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This flavoursome soup from Madhur Jaffrey makes a perfect starter or light lunch. The flavours of spinach and okra are beautiful together.


The first time I had this soup was in the home of an Indo-Trinidadian. Instead of spinach, my host had used the large leaves of the taro root. This delicious creation may be served as either a first course at dinner or a main dish for lunch. Okra is essential here as it binds the soup together, rather like a New Orleans gumbo. It should be washed and patted dry before cooking.

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4 tbsp olive or groundnut oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, cut into coarse rounds
10 green beans, cut into 2.5cm (1in) pieces
7 okra, 6 trimmed and cut crossways into coarse slices, 1 very thinly sliced to garnish
450g (1lb) fresh spinach,well washed and cut crossways into strips 1cm (½in) wide
1–2 fresh hot green chillies, coarsely sliced
750ml (1¼ pints) chicken stock
400ml (14fl oz) tin coconut milk, well stirred
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Essential kit

You will need a food processor or blender.

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Put the oil in a large pan and set it over medium–high heat.When the oil is hot, put in the onion, garlic, carrot, green beans and okra. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Now put in the spinach and chillies and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in the stock, stir and bring to the boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 25–30 minutes.

Put the soup in a food processor or blender and blend coarsely or smoothly, as desired. You will need to do this in several batches. Return the soup to the pan. Add the coconut milk and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Garnish with a few thin slices of okra and serve.



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