Chicken coconut curry soup

curry soup-2

 

A few weeks ago, I was stuck in a rut with dinner ideas.  I posted this on Facebook, asking for my friends’ recent favorite recipes.  I got a list of very exciting suggestions.  One of them came from an old friend, Don.  I tried it, and it was a total success.  The curry was so flavorful and fragrant.  I used some pretty potent curry powder, so the dish was quite spicy (and therefore I didn’t give this to the kiddos).  Cliff and I both loved it.  I served it over rice, and it was so delicious and warms you up from the inside on a cool night.

Thanks, Don!!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (I used Trudy Ann’s curry powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs (I used drumsticks)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces and bruised with the flat side of a knife
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled, cut into 3 slices and bruised with the flat side of a knife
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 carrots, peeled, cut on the diagonal into 2/3-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch cube

Garnishes:

  • 1/2 cup Asian basil leaves, cut in half
  • 8 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Direction:

1. Combine 2 tablespoons of the curry powder and the salt in a bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat the meat evenly. Set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a medium pot over moderate heat. Add the shallot, garlic, chili paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon curry powder, and stir until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the chicken and cook until the edges of the pieces are golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, ginger and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Add the carrots and cook for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, onion and sweet potato and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with Asian basil, cilantro and scallions, and serve.

 

Hot and sour soup

When the weather started cooling off, I started craving soup.  A bowl of hot, steamy soup for dinner is better than anything on a cool night.

One of the easiest hot soups I know how to make is the Chinese hot and sour soup.  It’s pretty foolproof, and you can change up the ingredients to pretty much any veggies you like.  For protein, you can use chicken or pork.  I stick with tofu, because my kids like tofu.

The “hot” part of the soup comes from white pepper.  White pepper doesn’t burn your taste buds like hot chilli does, but it warms you up from the inside.  I find it a lot more pleasant than brutally hot chilli peppers.

Hot and sour soup-0220

***Edit: I just bought some fresh white pepper from Parthenon, and boy was it spicyyyy!  I suggest using a few dashes of whatever white pepper you have first, and adjust as needed.***

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of medium firm tofu, cut into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup black fungus (Wood Ear) or Cloud Ear fungus, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and cut into thin strips
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red rice vinegar, white rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Cilantro for garnish

Direction:

1. Heat a little oil in the pot and sautee carrot sticks for a minute.  Turn the heat on high and add chicken broth, tofu, bamboo shoots, black fungus, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and white pepper.  Bring to boil, and turn the heat down low to simmer for 15 minutes, until the carrot sticks are tender.

2. Add in the dissolved cornstarch to thicken the soup.  Adjust seasoning.

3. Turn the heat up high for 1 minute so the soup starts to boil again.  Turn the heat off.  Slowly drizzle the beaten egg into the soup while stirring the soup.

4. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Low fat cream of asparagus soup

When it’s cold out, I crave soup.  I saw an asparagus soup recipe a while back that looked good, but I wanted some creaminess to it, and I lacked some of the ingredients called for.  So I added a bit of low fat milk to the soup, using ingredients I have on hand, and it was quite good.  It’s super duper easy to make, super low fat/calories.  Both Cliff and I liked it a lot, and even Joshua enjoyed it.

Since I just did with whatever I had on hand without following a recipe, all measurements are totally estimated.

Cream of asparagus soup

Cream of asparagus soup

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

  • 2 bunches of asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces (you can save the top to blanch separately and decorate the soup with it, or just throw it all in to make the soup)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • chicken stock (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 1% milk (2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • salt, pepper, grapeseed oil

Direction:

Heat a heavy bottom sauce pan, add grapeseed oil, and saute the chopped onion on medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add cumin to onion, and cook another minute.

Add asparagus pieces and chicken stock, turn heat up high to bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Let the soup mixture cool a bit, then puree the soup mixture in a blender.

Return the pureed soup back to the sauce pan, add milk to the desired creaminess.  Heat the soup on medium low heat (do not boil).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in lemon juice.  Serve as is, or add blanched asparagus top for decoration.  If you have some sour cream or greek yogurt, I bet it’ll be really nice to add a dollop to the soup as well.