This Recipe for Curried Zucchini Soup Is Better Than Anything Else I've Ever Done With Zucchini
UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that I published a similar recipe 15 years ago on this same blog, but this the better one, I swear.
I’m going to give you a soup recipe AND a lengthy preamble, but here’s a handy button so you can skip my story and just hit the good food part. Preambles are dumb when you just want to eat.
Once upon a time I worked in a big bookstore. I got it into my head that I would learn how to feed myself better as part of living a happier life, so I started buying cookbooks from the bargain books section. I bought about seven of them, but I only ever cracked one, and I only ever cooked one recipe from it. The recipe was for — surprise! — curried zucchini soup.
I’m not sure why I picked that one, because before that, I had only ever eaten zucchini in stir-fries, and for some reason stir-frying zucchini makes it taste really bitter to me. A real possibility is that I pulled some wilted zucchini out of the grocery store dumpster near my house and thought, “well, free is free,” and decided to give it a shot, because being poor was fun like that. I doubt I would have spent good money on a vegetable I thought tasted like No Bite nail polish. That was a pretty decent dumpster, too, before they started pouring bleach on the garbage to keep starving people from eating what they wanted.
(Stupid me fact: every time I type “stir-fry”, I sound it out as “sterf-ree” in my head like it’s an adjective, as in “that’s some stirfy mess of vegetables you have there.”)
I am a decent biscuit baker, but I’m not a great cook, so I was hugely surprised to discover that zucchini cooked in soup was entirely unlike the bitter poison it was in a stir-fry, AND soup was easy to make and freeze and eat all the time. This was a great discovery for someone who was all of poor, lazy, and prone to bad food choices. I managed to live primarily off curried zucchini soup for several months after that.
The cookbook I got the original recipe out of travelled with me for a couple of decades until it met a terrible fate under the ass of an angry cat. Never doubt that a cat who feels abandoned after a weekend trip will destroy whatever thing he’s figured out you might be emotionally attached to. Onion had seen me thumbing through the book recently, so he peed on it to teach me not to leave the house. It’s all very logical.
I threw out the recipe book without thinking to write down the curried zucchini soup recipe, and so I’ve been without it for a few years. I didn’t have the courage to believe I could re-invent it until recently when I was hit with the inspiration to start feeding myself better again. I’m just simply too old to allow myself to subsist on instant mashed potatoes and Japanese takeout. I have bones and internal organs to worry about, so I scoured the internet for a recipe that seemed somewhat close to my old one, changed all the measurements and half the ingredients, invented my own curry powder from scratch like I even knew what I was doing, and you know what? This version of curried zucchini soup I re-invented is better than my old recipe by far.
In short, I AM SURPRISINGLY AMAZING, and I’m even more amazing now, because I’m sharing the goodness with you.
Curried Zucchini Soup
This recipe serves approximately 8 bowls.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic
3¼ tablespoons curry powder (you can use your favourite mix, or you can use my recipe below)
salt to taste
4 large zucchini, or 6 small, at least halved lengthwise and cut into ½-inch slices
4¾ cups chicken stock
sour cream or natural Balkan or Greek yogurt
Curry powder ingredients:
½ tablespoon ground turmeric
½ tablespoon ground cardamom
½ tablespoon ground coriander
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Heat the oil over medium heat, and then stir in the onions, curry powder, and salt. Cook until the onions are soft.
Stir in the zucchini and garlic, and cook until the zucchini is soft.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil.
Reduce the soup to low heat, cover it with a lid, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and blend all of the soup until creamy with a blender. A hand blender is optimal.
Add a dollop of the sour cream or natural Balkan or Greek yogurt to each bowl of soup.
You can add in carrots or squash for variety and to sweeten it up, if you’re in the mood. My curry makes it a bit spicy, because we like the spice over here, but you can ease up on the cayenne and black pepper if you’re chicken. Bock bock.