After the Dim Sum outing, the only thing I really felt like for dinner was soup, and specifically my coconut thai soup. I used to make this soup every Monday night when I came home from the city. Jeeps would have the kids at swim lessons and I'd be on my own for dinner. This was my go-to meal, Heaven and comfort in a pot. I could make as much or as little as I wanted, but I usually made enough to have a little for Tuesday lunch.
Thai Coconut Soup
- 3-4 cloves of garlic (and once again I find myself clean out of garlic so I'm using the pre-minced kind in a jar, mea culpa.)
- 2 tablespoons fresh ground ginger (which I also get in a jar at the grocery store. It's usually in the produce section, the brand is Spice World, and I'm never without 5 or 6 jars of this stuff. If you can't find it, then grated fresh ginger is fine.)
- 1 can lite coconut milk (and like the damn garlic, I was out of that and had to use "whole" coconut milk. This works fine, although it has more of a tendency to separate, and also makes a richer-tasting soup. Jeeps doesn't mind the latter but I kind of do.)
- Carrots, peeled and diced. (The more the merrier. Honestly, do you understand soup or stew recipes that call for one carrot?!)
- Asian fish sauce. (This is one of the make-or-break ingredients, to the point where if I don't have it on hand, I won't make the soup.)
- Lime juice. (Fresh is best, but I use bottled and I sleep well at night.)
- 1/2 bag of Trader Joe's Thai Vegetable Gyoza, thawed in a colander in the sink. (Yum, yummier and yummiest. If you cannot procure, then naturally any kind of vegetable pot sticker will suffice, or you could use rice noodles or broken spaghetti.)
Put your soup pot on medium heat and splash some olive or coconut oil in. Get your minced garlic smiling in the oil, and then add the ground ginger and a pinch of red pepper flakes (more or less according to your preference). If you want to just stop here and park your face right above the soup pot and inhale for five minutes, believe me, I understand. The smell is divine. When you revive, add the carrots and saute another 5 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, scraping out the can with a small spatula. Stir well, then add 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer until carrots are tender.
The trick is to taste the broth and taste some more before you start fiddling with additional seasonings. Start with a teaspoon of asian fish sauce and a tablespoon of lime juice. I also like to add some baby spinach and some chopped scallions.
By the way, did you know that you can buy fresh scallions, chop and freeze them? They keep very well and I was happy to discover this—I like using scallions in cooking but seem to do so sporadically. More often than not I end up with limp scallions in the crisper drawer just when I need them most.
When the broth is properly salty and sweet and sour and savory, add the gyoza and simmer another 5 minutes. If you have fresh cilantro on hand, chop some of that and add.
This soup is great when you have a cold—all that garlic and ginger and the red pepper flakes make your nose run like crazy. It's awesome.