Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thai Coconut Soup

Delicious soup with a true Thai flavors of coconut, lime and lemongrass, loaded with different proteins. It is a real treat to your health and soul.

Blog's Category: International, Vegetarian, Soup


I was about to write down tacky "Thai is one of my..." and caught myself on a thought that I like all cuisines, the world's food diversity is one of the privileges I'm lucky to enjoy. No, I'm not traveling for this around the world (although I wish I could). But I cook. Having an internet as my recipe book and abundance of ethnic grocery stores around, I've got all tools on hand :)

Thai Coconut Soup was on my list for a while and finally it got on my family dinner table. As usually, after some research on a subject, I ended up with a recipe that deserves to be on my permanent family menu. I modified original recipe replacing chicken stock with a bonito stock granules, kicked up protein content adding tofu, shrimp and mushrooms all together. 

My son Danny loved the soup, as well as my hubby who is not a person easily pleased with exotic food. As a bonus - soup is easy and fast to cook!

What is it?

This soup is based on a coconut milk and infused with lemongrass, ginger, red curry paste, fish sauce. Proteins are shitake mushrooms, shrimp and tofu. Garnished with cilantro leaves and lime.

Taste Description

It has distinctive South-East Asian flavors of coconut and lemongrass, complex bouquet of red curry with a gentle kick of spiciness. Perfectly accompanying cilantro leaves and lime, add final touch to a layered flavors of this soup. Diverse proteins - shitake, tofu and shrimp, soak up all these flavors and bring them to your taste buds as ultimate meal experience.

How to Serve/Store

Serve hot. It keeps in a fridge for about 4-5 days and reheats in a microwave nicely.


Thai Coconut Soup 

For about 5-quart pot:
  • 1.5 tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tbs red curry paste (for a mildly spiced, add more if you like it spicy)
  • 3 tbs cooking olive oil (or any vegetable oil of your choice)
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, only lower part (about 6"), very finely sliced
  • 5 cups of tap water
  • salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp fish stock granules - optional (or 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth)
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 4 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 lb shitake mushrooms, cups only, sliced
  • 1.5 lb fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 packs of firm tofu, diced into bite size pieces
  • lime wedges (to serve with)
  • fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (for garnishing)

- In a large pot, cook first 4 ingredients (through lemongrass), on a medium heat, for about 2 minutes, stirring.

- Add next 7 ingredients (through brown sugar). 

Bring broth to a boil, then add shitake, tofu and shrimp. Bring it to a boil, switch to a lowest heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes while you adjust the taste - add some boiling water if broth is too concentrated, or add salt or fish sauce or fish stock granules if needed.

- Take from a heat. Serve with a lime wedge and cilantro and enjoy! 


- If you think you won't like tiny, but tough pieces of lemongrass in your stock, you have two choices. First one - before adding shitake, tofu and shrimp, strain your stock to get rid of lemongrass particles. Second choice - do not slice lemongrass, pound it with a mallet and add whole stalks to a broth. Do not forget to fish them out before serving. 



Discard lower tough ends of lemongrass (root part) and upper ends.
Remaining parts, slice them in a half along the stalk, then slice thinly. My son didn't like those tough specks in a soup, although it didn't stay on a his way of enjoying this soup a lot. Next time, I probably will use whole stalks, pounded a little, to infuse the stock.

Hon dashi, or fish stock granules, or bonito granules. I buy at Asian groceries and use it for my miso soup and as here, for coconut soup. It is fast and convenient way to add umami flavor to a stock.

Shitake stems are not edible, although they can be used for vegetable stocks.

Shitake, shrimp and tofu can be added at the same time as their cooking time is practically the same.

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