Thursday, September 06, 2012

Tomato coconut soup

September 3, 2012

Berlin proved to be stuffed full of veg*n restaurants, and Kopps might have been my favourite of the ones we visited. Once back home I was so wistful for its rich dinners and varied breakfasts that I paid an inordinate amount of postage to have Kopps chef Björn Moschinski's cookbook delivered to me. A cookbook that is written entirely in German.

Thankfully Vegan Kochen Für Alle (Vegan Cooking For All) has lots of glossy colour photos to steer me towards the recipes I want. Google translate guided us well through our holiday and does a nice first draft of a recipe (although I thank Sarah and Sandra for tweeting extra expertise my way). I'm not sure I'll bother transcribing and translating Moschinski's 8-page foreword, though.

I started from the beginning; this tomato soup is the first recipe in the book! I know that tomatoes and basil are summer foods but we've had a weird waft of spring this week and I really couldn't wait. My soup was not quite as red and smooth as the one photographed in the book. Nevertheless, I really like the subtle sweet creaminess that the coconut milk provides; I also like that the German word for stick blender is Stabmixer!

Tomato coconut soup
(adapted slightly from Vegan Kochen Für Alle
by Björn Moschinski)

1kg tomatoes
2 onions
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
30g tomato paste
500 mL vegetable stock
400 mL can coconut milk
1 bunch basil

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water. Remove the core from the top of each tomato, leaving the tomato whole, and cut a small cross in the base. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunge them into the ice water.

Dice the onions finely. Drain all the water from the large pot and heat the oil in it; add the onions and saute them over medium heat until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, peel the skins from the tomatoes and dice the tomatoes finely. Add the tomato paste to the onions and fry the mixture for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and coconut milk; simmer it all for 15 minutes on low heat.

While the soup is simmering, wash and roughly chop the basil. When the soup is finished simmering take it off the heat, add the basil and blend the soup (preferably with a stick blender) until smooth. Season to taste and serve.


  1. I was going to delurk after years of reading for the previous post (finally - something else to do with cabbage!), but since I can actually be useful here, I'm going with this one.

    I skimmed the parts of the intro available on, and it's not enormously exciting - mostly about how he became vegan, how/when/why he began to cook (connected to the veganism - his mother could manage vegetarian food, but vegan recipes were beyond her), and how his career and restaurants etc developed. There's various tidbits about the figures for products consumed at his restaurants, and it's pleasant enough to read, but not terribly groundbreaking. There's also a certain sense of Berlin hipster about his writing style, which is rather amusing for someone like me living in a much less trendy part of Germany! (I'm a Sydneysider living over in the north west.)

    Nice looking recipe, except that coconut milk is a pain to find here. (A quick skim suggests that, ingredients wise, the recipe book is targeted more at big city folk. My supermarket, for example, has had lemongrass available precisely twice in the last six months. And pak choi I spotted for the first time this weekend.)

    Anyway, thanks for years of interesting posts, and I will try to lurk fractionally less in the future!

    1. Lauren - thanks for de-lurking and sharing your translation skills! It's mighty kind of you to flick through the intro for our benefit. :-)

      I'm not surprised to hear that the book relies on city-sourced ingredients (and I'm sorry that even coconut milk is rare where you are!). I was hoping for some tips on making Kopps' mock meat and alt-dairy from scratch, but the book just seems to just tell us to go out and buy soya schnitzels. :-/

    2. Well, bizarrely, my local supermarket *does* have two brands of soya schnitzels, and the local bio-supermarket is also fairly well stocked with that sort of thing. So regional Germany isn't really lacking in mock meat, but Asian vegetables, hummus(!) and so on are ridiculously hard to find. And I do live in a city, just a small one! (Sometimes I think Berlin is another planet.)

    3. Laureen, we have to make humus by ourselves over here ;o) Up to now, I never saw it in any shop....(sorry for my English)

    4. I'm sure homemade hummus is better, if/when you can be bothered to make it. :-)

  2. Nice short list of ingredients and the soup looks great. That's amazing dedication getting a German cookbook and getting it translated!

    1. leaf - it is lovely and simple! I think it'll get a repeat when tomatoes are properly in season. :-)

  3. that is dedication - hope it brings back happy holiday memories - and maybe that the german you picked up in your travels is helpful in looking at the book. Sounds like a great soup

    1. Johanna, I have enjoyed guessing at a translation before I transcribe the ingredients and recipes. :-)