|4 medium||cloves garlic, 2 peeled and 2 finely minced|
|1 piece||ginger (about 1½ inches), peeled and grated (about 1½ tbsp)|
|Optional use of meat: lamb (original to this dish) or chicken...|
|5 lbs||lamb shoulder chops, bone, fat and gristle discarded; meat cut into 1½-inch pieces|
|4||boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds)|
|3 tbsp||unsalted butter|
|2 medium||onions, chopped medium|
|1 tsp||tomato paste|
|½ cup||unsweetened shredded coconut|
|1½ tbsp||curry powder|
|1 tsp||ground cumin|
|¼ tsp||cayenne pepper|
|¼ cup||all-purpose flour|
|7 cups||low-sodium chicken broth|
|2 medium||carrots, peeled and chopped coarse|
|1 medium||rib celery, chopped coarse|
|1 medium||banana (about 5 ounces), very ripe, peeled, or 1 small boiling potato (about 5 ounces), peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces|
|||table salt and ground black pepper|
|2 tbsp||minced fresh cilantro leaves|
1. Place the 2 peeled whole garlic cloves, 2 tsp of the grated ginger, and the water in a blender. Blend until smooth, about 25 seconds; leave the mixture in the blender jar and set aside. (You will be pureeing the soup right in the blender with the garlic and ginger.)
If serving with meat...
2. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until very hot. Add 1 tbsp of the olive oil, swirl to coat the pan bottom, and add half of the lamb pieces. Cook until the lamb is well browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the browned lamb to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining tbsp of oil to the pot, swirl to coat the pan bottom, add the remaining lamb, and cook until the lamb is well browned on all sides. Return all the lamb to the pot and add the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the lamb is tender, about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a medium bowl, cover, and reserve. Pour the broth into another bowl and reserve.
3. Heat the butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat until foaming. Add the onions and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic, remaining 2½ tsp ginger, curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and flour; stir until evenly combined, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly and vigorously, gradually add the chicken broth.
4. Add the carrots, celery, and whole banana to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
5. Puree the soup in batches in the blender with the garlic and ginger until very smooth. Wash and dry the pot. Return the pureed soup to the clean pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. Warm the soup over medium heat until hot, about 1 minute. (The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Warm over low heat until hot; do not boil.) Ladle the soup into individual bowls, spoon a dollop of the yogurt over each bowl, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve immediately.