. Holiday Soup Redux Part Three—Kwanzaa: Fried Okra and Coconut Milk Soup topped with Crumbled Cornbread Seriously Soupy

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Soup Redux Part Three—Kwanzaa: Fried Okra and Coconut Milk Soup topped with Crumbled Cornbread

The third and final installment of the Holiday Soup Redux series (see part one and part two) on Kwanzaa was an interesting tutorial for me on the holiday and its seven days of celebration (Dec 26th-Jan 1st). I also learned about the holidays traditional fare (fried okra, chicken gumbo, corn bread, coconut shrimp, and sweet potato pie, etc) in order to create an original soup recipe. Originally, I thought a pot pie soup with a fried crust would be perfect, but after a few days with that idea it just seemed like I was just creating a pot pie and not anything too exciting and original. I finally decided on a fried okra and coconut soup topped with crumbled corn bread. I have never cooked with okra, nor really enjoyed it beyond a few occasions, so although the soup sounded simple I felt it would be a challenge for me in understanding how exactly to meld these flavors and if this sort of concept actually works. Here's what I did:

Part One-Okra/Coconut Milk Soup


2 cups of okra, chopped up
4 cups of coconut milk  (I used Thai organic)
4 cups of water (2 cups for rice)
1 cup of rice (I used white rice with beans)
1/2 cup of chickpeas
1 teaspoon of curry
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 cup of heavy cream

Pour water and coconut milk into a pot and let boil. Cut up the okra and place it in a frying pan with heavy cream. Add curry, cumin, salt and pepper to the okra. When the okra turns slightly brown place it in the coconut milk/water pot and cover on a very low flame. Start the process for the cornbread (see recipe below). When the cornbread is in the oven, add water to another pot and let boil. Add the rice to the boiling water and let cook on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Open a can of chickpeas or prepare them from dry beans (depending on your preference). Soup should be done by now where you can place about a cup of rice and chickpeas in a bowl. Pour the soup on top and break up the cornbread into segments on the very top of the soup. Enjoy!

Part Two— Cornbread, adapted from jungleswife.com. 

For this soup I searched for the easiest and most convenient cornbread recipe, since as I have mentioned I feel more comfortable making up my own recipes with soups and not with other food items. There are tons of recipes online, but this one from jungleswife.com was ideal, since it used minimal ingredients and even better most of which I had in the house. However, there are numerous options out there, so using what you like is always a good choice.

P.S. When it was all said and done it turned out to be more of an effort than a successful soup, but I enjoyed trying something different even if it meant ending up with a bland and slimy soupy.  Never having used okra before the consistency was a little off to me, but presented and exciting challenge of an ingredient and style of cooking that I have never tried and sometimes that is enough when creating and testing out new soups.

Some adjustments for next time:
  • I would fry the okra in some sort of bread crumb as opposed to in a cream base.
  • I would add more vegetables such as green beans, carrots, peas, etc to give the soup more flavor.
  • I would try to make my own coconut milk such as from this homemade coconut milk recipe from coconut recipes.
To learn more about Kwanzaa check out these books. Also, please share any recipes from the holiday and pictures, especially of traditional Kwanzaa soups!
Seriously Soupy Serena


  1. Thanks! Or rather thank jungleswife.com.

  2. Thanks for the mention, Serena! I'm so glad you enjoyed the cornbread recipe.

    Your photos are great. Keep up the good work!