Sunday, 24 February 2013

Thai salmon soup

I usually like recipes with a minimal amount of ingredients. As they say: KISS - keep it simple, stupid. I rarely cook anything Asian because the recipes usually contain a crazy long list of ingredients and spices I don't have lying around at home. After dragging home bags full of pastes, spices and other exotic ingredients, you use a tiny amount of each of them, and a year later you rediscover the jars in the back of your fridge, growing all sorts of exotic moulds. However, there are times when you have a bunch of stuff in your fridge that needs using up, and throwing it all in a soup is a perfect solution to the problem. So I devised a nice soup which contains loads of leftover veggies, and a few simple ingredients to give the soup a thai flair. The only ingredients I had to buy specifically for the soup were coconut cream, curry paste, lemon grass and prawns. And of those four ingredients, the only one I had left over after cooking the soup was the curry paste, which is easy to use in pretty much any recipe. And there is nothing as comforting as a nice bowl of soup when your apartment is so cold that you have to keep running processor heavy tasks on your laptop to make it heat up nice and toasty on your lap. Actually, the best way to keep the laptop hot is to play Civilization. It's not because I would enjoy it, it's just to keep from freezing to death.

Thai-ish salmon soup (serves 4):
1 tsp virgin coconut oil
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
a piece of ginger root
2 stalks of celery
2 carrots
200 g cabbage
250 ml coconut cream
1 veggie stock cube in 500ml hot water
1-2 tbsp thai red curry paste
1 stalk of lemon grass
1 red pepper
250 g salmon
200 g prawns
200 g sprouted beans
150 g rice noodles
150 g spinach
fresh coriander

The howto:
Finely chop onion, garlic, celery and ginger root. Chop the carrots, cabbage and red pepper. Heat the coconut oil in a big pan, and cook the onion, garlic, celery and ginger root until the onion turns translucent. Add carrots and cabbage and cook for a few minutes. Add the coconut cream, stock, curry paste and lemon grass. Let cook for 30 minutes, or until the carrots turn soft. Add the red pepper and salmon, let cook for 5 minutes. Add the prawns, sprouted beans, noodles and spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh coriander. 
The verdict:
I know that the ingredient list for the soup is rather long. However, you can use any veggies you happen to have around. The main thing is having salmon, prawns, coconut cream and red thai curry paste and a mix of veggies. You can leave out whatever you don't like or don't happen to have around, and replace with things that are hiding out in the back of your fridge. 

When the weather gets really cold, there is nothing like a hot steaming bowl of soup to keep you warm. And the curry paste adds some extra heat to make sure you stay warm. The flavour combination of the spicy hot curry paste with the creaminess of the coconut cream and the crunchiness from the vegetables makes a wonderful combination. If you want to be health conscious you could always swap the coconut cream for low fat coconut milk, or even just the vegetable broth. But with this cold winter weather, it might be a good idea to get in some extra calories to keep warm in the cold and the rain. Or maybe that's just me rationalising, but at least there is no arguing with the fact that the coconut cream brings a wonderful soft... well, creaminess... to the soup. 

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