Thai Coconut Soup

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With the Winter season in full swing, everyone is looking for the heavy, hearty, warm dishes to savor on a cold brisk evening. Folks will often say that the cold weather is the best for soup season,Β  I respectfully disagree. I love a nice bowl of Tomato Bisque with a grilled cheese sandwich in the middle of the summer, or a bowl of Pho just because It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed one.Β  Soup is the one thing I haven’t made yet this winter and I had a craving for something spicy, a dish with a little heat and something out of the ordinary aside from the common split pea, chicken noodle, chili and beef barley that everyone showcases this time of the year.

I opened up the pantry to dig through the dry goods and see what I could come up with. I came across two cans of Coconut Milk and said “boom, a Coconut Curry Soup!” Unfortunately the only curry I had on hand was yellow curry powder, not what I was looking for, so I made a version ofΒ  Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup) instead, minus a few key ingredients because I didn’t have them on hand. Coconut milk has a thick consistency, and a rich, creamy texture. Coconut milk comes from the flesh of mature brown coconuts (not to be confused with coconut water which is found naturally in immature green coconuts). This milk is found in many cuisines around the world ie: Southeast Asian (Thai), Hawaiian, and the Caribbean.Β 

I’ve personally always loved coconut. From the dried shavings that are in desserts, to the cream used in Pina Coladas. I know plenty of people that don’t enjoy coconut as much, but I believe it’s because they’re consuming all the wrong stuff! The battery on my Nikon died and until I replace it, I’m stuck using my camera phone for pictures, so I apologize if the photo quality isn’t the best. The pictures don’t do this soup justice! If you like heat, coconut and ginger, this soup is worth a try! The coconut milk adds a wonderful sweet balance to smooth out the spice from the chili paste.Β 

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Mise en Place:

  • 2 Cans Coconut Milk (full fat, be sure it’s milk and not cream!)
  • 1 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, julienne
  • 2 Cups Stock (I used homemade Chicken stock, vegetable works fine!)
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Chili Paste
  • 6 Oz Pack Rice Noodles, prepared according to package
  • 1 Small Bunch Fresh Cilantro
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • In a large sauce pot over medium heat, add a tablespoon Oil and cook onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add in garlic, and fresh ginger, cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in Mushrooms, season with a little salt and pepper.Β  Stir and allow to cook for an additional two minutes.
  • Pour in Stock and coconut milk, mix well. Season with more salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, add in chili paste, fish sauce and lime juice. Stir and allow to simmer slowly for 20 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
  • In a serving bowl, add in 1 handful of rice noodles. Add in hot soup and garnish with cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

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Coconut & Banana Rice Pudding

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One thing I love about rice pudding aside from the facts that it’s number one, delicious and number two, can be made a hundred different ways, is no matter what diet or food trend your on or following, rice pudding is probably something you can consume.

My Grandma made rice pudding as if it were her religion (meaning she made it almost everyday). She did a damn good job with the right amount of cinnamon to creamy texture ratio. While I will always love Grandma’s rice pudding, I know mine outdoes hers. Sorry Grandma, suck it.

If your into creamy textured foods and bananas you need to get in on this rice pudding. I ate it for breakfast today and will probably eat the leftovers for dessert tonight. The addition of caramelized bananas on top is the best part. If I had some bourbon (Can’t believe I don’t..something is wrong with me) I would of added that in during the caramelized process. Kinda like a flambe/fosters thing, yo. GET SOME!

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Creamy Rice pudding is: Vegan/Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Vegetarian/Refined Sugar Free/Guilt Free πŸ™‚

Yield: 4 Servings

Mise En Place:

-1 Cup Rice (I used white short grain)

-2 Cups Water

-1/2 Teaspoon Salt

-2 Cinnamon Sticks

-2 Cardamom Pods

 

-1 Can Coconut Milk

-Maple Syrup, TT

-2 Bananas, Pureed

-1 Teaspoon Vanilla

-Ground Cinnamon, Garnish

 

Method of Prep:

-In a medium sauce pot, add water, rice, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and salt. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Once water begins to come to a boil, reduce heat to medium low.

-Check rice and stir every so often making sure rice doesn’t absorb all the liquid and stick to the bottom of the pan. Rice take about 15 minutes or so to cook.

-Once all the water is absorbed, taste the rice. If it is cooked about halfway (meaning the outsides are soft and the middle is still slightly crunchy) add in the coconut milk. If rice isn’t for whatever reason cooked halfway (meaning it’s still really crunchy) add in a little bit more water and allow to cook an additional 5 minutes or until water is mostly absorbed.

-Raise the temperature back to medium high until coconut milk begins to boil. Reduce heat back to medium low, cover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until the milkΒ  is mostly absorbed. (or until rice is at the consistency you want. I prefer to keep mine a little loose). Stirring often.

-Once most of the milk is absorbed, fold in the banana puree, vanilla and maple syrup. (I didn’t put a measurement of maple syrup because I like mine partially sweet. Add it in to your liking on sweetness. Don’t forget caramelized bananas, which are sweet will be placed on top, if you choose to do so.)

-Once everything is folded in your ready to serve it as is. Garnish with a few shakes of ground cinnamon.

Enjoy!

 

Caramelized Bananas: Vegan (if using earth balance) Gluten free

-1 Banana

-1 Tablespoon Butter

-2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (or natural sugar of choice)

 

Method of Prep:

-Over medium heat, melt butter in a small pan.

-Add in bananas and brown sugar. Stir sugar into butter until combined well.

-Cook bananas on each side until golden brown and delicious.

-Spoon some of the sugary and buttery goodness over the bananas for additional flavor.

-Place on top of rice pudding with a little bit of the sauce from the pan.

 

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