Recipe of the Week: Penang Curry Coconut Cream of Tomato Soup

[ 0 ] April 13, 2016 |

A huge thank you to Jonathan Bardzik for this Recipe of the Week.  He is a storyteller, cook and author based in DC, who has given weekly, live demos at Washington, DC’s Eastern Market for the past four and half years and this season will appear at more than eight farmers markets in the area.  He creates new dishes each week with farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients and has shared 127 of them along with tips and short stories in his new cookbook, Seasons to Taste: Farm-fresh Joy for Season and Table.

Penang Curry Coconut Cream of Tomato Soup

Serves 6
Penang Curry adds wonderful complexity and just the right back of the palate heat to tomato soup creating a fun new partner for your grilled cheese or pad Thai.

Panang curry coconut cream of tomato soup closeup 1

Photography by Matt Hocking


  • 2 tbs peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 large tomatoes, cored and cut into 6 wedges each
  • 2 tbs Panang curry paste
  • 1/2 can coconut milk (about 7oz)
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • 4 whole sprigs plus 1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro or thinly, slivered makrut lime leaf*

*There is a growing effort to retire the name kaffir lime for it’s racist connotations in some cultures. I like how “makrut” sounds and the taste and perfume remains delicate and exotic.


  • Warm 1 tbs oil over medium heat in a 3-4 quart soup pot.
    Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds longer until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes, cover and cook 10-15 min until very soft.
    Process soup in a food mill. If using a blender or food processor, pass the purée through a fine mesh sieve.
  • Return pan to medium heat with remaining tbs of oil. Add curry paste and cook about 1 minute until fragrant. Add coconut milk and cook 2-3 minutes. Add tomato puree and cilantro sprigs. Simmer and reduce to desired consistency. I like mine thinner, like a Bloody Mary mix, rather than canned soup, coat-the-back-of-a-spoon thick.
  • Season soup to taste with a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.
    Serve with minced cilantro.

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Jonathan Bardzik’s new cookbook Seasons to Taste is available on or get a signed copy at

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Category: Cookbooks, Recipes, soup, Various Cooking Styles, vegetarian, Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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