I love Thai food. On the now rare occasion that we eat out, Thai is usually at the top of my list. I still have to be very careful when ordering to avoid dishes that might have soy sauce in them (there’s wheat in soy sauce), so now I try to make the occasional Thai meal at home. I previously made this soup with chicken, but I had a pound of shrimp in the freezer leftover from the seafood gumbo, so I grabbed that instead.
Like most Thai dishes, this soup has a balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavors that makes each ingredient sing. If you’ve never used lemongrass before, this is a perfect introduction. Lemongrass is a tough, stalky grass that you don’t actually eat, but its aromatic, lemony flavor is essential to Thai soups. You can also toss just about any vegetable into the broth – I really like broccoli in this soup, I’d just forgot to pick some up at the market. If you want to make the soup a little heartier, serve it over a small scoop of brown rice. The soup is both light, and warming – perfect for the wet, dreary day we had on Sunday. A bowl of this soup will warm you right down to your toes (and may make your nose run a bit from the heat, too).
1 T oil, divided
3 stalks lemon grass, tough outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
1 onion, sliced
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced carrot rounds
12 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves and stalks, chopped coarse
3 T fish sauce, divided
5 cups homemade chicken stock
2 cups water
1 14oz can coconut milk
1 T sugar
2 cups fresh mushrooms , cleaned, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 lb raw shrimp, peeled & deveined (shells reserved), sliced in half lengthwise
3 T lime juice
2 tsp red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand)
Garnish: 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges
- Heat 1.5 tsp oil in large soup pot over medium heat until just shimmering. Add lemon grass, 1/2 of the onion, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, reserved shrimp shells, water and coconut milk; bring to simmer over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until flavors have blended, 20 minutes. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer and discard solids in strainer. Rinse the pot and return broth mixture to pan.
- Return pot to medium-high heat. Add 1.5 tsp oil to the pot, and add the last 1/2 sliced onion, bell pepper and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are beginning to soften.
- Pour the strained stock and coconut milk back into the pot, reduce heat to medium and add 1 T sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes, until carrots are tender. Next, add mushrooms, and cook 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove soup from heat.
- Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in small bowl; stir into soup. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges.
350 cal/bowl, 150 cal from fat, 17g fat, 125mg cholesterol, 950mg sodium, 600mg potassium, 22g carbs, 8g sugars, 21g protein