Aromatherapy & food: Thai sweet potato soup recipe

img_0273-2Studying aromatherapy has had an impact on my cooking, especially around food ingredients. Many essential oils are extracted from the herbs, fruits and plants popular in cooking and understanding the benefits of these means you can cook to the needs of your body.

This circulation boosting, flu fighting, muscle easing, stress busting, hangover reducing spicy Thai sweet potato soup includes ginger, lemongrass, black pepper, basil and lime and it’s perfect for winter. Here’s why:

Ginger – stimulates circulation, reduces varicose veins, heals bruises and chilblains. Great for aching muscles, relieves cramp, sports injuries, back pain, arthritis and rheumatism. Reduces lethargy and fatigue. Settles nausea (and hangovers!), eases cold and flu symptoms, catarrh, sore throats, fever and runny noses.

Lemongrass – great for oily skin and acne. Muscle and joint relaxant and treats rheumatism. A natural antidepressant, relieves stress and nervous exhaustion. Settles and relieves sickness, gastroenteritis, indigestion and revives sluggish appetites. Reduces fever, treats sore throats.

Black pepper – stimulates circulation and lymphatic system, tonic for aches, pains and sports injuries. Stimulates digestion. Stimulates the nervous system. Relieves catarrh, coughs and colds.

Basil – reduces skin inflammation and acne. Relieves stomach aches. Lifts the spirits including depression, insomnia, stress, headaches and migraines. Relieves sinusitis.

Lime – treats acne, oily skin, spots and bites. Reduces anxiety, fatigue, lethargy. Relieves indigestion and regulates appetite. Reduces flu symptoms.


I’m no chef but this soup is super easy to make and tastes delicious. Why not try it yourself?

Thai red curry paste: There are two options here, the cheats way (what I did) or the proper way. The cheat way is to purchase a good ready made paste. I always use Mae Ploy Red curry paste. It is available for less than £2 in most supermarkets or Asian supermarkets and lasts for ages as you only need a small amount. There are no additives or preservatives, only the core paste ingredients that are vacuum packed to keep fresh. If you would prefer to create your own paste there are many recipes available online. The basic ingredients include garlic, red chilli, lemongrass, shallot, salt, galangal, shrimp paste, Kaffir lime peel or leaf, pepper.

Ingredients (serves 4):

4 medium sized sweet potatoes

Thai red curry paste – see above

1 small onion

Vegetable stock in 750ml boiling water

1 thumbnail sized fresh ginger (chopped or grated)

Fresh basil

Juice of 1 lime

Black pepper



  • Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and onion then part boil in plain water for 10 minutes (this removes a lot of the starch).
  • Drain the potatoes and onion then return to pan, adding 750ml boiling water with vegetable stock and fresh ginger.
  • Add the curry paste. If using the cheats way use 25g for medium spice or 50g for extra spicy.
  • Cook all ingredients together for a further 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Add a small handful of fresh basil and juice of 1 lime then blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Serve with a shake of black pepper and fresh basil leaves.
  • Sit back, enjoy the taste and see the benefits for yourself!



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