Curried Coconut Soup with Lemongrass
MAKES: 4 servings
TIME: 40 minutes
A Thai-style soup that becomes quite substantial when you add fried tofu (or try Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh). This soup is also wonderful with a couple of spoonfuls of Steamed Sticky Rice or a cup or two of soaked and cut mung bean threads (see Chinese Egg Noodles) stirred in at the last minute.
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 small fresh chile, preferably Thai, stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional)
3 stalks lemongrass, peeled, trimmed, and minced (see Specialty Herbs for Enthusiasts)
1 tablespoon Curry Powder
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps (reserve stems for stock or discard)
1 quart vegetable stock
2 cups homemade coconut milk or one 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
1/2 cup minced scallion, for garnish
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, for garnish
01 Put the oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes, then lower the heat a bit and cook for 5 minutes more, until it is very, very tender. Add the garlic, ginger, chile, lemongrass, and curry powder and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute, stirring.
02 Add the stock and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture simmers and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and cook about 5 minutes more. Add the soy sauce, then taste and add more soy sauce or some salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of lime juice, then taste and add more if you like. Garnish and serve.