We entertained over the weekend, and I was quite pleased with the results of this Thai soup. Entertaining is so easy when you use crockpots----everything in the kitchen is done, and you can really focus on your guests and not need to fiddle in the kitchen.
My friend Hayes has mentioned a few times that her children really like spicy coconut Thai soup, and I was interested to see if I could make it at home. I found two recipes that I pulled from, and used ingredients that I could find easily at our local grocery store. I used one from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, and one from Tyler Florence.
This is an elegant soup, fit to serve to your very best friends.
4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 can coconut milk (full fat is best. if you opt for the lite, you many want to add a drop of coconut extract to boost the flavor)
4 limes (3 juiced, 1 for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
4 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms, cut in quarters
1 large vine-ripened tomato, or 4 small-med, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound extra firm tofu, cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons red chili paste, to taste (you can use red chili flakes, too)
1 teaspoon white sugar (not pictured, I used a sugar packet)
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
I used a 6 quart Smart Set Crock-Pot for this soup.
Although there are a lot of ingredients listed, this soup comes together quite quickly. Nothing really needs to be cooked---you're just heating through fully and letting the flavors simmer together.
Pour the broth into the crockpot. Add the juice of three of the limes, and zest one of them until you get 1/2 teaspoon to add. Stir in the sugar and fish sauce. Grate the ginger and add. Stir in the coconut milk. You now have your soup base. Add the red chili paste, 1/2 tsp at a time until you have reached desired heat. I ended up using 1 1/2 tsp. You can always add more after cooking, though, so please go slow and don't overdo it.
Cube the tofu, slice the bell pepper, and mince the garlic. Add to pot. Coarsely chop the shitake mushrooms and the vine-ripened tomatoes. Stir in carefully, so you don't break up the tofu or the tomatoes.
Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2-4. This soup is finished when it is fully hot, and the flavors have combined nicely.
Ours ended up sitting on warm for an additional 3 hours, and was fine. When in doubt, use the shortest amount of cooking time, and let the pot stay on warm.
Garnish with fresh lime slices.
I am proud of this soup. It had a great flavor, without being overpowering or too spicy. I paired it with Korean Ribs (but I used stew meat this time) and coconut rice.
Both of my girls tasted the soup before our company arrived, and liked it, but I made this for the adults. The kids had buttered pasta with shredded cheese.