Thai Borscht

Recipe 45 minPreparation Time 95 minCooking Time
Thai Borscht

Thai Borscht

45 minPreparation Time 95 min Cooking Time

About this Recipe

Beets’ earthy sweetness pair seamlessly with the flavors of a Thai coconut curry, and the bright fuchsia color of this soup is sure to delight even the most beet-skeptical. Make sure not to skip the straining; it’s the key to a velvety texture.

The Benefits

Beets are wonderfully healthy, providing support for brain, blood, metabolic, and gut health and furnishing important minerals. Combining them with this potent array of aromatics adds significant additional nutrition, making this an excellent immunity-booster if you’re feeling run down or fighting a cold.


Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 large or 2 small (about 7 oz / 200 g) beets
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 red Thai chile, minced
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp fresh galangal, peeled and grated
  • 1 piece of fresh lemongrass, about 3 in (8 cm) long, chopped
  • 3 makrut lime leaves, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil (spoon some of the fat off the top of the can of coconut milk)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 14-oz (400 ml) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable stock
  • 12 fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Step 1
    Quarter the beets and put them in a small pot with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover them by about 1/2 inch (1 cm). Bring them to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a low boil until the beets are easily pierced with a sharp knife, about 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beet(s).
  2. Step 2
    While the beets boil, make the curry paste: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the shallot, garlic, and chile together with the coriander, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves until you get a coarse paste. Add the lime juice, zest, and sweetener and work them in gently until you get a smoother, looser consistency. Set the paste aside.
  3. Step 3
    Remove the tender beets from the pot and put them into a bowl of cold water, changing the water once or twice to cool them down enough to handle. Use your thumbs to slip the skins off the beets, then dice them. Put the coconut oil in a deep saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the curry paste and stir it into the onions, cooking for about 5 minutes more. Add the beets and salt, pour in the coconut milk and stock, stirring well, and cook at a lively simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more.
  4. Step 4
    Take the pot off the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup well: Move it around to gobble up all the beet and onion chunks. If using a regular blender, let the soup cool before carefully blending it in batches that don’t exceed half the blender’s volume. Once blended, push the soup through a fine strainer into a clean saucepan. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed, bring back to a simmer, and serve. Garnish each cup or bowl with a couple of cilantro leaves.

Substitutions: Use yellow beets instead, and add 1 tsp fresh grated turmeric to your curry paste

Zero Waste: The strained solids can be used to flavor (and color) another, chunkier curry or pot of rice, and the beet skins can be used for fermented drinks like tepache or kvass