Last night while figuring out what kind of soup to make (we felt like soup!), I saw the little bottle of World Foods Red Curry Paste in the cupboard and thought I’d make some kind of Thai inspired soup with some thin Chinese wheat noodles we had in the freezer. One thing led to another and I realized I was making something like tom kha, Thai coconut soup. I didn’t think to use lemongrass, and red curry paste doesn’t normally go in tom kha, so while not authentic the flavor is still tom kha-y!
Kaffir lime leaves and galangal are really key to giving this soup an amazing flavor. You can get both at a Thai or big Asian market like 99 Ranch. They also freeze well, which makes them easy to have on hand. I used to see kaffir lime leaves in recipes, but it wasn’t until I bought it that I realized how much I recognized it in Thai dishes. Galangal is a really interesting root that looks kind of like ginger, but tastes totally different. While I love ginger, I don’t think it is a good substitute. Better to use dried galangal even though it still doesn’t compare to the fresh stuff. The taste is hard to explain but it almost tastes a little mustard-like and strangely medicinal. If you get some, cut it into little chunks and freeze it since it is really hard to slice frozen.
I used onions, carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli and cabbage for the vegetables, but you could also use mushrooms, baby corn and any kind of vegetable really. You could also add tofu.
1/2 onion very thinly sliced
Coconut oil for frying
1 tablespoon more coconut oil
1/2 onion sliced
1 small carrot sliced
1/4 red bell pepper julienne
~1 cup broccoli sliced into little flourets
3 tablespoons World Foods Red Curry Paste (or other red curry paste – you might want to use less of another version, this one isn’t very spicy)
5 kafir lime leaves crushed a little
3 slices galangal
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1/2 to 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
4 cups water & 1 1/2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base or vegetable stock/broth
1 tiny can coconut milk (5.6 ounces)
~1 cup cabbage sliced
Juice from 1/2 a lime
2 green onions
- Heat just enough coconut oil to deep fry onions in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Add thinly sliced onions and fry until brown and crispy. Remove with tongs or a slotted spatula and drain on a paper towel covered plate.
- Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a medium sauce pan and add onions. Saute for a minute or two, then add carrots, bell pepper and broccoli, and continue to cook for a another couple of minutes.
- Add red curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, palm sugar, sambal oelek, water and bouillon or vegetable stock, coconut milk and cabbage. Cook until the flavors meld and the cabbage is tender.
- Add lime juice.
- Pour over noodles and top with fried onions and green onions.