Every now and then I get a serious food craving. Sometimes it’s for a warm sourdough baguette with Fromager d’Affinois cheese, or spaghetti with a fresh summer tomato sauce just lightly sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and a spoonful of red chili pepper flakes, or maybe a really rich, chewy, chocolaty brownie. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is!
So this week I got hit with a craving for Thai Coconut Soup made with sweet coconut milk, tangy lime and shrimp (I ended up using calamari and loved it). A friend of mine (Emily that’s you) just made a version from Blue Apron and was really happy with the outcome. A few swift keystrokes later, I had the basic idea of how to put this soup together. As it turns out, I had most of the ingredients in my pantry, save for the fresh lemongrass and shrimp. I headed over to the local Asian market to pick up these last few ingredients. Turns out they had calamari, but no shrimp. How serendipitous for me as the calamari was a great success in the soup. It totally hit the spot . . . 4 servings and 2 pots of soup later.
1-tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1” piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, outer layers removed and sliced on a bias
1-13.5 oz. can lite coconut milk (plus the same amount of water)
2 scant tsp. red curry paste (I like the brand MAE PLOY)
1-tablespoon fish sauce (look for no MSG, like KA*ME)
1-tablespoon canola oil
½ red pepper, diced
8 white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 baby Bok Choy, thinly sliced (or 1 regular Bok Choy, well cleaned, they can be sandy)
Salt and pepper
1 lb. fresh calamari (well cleaned, they can be sandy too)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 limes, zest and juice (I know the price of limes has increased recently, I think 1 lime zested and cut into quarters would be enough)
*Bean sprouts (optional garnish)
Heat oil in a medium sized pot, and add the garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Sauté just about 2 minutes or until you can smell the flavors. Add the coconut milk, water, red curry paste, and fish sauce. Stir, then simmer about 10 minutes to make your coconut milk broth.
Heat oil a large sized soup pot and add the red peppers, mushrooms, and bok choy. Season the vegetables lightly with salt and pepper (the red curry paste and fish sauce are both salty, so don’t add too much more salt). Sauté just a few minutes, as they will continue cooking in the broth. Place a strainer on top of this large pot and pour the coconut milk broth through the strainer and over the vegetables. Add the calamari and simmer the soup about 5-7 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat, and using a microplane, zest 1 lime directly into the pot. Serve the soup in bowls with fresh scallion on top and ½ lime on the side. The lime juice elevates this soup from good to great!