Around the world in 80 dishes No.26: Jamaica

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Roasted (Levi) Roots soup, by Levi Roots

Ingredients to serve 6

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 5cm chunks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks

3 tomatoes, halved

2 red peppers, deseeded

2 red onions, quartered

3 tablespoons olive oil

4cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Half a teaspoon smoked paprika, ideally Spanish, plus extra to garnish

1 teaspoon ground cumin

400ml can coconut milk

1 bay leaf

Salt and black pepper

Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

Crusty white bread, to serve


I visited a great deli in Brixton Market – Wild Caper, in Market Row, off Electric Lane – where they serve a fantastic spiced sweet roots soup. The talented soup maker there told me her secret. She adds a pinch of smoked paprika for depth. I tried it in my version of the soup and it really works. Serve with a hunk of bread for a satisfying lunch.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Toss the vegetables in the oil and roast them in a roasting tin in the oven for 40 minutes, until cooked, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then peel the skin from the peppers and tomatoes and discard. Chop the peppers.

Now you have two choices. I like the soup to be chunky, so I chop up the roasted roots, put them in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients and 800ml water and stir everything together. Or you can put the vegetables in a blender or food processor with all the other ingredients except the bay leaf and whizz up to give a smoother soup; then you put this in a pan with 800ml water and the bay leaf and give it a good stir.

Season with salt. Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes to let the flavours settle down together.

Divide between 6 individual soup bowls, sprinkle a little smoked paprika and black pepper on top, then garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with crusty white bread.

Taken from 'Food for Friends' by Levi Roots (Mitchell Beazley, 18.99).