Your CSA: Warm Flavors in a Cool Melon Soup

I hesitate to celebrate the recent drop in temperature that September brought. I don't want to jinx us. It was a rough summer in the Twin Cities this year, with weeks of scorching temperatures right in the middle of outdoor entertaining season. MPR even nicknamed it Humigeddon 2011. During one of the heat waves, I enjoyed a chilled melon soup made by chef Joe Hatch-Surisook, of Sen Yai Sen Lek. On one of the hottest, more airless days of summer, he brought a sweet, cold, cantaloupe soup to a potluck and served it in cups for spooning or sipping.

I loved that soup, and thought about re-creating it during melon season, which is late this year. Now that the weather has cooled, the need for chilled desserts is less urgent. I wondered if I could make a melon soup more suited to cooler days. Coconut and melon are more traditionally Thai flavors. To make a more autumnal dish, I used a mix of dried cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, spices typically used to flavor chai. I also served the soup at room temperature rather than chilled. I ended up with something that blended Indian spice, Thai coconut milk and local cantaloupe in a dessert that worked in the heat of August and the cool of September.

Thai-Chai Sweet Melon Soup
(serves 4 to 6, easily doubled) The soup is vegan and gluten free, so a good choice for those with food restrictions. Go easy on the spices in summer and serve the soup chilled. Season to taste in autumn, and serve at room temperature.


1 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

2 Tablespoons local honey

1/4 teaspoon dried powdered ginger

1/4 teaspoon dried powdered cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon dried powdered cardamom

1 medium cantaloupe or other summer melon, rind and seeds removed, cut into bite size or smaller chunks


1. In a small saucepan, put coconut milk, honey and spices over low heat, whisking occasionally until combined. Remove from heat, transfer to medium or large bowl. Cover and chill for at least an hour, or overnight. When ready, whisk again to combine.

2. Add chunks of melon; stir. To serve chilled, place inside a larger bowl filled with ice to keep cool. Can also be served at room temperature. Chilled or not, serve in small cups or bowls.


Kristin Boldon is a frequent contributor for Simple Good and Tasty, who also writes for the Eastside Food Cooperative's newsletter on health and wellness, Minnesota Monthly's food blog Dara & Co., and for her own blog Girl Detective. Her last post for us was "Healthful Fair Food? Yes."