I’ve been on a soup kick lately and I’m trying some new recipes. I drew my inspiration for this Thai Coconut Curry Soup based on the ingredients I needed to use up at home. I wanted to finish up the baby bok choy and tofu in my fridge and I’ve had a few cans of light unsweetened coconut milk in my fridge for some time.
My first instinct with coconut milk is usually to create a traditional curry, but I decided to change it up and go for a soup. This one has Thai flavors, and even though I didn’t have any lemongrass on hand, this soup has a nice balance of heat from the hot peppers and sour from the vinegar. I did use Thai red curry paste in this recipe to develop the flavor of the broth. Although this recipe uses chicken broth, you can easily turn this into a vegetarian or vegan delight by using vegetable broth and omitting the fish sauce. You can also control the heat by adding more sriracha sauce and topping the soup with Thai chilies or decreasing the sriracha and omitting the chilies. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on fresh herbs and the squeeze of lime juice before serving, these are the elements that amp up the soup and balances the coconut curry flavors.
THAI COCONUT CURRY SOUP
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced, divided
1 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons of finely grated fresh ginger
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (lowfat coconut milk will work too)
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
3 cups firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 pounds baby bok choy (about 12-15 stalks), washed and trimmed
1 jalepeno pepper or Thai chili sliced into thin rings
1 small bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
a few sprigs of Thai basil
In a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add all but a few slices of red onion (this will be used later for topping the soup). Cook the onions for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, and bell peppers.
Stir and cook for another 6-7 minutes until the onions and peppers are softened, then add the broth and bring the soup to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and the curry paste to combine well.
After the soup comes to a boil, add the coconut milk and curry paste mixture. Bring to a boil again, then stir in the rice vinegar, sriracha sauce, and fish sauce, if using.
Add the tofu and bok choy and simmer the soup. Stir very carefully so as not to break up the tofu. Once the bok choy wilts, you are ready to serve.
Scoop the soup into bowls, and top generously with fresh cilantro, basil, hot peppers an a squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!