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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Summer Rolls

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I have a huge desire for Asian food. I would much rather go to the local oriental market and grab all the necessities I need to fix a fabulous meal than go out to a Chinese or Thai restaurant and get it made for me. One of my preferred choices when it comes to Asian cuisine is summer rolls. They are so fresh and full of crisp flavor from seasonal vegetables and herbs. Super simple to make and inexpensive. These rolls are perfect for a hot summer day, however, because its only January, I find them a perfect match with some curry!

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Active Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Yield: 6 Summer Rolls

 

Mise en Place:

-6 Spring roll wrappers

-1/2 Yellow onion, julienne thin

-1 Red Pepper, julienne

-1 Carrot, peeled, julienned

-1/2 Mango, peeled, julienne

-6 Basil Leaves

-12 Cilantro Leaves

-1 Cup Rice, cooked

Additional Tools:

-1 large bowl of water

Method of Prep:

-Place 1 spring roll wrapper in water and soak for about 20 seconds until soft.

-Carefully place wrapper on the counter (Paper tears easily once wet, use care when moving around to avoid tearing paper.)

-Place 1 small handful of rice on the bottom of the wrapper. (leaving about 1/2 inch room at the bottom for wrapping)

-Press rice down and begin to lay vegetables on top. garnish with herbs.

-Roll the bottom up to cover the rice. Fold both sides in and then continue to roll tightly until sealed shut.

-Repeat the above steps until finished.

-Dip in sauce of choice

Enjoy!

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Sauce Recommendation(s):

-Mae Ploy (A sweet chili sauce that can be found in all oriental markets or in the Asian (international)Β  section of your supermarket or walmart)

-Hoisin (Garnish with 1 tablespoon of chopped peanuts and 1 teaspoon of chopped cilantro) Can also be found in the international isle.