Thai Coconut Curry Soup
The other morning, my brother—who is in town from Tokyo, Japan, where he lives—started telling me about the “best Thai food place that exists,” and how it’s located in his neighborhood. It’s the kind of hole-in-the-wall place where he pokes his head in through the front door and the lady greets him by name—telling him if she can accommodate another guest (the place is usually bustling with people). He went on about the rich, creamy bowls paired with seasoned vegetables and freshly steamed rice that the place serves. I could literally taste the spicy, coconutty broth that I pictured in my head.
It didn’t take much for me to decide that a Thai dish was exactly what I needed to have for dinner—healthy fats from coconut milk and coconut oil, detoxing elements from cilantro and spices, and nutrients from organic kale, red cabbage and broccoli. I wanted the dish to be homemade so that I could include every single flavor that I craved and make sure that it aligned with a GI-friendly diet. After finding a Coconut Red Curry Shrimp Soup online via Real Food with Dana, I used the base of the recipe to help me develop one of my own. By tweaking, adding and eliminating a few ingredients, I was able to satisfy the Thai food craving that carried me through my Monday and enjoy the dish while feeling good about each individual ingredient included.
Thai Coconut Curry Soup
1 lb raw, wild-caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbs unrefined coconut oil
1 large head organic broccoli, steamed and chopped into florets (place in bowl with 1 ½ cup water and steam in microwave for 2-3 minutes)
2 cups organic carrots, chopped
2 cups organic red cabbage, sliced thin
½ head of organic kale, leaves detached from stems (you won’t need the stems)
4 tsp freshly grated ginger
3-4 Tbs Thai Red Curry Paste (you can add more if you’d like)
3 cups organic chicken broth
3 cans full-fat coconut milk
3 tsp lemon zest, plus 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt, plus additional to taste
1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
Cauliflower Rice (see recipe below)
Freshly chopped cilantro
1 large head of organic cauliflower
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro
Make the cauliflower rice first, because this will be the base of your dish.
Grate the head of cauliflower using a Cuisinart or food processor with the grating blade attached. Once the cauliflower is grated, heat 1 Tbs of coconut oil in a large saucepan on medium heat and add the cauliflower, salt and pepper to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower rice is soft yet still fluffy. Toss and mix the cauliflower rice while it cooks to ensure that all of it gets cooked evenly. After about 10 minutes, turn off the heat and fold in the chopped cilantro. Set aside.
In a large pot on medium heat, add 1 Tbs coconut oil and cook the shrimp until pink (1-2 minutes, they shouldn’t be completely cooked!). Remove the shrimp and set aside in bowl. Add the grated ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice and curry paste to the pot with the remains of shrimp juice/coconut oil. Mix these ingredients together and let them become fragrant/heat for about 1 minute. Next, add the coconut milk and chicken broth and mix until the spices and liquids are thoroughly combined. Add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the pot and mix in. Add more of any of the spices/flavors if you’d like. Let broth simmer for about 5 minutes.
Once your broth tastes how you want it to, add the vegetables to the pot. Mix the vegetables into the broth to make sure that the vegetables aren’t sticking to one another/clumping together. Cover the pot and cook for about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Honestly, you can eat the soup as soon as 10 minutes after cooking, but if you want the vegetables soft, I would wait longer. Before serving, add shrimp back into pot and cook soup for an additional 2 minutes (this will make sure that the shrimp are cooked through).
Serve the soup over cauliflower rice in large bowls and top with fresh cilantro. This soup makes the BEST leftovers, too!
Do you have a Thai Soup recipe that you're in love with? Share it with me in the comments below! Tis' the season for warm soups and giant knit sweaters.