Molokaʻi Sweet Potato Lemongrass Bisque

Adapted from “A DASH of Aloha”
Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 cup Sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger, fresh, minced
  • 2 lb. Molokaʻi sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup Carrot, chopped
  • 3 stalks Lemongrass, outer layers removed, bulbs split open
  • 1/4 cup Coconut milk, canned
  • 2 cup Vegetable broth, low-sodium
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves, torn (or ~1 tbsp. fresh lime juice)*
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt  
  • A dash of Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Cilantro leaves, chopped

    1.  Heat olive oil in a pot and add onion.  Cook about 5 minutes, until soft.
    2.  Add garlic, ginger and cook 1 minute.
    3.  Add the sweet potatoes, carrot, lemongrass, and kaffir limes*.
    4.  Add broth and enough water to cover contents and bring to a boil.
    5.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
    6.  Remove lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
    7.  Reserve 1-1/2 cup cooking liquid then add the coconut milk, salt and cayenne pepper.
    8.  Blend in a blender until smooth. (*Add lime juice at this time if not using kaffir lime leaves)
    9.  Add more water if too thick to create desired consistency.
    10. Garnish with the cilantro.


This soup is seasoned with fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and a bit of coconut milk to enhance the flavor.  Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass are common ingredients used in Southeast Asian cookery that can be found at the local farmers markets as well as some grocery stores. They are fibrous and are not for ingestion, but they are very aromatic, adding a refreshing fragrance to the dish.  You can substitute fresh lime juice for the kaffir lime leaves (1-2 tsp juice, to taste). The ginger can also be substituted with Galangal, also known as Thai ginger, which imparts an additional aromatic dimension to the soup.  All these ingredients are found at farmers markets and Chinatown markets in Hawaiʻi. 

Kapiʻolani Community College Culinary Arts Program.  Cooking Up A Rainbow. The Hawaii 5210 Edition 1.0.