Saturday, January 23, 2016

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Hearty, warm, spicy, aromatic, delicious, filling, and cleansing are all words I would use to describe this Thai soup. Here is my version of Thai Coconut Curry soup, a thai restaurant staple.

One of my favorite local Thai restaurants makes a classic version of coconut curry that I could slurp all day. So I decided to try and make it myself, crock pot style, so I don’t have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy.

The smell of this crock pot concoction is like aroma therapy for your kitchen. Coconut milk + red curry + honey = savory smells. But smells alone are not a good enough reason to make this soup. It’s about the taste. Ever travel to Thailand? Me either, but this soup will let you pretend. With the use of authentic red curry, lemongrass and ginger, it’s about as close as you can get to Asia.

My favorite part of this soup is that is cleansing. Tired of chicken noodle?  Change it up the next time you are under the weather and go for some Thai!  Between the coconut milk, curry and ginger this soup will leave you feeling balanced and nourished.  

Price – I would rate this soup a 4 out of 4 on the price scale. Remember that this will feed a lot of people, and freezes well.

Authenticity is key and with that comes price. I went to a local Asian grocery store for the red curry and lemongrass paste both were around $4. Standard grocery stores sell red curry, but it is not nearly as potent and filled with artificial flavors and colors. If you use an American brand of red curry, I would double or triple the amount of curry paste in the recipe. Keep adding and tasting as you go. The lemongrass can be purchased fresh, but it was easier to use the paste form.  Ginger is found in the produce section and can be bought in small portions for under $1. The coconut milk I buy is usually $3.99 a gallon – comparable to cow milk. I make sure to get the unsweetened vanilla version (0 g of sugar!)

If you don't like spice, and use authentic curry, cut back on how much you add. Then have a taste before adding the full amount.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup
Serves 8-10 people

1 ½ - 2 pounds Chicken
1 ½ Lime, juice of
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 Cups Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp and 1 tsp. Red Curry Paste
1 Tbsp. Lemongrass
¼ Cup Honey
1 Tbsp. and 1 tsp. Ginger, minced
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
½ Cup Water
8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms

In a large skillet add olive oil, and chicken. Add 1 Tbsp. lime juice and salt and pepper (to taste) on top of the chicken as it cooks. In the meantime, turn on your crock pot to high. To crock pot add coconut milk, chicken broth, red curry paste, lemongrass, honey, ginger and the juice of one lime. When chicken is cooked, use a knife and fork to shred into small pieces. Add to crock pot.  In a medium skillet add mushrooms, red wine vinegar and water.  Sautee for 10-15 minutes, until soft (but may not be completely cooked) strain and add to crock pot. Leave crock pot on high for 2-4 hours and then turn down to low until ready to serve.

Note: Lemongrass can be omitted, without sacrificing much on taste. Also the recipe can be cut in half easily and done on stove top (simmer for a minimum of 2 hours).

Cook chicken as usual. I add lime juice, salt and pepper. 

This was my first time using lemongrass. Success!

Add mushrooms last and they will finish cooking in the soup.

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