Cook broth in a large, heavy saucepan, reducing it by half to concentrate flavors.
Heat oil in a medium sauté pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
Add ginger, potato, and carrot; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk and bell pepper; cover and cook 5 more minutes. Add reduced broth to vegetable mixture; season with pepper. Cover and cook until all vegetables are tender.
In blender or food processor, puree soup in small batches until smooth. Adjust seasonings.
Serve in warm soup bowls. Garnish with apple or pear cubes, if desired.
Variation: Garnish with a combination of scallions and chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.