The Washington Post

Why a spicy, creamy soup is actually perfect for hot weather

- BY AARON HUTCHERSON

A warm bowl of soup might not be exactly what you think of to eat in the middle of summer, but some cultures do just that on the hottest days of the year, and there is scientific evidence to support the cooling effect of consuming hot foods on warm days. And this coconut corn soup — topped with as much chili crisp as your heart desires — is begging to be made right now with peak-season corn. Or, if you’d rather enjoy it during the colder months, frozen or canned kernels make this a pantry-friendly recipe that can be enjoyed any time of the year.

It starts as most good recipes do: by sauteing an onion. A mélange of spices — including coriander, garlic powder and smoked paprika — fills your kitchen with an almost intoxicati­ng aroma. Next, corn and liquid are added and then simmered until the kernels are tender. The liquid is a combinatio­n of broth or water and coconut milk. Broth, of course, has more flavor, but water works too if you’re out. I developed this recipe using vegetable broth, but you can use chicken broth or stock if you aren’t vegetarian. Canned coconut milk adds a lovely creaminess while keeping the soup vegan.

As delightful as the soup is on its own, the addition of chili crisp transforms each serving into a bowl of sweet-and-spicy comfort. When drizzled on top, it becomes an edible Rorschach test for the diner to determine what they see — and I love the beautiful streaks of red that form against the yellow backdrop of the soup with each dip of your spoon. But if you aren’t a fan of spice, toasted coconut or chopped peanuts would also work well as a garnish, or simply omit it. For a heartier meal, serve with toast or a piece of crusty bread for dunking in the soup.

 ?? SCOTT SUCHMAN FOR THE WASHINGTON POST; FOOD STYLING by LISA CHERKASKY FOR THE WASHINGTON POST ??
SCOTT SUCHMAN FOR THE WASHINGTON POST; FOOD STYLING by LISA CHERKASKY FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

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