Supu Viazi (Tanzanian Coconut Potato Soup)

Bowl of Supu Viazi (Tanzanian Coconut Potato Soup) on a wooden tabletop.

Soup-er Summer
I know. It’s 150 degrees outside and I’m talking about soup. Yep. I get it. Soup is not the first thing that pops into your three-in-the-afternoon brain in late July when it’s time to think about dinner. Most people opt for something cooler.

But, when you think about it, soup isn’t much more than a thinner curry or pasta sauce, right? Right? Ok, I’ll work on my sales pitch. But, maybe this recipe will change your mind. Because, for some reason, the flavors scream summer to me.

I found this Eastern African recipe for Supu Viazi while doing my deep dive into all things foodie and African. It intrigued me for a few reasons. This recipe comes from Tanzania which is not a cuisine you hear about with regularity. That in and of itself makes this recipe interesting.

Also, you might find my lack of knowledge about food in Tanzania a bit odd considering my Mother-in-Law lived there for multiple years right after my husband graduated from high school. It would be logical to assume that there would be a few recipes that she had picked up along the way and passed down. Alas, you would be wrong.

Lastly, when reading the ingredients, it just sounded so good in my head. It reminds me of a Thai yellow curry, just without the meat.

The best part? Assuming you have the ingredients, it’s fairly quick to prepare which makes it a good choice for some mid-week flavor…

The green banana is traditional, but you can swap it for a green plantain or leave it out altogether if either is hard to find. Just toss in a few more potatoes.

Supu Viazi (Tanzanian Coconut Potato Soup) Recipe
Adapted from Flavors of Africa by Evi Aki
Yields 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons Canola or other flavorless oil
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 large green bell pepper
2 large carrots
2 large tomatoes
6 medium-sized Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 large green banana
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
4 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 to 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced for garnish.

Prep the vegetables
Dice the onion, bell pepper, carrots, and tomatoes. Mince the garlic and cube the potatoes and green banana.

Make the soup
Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook (another 5 to 8 minutes).

Add the tomatoes to the pot and let them cook (10 to 15 minutes), stirring often until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the potatoes, banana if using, coconut milk and water to the pot. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let simmer (about 30 minutes).

Adjust the seasoning
When finished, taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

To serve
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with avocado slices laid on top.

Photo from cookbook. Image credit Jakob Layman

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