn

    Another perfect recipe! I am never let down by you!

    This is one of the easiest, tastiest recipes I have made in a long time. I made it exactly as suggested (with brown rice) and can’t think of a single thing I would change. It took no time to make. In fact, it left me enough time to also bake your pumpkin bread recipe today too which was also a hit with the household!

    Thanks for being so inspiring! I always love perusing my collection of your cookbooks and this site.

  • November 27, 2011 at 4:04 am: Jessie

    Hubby made this tonight to “help out”. He got the broth ratio off when adding water to the concentrate. We used pearl barley which worked really nicely, though I can’t wait to make this again myself to experience the less salty true flavor of this soup. :)

  • December 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm: Ashytim

    This recipe is the bomb. ;] I have made it several times, and am looking forward to having it for dinner tonight!

  • December 23, 2011 at 3:01 am: Linda Etter

    Fantastic! I doubled the kale because I’m trying trying to add more veggies to my diet. Very satisfying!

  • January 18, 2012 at 2:27 am: Hannah

    oooooooohm’gosh so good!! I used bamboo shoots, straw mushrooms and tiny peas instead of kale and sweet potatoes. I ate the whole pot in about one day.

  • January 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm: Rebz

    Has anyone tried freezing this soup? I want to make & bring it to a National Soup Swap Day party this weekend but it needs to be frozen for the swap.

  • February 24, 2012 at 1:53 am: Lisa

    YUM! Soooo good, I used chard and the juice of two limes. Oh yeah, tangy and delicious! Next time I might double the greens and cut down the rice a bit.

  • February 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm: Rebecca

    I made this with brown rice. For the vegetables, in addition to the sweet potato, I used chard, bamboo shoots, and a yellow pepper. I also cubed and fried two containers of tofu, and threw that in at the very end with the coconut milk. Since I was throwing so much extra stuff in, I upped my rice to one cup, and added an extra cup of vegetable broth. I ended up using about 4 tablespoons of Thai Kitchen red curry paste. This soup is thick (the way I like it) and delicious. (And, I have enough to last me about 10 more meals!! I freeze individual servings, so the deliciousness will prevail for quite a while!)

  • February 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm: Rebecca

    (Oh, and, I forgot to add the lime juice or agave. It’s still delicious.)

  • April 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm: rose

    i have made this four times in the past two weeks. it is that good.

  • July 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm: Siri Chand

    So appreciate the mix of deeply nourishing vegetables! Thanks for your beautiful web site!

  • October 29, 2012 at 12:58 am: Jill

    Just made this as we wait for Hurricane Sandy to maybe attack tomorrow, or the next day, or…. Delicious comfort food. One addition is sliced almonds as a garnish for a nice crunch. My husband says I’m a good cook, I say I’m a good recipe chooser and follow directions really well. Thanks Isa for making me look good.

  • November 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm: Gwen

    I have some broccoli greens from my farm share box. Would that work in place of the kale or will the flavor be off?

  • December 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm: Erica

    My roommate made this recipe a few weeks back and I CANNOT believe how awesome it tasted. She made a huge vat, and I seriously wanted to eat the whole thing. Will be making it myself in the near future.

  • January 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm: LGJ

    Folks, this is delicious! I’ve made it many times now.
    Be certain not to overcook once you add rice and potatoes. I did that once, and the rice absorbed a lot of water and created mush. Bummer.

  • January 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm: Jess

    This is so so so good that I can’t even stand it! I made a vat of it and it won’t serve 8. It’ll serve 1 – ME.

  • January 15, 2013 at 12:58 am: kspar66

    Best soup of my lyyyyyyyfe!!

  • February 10, 2013 at 8:32 am: Julia

    I added jalapeño to garlic and ginger. I also added tumeric and coriander to the onions. Also added a can of chickpeas. Awesome awesome meal. I made the brown rice separately and added it later while everything was simmering. Thank you, Isa!!

  • March 5, 2013 at 1:01 am: Leah

    As everyone else said, this soup is delicious! I made it tonight for my boyfriend who is sick, and it hit the spot for both of us. I used brown rice which added depth and a perfect texture. We had some local sweet potatoes and purple kale luckily. I didn’t think I liked sweet potatoes either until I made this. Thank you so much! It was a delicious, hearty, healthy, nutrient packed meal. Plus, soups are my favorite!

  • March 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm: Pattyb

    Just made this and loved it!!!! What a treat for the senses, the bright orange and dark green colors, the fabulous comforting aroma, and the ginger-coconut, curry flavors-YUM!

  • September 1, 2013 at 5:43 am: DeeShantel

    I just made this a few hours ago…I didn’t have kale and jasmine rice so I subbed with baby spinach and brown rice, and it was amazing! Thanks for sharing such an awesome soup recipe! =)

  • November 5, 2013 at 2:09 am: Joanna

    De-lish! Super super yummy. I hate straying from the original recipes, since they are always fantastic as is, but all I had was green curry paste and green kale. I added chickpeas and I can’t wait for this review to be done so I can go get another bowl.

  • January 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm: Becca

    We had this for dinner the other night (from the “Isa Does It!” cookbook.. of the gods) and it was nothing short of incredible. One of my favorite non-chocolate things to ever come out of my kitchen. Thank you, Isa!

  • March 27, 2014 at 3:38 pm: Dmay

    Very, very good. Only thing I did differently was used some pre- cooked brown rice I had on hand and pre- baked sweet potatoes. This is not only a tasty soup, but it is very pretty too! Leftovers were also delicious.

  • April 9, 2014 at 10:36 am: Louise

    Yum diddly. Had about half of the required rice of the brown type in the fridge, chucking it in at the end with the cooked basmati rice. The texture combo was magnificent – the white rice had nearly melted & thickened up the soup, the brown rice provided a fab chewy texture.
    Used faux chicken stock, plus carrots to supplement our small quantity of sweet potato. This is our favourite, go-to-kale dish. Can’t believe we haven’t made it for nearly a year it was SO GOOD!

  • December 18, 2014 at 2:06 am: Leah

    Love this soup!!! Have made it many times and it never fails to please the taste buds and the soup-lovers soul

  • November 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm: Lisa JH

    This soup is one of the ways I get my spouse to eat sweet potatoes, which he claims not to like. The soup is just plain good. We like lots of spice and flavor so I am heavy handed with the curry paste.

  • January 11, 2016 at 3:20 am: Suzanna

    Delicious! And pretty easy to make.

  • February 13, 2016 at 4:01 am: Courtney

    So awesome, my 8 month old even loved it – he chowed it down!