Thai-style soup & sandwich

May 24, 2012

Thai-style Soup & Sandwich

I’ve been on a bit of a Thai kick lately. Earlier this week I played around with a couple of recipes for Thai beef salad, and while I was perusing my Thai recipes, I came across a recipe for Tom Khaa Kai, or Chicken, Coconut and Galangal soup.

As I read through the recipe, I realized I had most of the items I needed already in my pantry or freezer to make the tropical-flavored soup. Originally I was going to make the soup to go with the Thai beef salad, but I ended up not being that hungry the other night, so I decided to put my soup and sandwich tray to good use, making monster spring rolls to go with the soup.

And that’s how this recipe became more than a variation on the cookbook recipe. As I decided on the vegetables I would add to my spring rolls, I thought, “mmm, that would be good in the soup!” So slices of carrots were added. Strips of bell pepper. Chicken became shrimp. Then I decided I have way too much seafood stock in my fridge, so I added a bit of shrimp stock to thin the soup out.

And that’s how I ended up with this amazingly delicious meal that neither my husband or I wanted to stop eating last night. I followed my general spring roll recipe, filling the large rice paper round with fresh butter lettuce from the garden, rice-stick vermicelli soaked in dressing laced with ginger juice, shrimp, carrots, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, cilantro, mint, and a few scant strips of shallots. Instead of making a dipping sauce, I layered the tray with sriracha and drizzles of sesame oil.

Courtney’s Tom Khaa with Shrimp
Serves 4
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 shallots, roughly chopped
4 to 5 2-inch pieces lemongrass stalk, bruised
2 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced into chunks
2 cans coconut milk (I used one regular and one light)
2 cups shrimp stock
1 carrot, slice thin on bias
3/4 bell pepper (yellow, orange, or red), thinly sliced
5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1.5 tablespoons jaggery or brown sugar
7 ounces tomatoes, seeded and sliced into bite-sized pieces
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3 to 5 Thai chilis, stemmed and chopped
12 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped, plus more for garnish

Heat coconut oil over medium heat and saute shallots until soft. Add lemongrass stalks and ginger and saute for another minute. Then add the coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture has begin to boil, add carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, fish sauce, and jaggery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots and peppers are tender (or, if you’re planning on serving this with something else and need more time, turn the mixture to low at this point, and wait to finish off about 10 minutes before serving). Add the tomatoes, lime, and chilis, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes – you don’t want the tomatoes to lose their shape. Add the shrimp and cilantro and cook shrimp until done. Taste and adjust seasoning (sugar/salt), then served, garnished with a bit of extra cilantro.

Note: You can fish out the chunks of lemongrass and/or ginger, or leave them in. I don’t advise eating the lemongrass, as it is still very tough, but some people will love eating the large chunks of ginger (and some people will not).

Vegetarian & vegan alternatives: Use vegetable stock or an additional can of coconut milk instead of shrimp stock. Use 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce instead of fish sauce. You can simply eliminate the shrimp, or you can add more vegetables or tofu. For vegans, use jaggery or vegan brown sugar.

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