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THAI COCONUT SOUP

T

his recipe sounds and looks exotic and adventurous. It takes only about 30 minutes to prepare and my kids love it, so it is great for a busy night. It is also a great conversation starter at dinner parties. My version of this Thai tradition can be made with either fish or chicken. I use a Thai fish sauce, available at any supermarket. Ever since I read that parts of Italy use fermented fish sauce, I now use the sauce in Italian recipes, chili and other foods. Go easy on it as it has a strong flavor, but don’t be afraid to experiment with it!

I am also including my recipe for coconut rice if you really want to kick up the coconut (it’s worth it, believe me). The rice is actually good enough that a pot of that it makes a great meal all by itself. While my 16-year-old loves the fish version of this soup (she does not eat much meat), my 12-year-old requests the rice all the time.

Spicy enough for a cold winter day, but light enough for summer, this soup is sure to be a hit.

This will make enough to feed a family of 4 as a main course, and have leftovers!

 

SOUP:

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1 qt. veggie broth
1 can coconut milk
2-3 fillets of tilapia OR 2 small (1 large) skinless, boneless chicken breast - sliced VERY thinly
1 T. fresh finely chopped ginger (buy it by the “hand”; you can break off as much or as little as you want)
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot
1 onion
1 red bell pepper (red looks better in the final product - but I didn’t have one; I used green)
2 jalapeño peppers (you can substitute other hotter peppers)
1 handful fresh bean sprouts (you can substitute about 1/2 of a can if you can't find them fresh)
1 handful green beans (fresh or frozen)
About 3 cups chopped broccoli 
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Soy sauce and Sriracha sauce to taste

 

Using a large pot, use just enough veg oil to coat bottom and place the ginger, garlic and green beans (only if they are fresh, frozen will be added later) on medium low. You are gradually flavoring the oil here. If it starts to sizzle, reduce heat immediately. Simmer for at least 15 mins.

Slice onions, carrots and bell pepper into thin strips end-to-end about 2" long. Add this mixture and green beans (if frozen) to the pot and increase the heat to medium high.

Slice the jalapeño into rings and add to pot (saving about half of one for garnish).

When the veggies begin to sizzle, add the vegetable broth and coconut milk. If coconut milk has separated in the can, don’t panic - add solids and liquid.

Add fish sauce and lime juice.

When broth begins to simmer, add fish (or chicken), broccoli, green beans and bean sprouts (if using fresh sprouts, set a few aside for garnish).

Gently cook until meat becomes opaque and white.

Ladle over rice. Garnish with jalapeño, bean sprouts, and wedge of lime. Soy sauce and Sriracha to taste.

 

COCONUT RICE:

2 c. uncooked white rice
1 T. veg oil
1 1/2 c. coconut milk
1 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. water
Dash of salt (optional)

 

Add all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil and stir.

Cover tightly and simmer on low for 20 min. (Do NOT lift lid)

After 20 mins., turn off heat and rest for 10 mins.