Years ago, when I lived in New York, there was an unassuming little Thai restaurant.
I can’t remember the name but it was on 16th Street in Chelsea.
I happened by there for the first time after a day of rollerblading all around (my primary means of transport in Manhattan) and I only had a couple of bucks in my pocket, so I bought a little container of lemongrass soup.
I sat outside on the curb and peeled open the plastic lid, my eyes widening as a delicate but complex fragrance wafted out. What was this heavenly concoction?
I ate it right there with a plastic spoon, and went back dozens of times—never getting a single other item on the menu. I couldn’t! I had to have the soup.
Following is my best effort to replicate the goodness—which I was forced to do after leaving NYC and coming out to the Chicago burbs—and if I put it in a plastic container and served it to you with a plastic spoon, you’d have a hard time telling the difference between my recipe and the original.
Curried Coconut Soup with Lemongrass
- 2 tbl grapeseed oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb ginger, grated (I freeze my ginger which makes it last forever and allows for super easy grating)
- 1 fresh Thai (or any other) chili, seeded and minced
- 3 stalks lemongrass, peeled, trimmed and minced
- 1 tbl mild curry powder
- 1-2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced, stems discarded (any mushroom will work here in a pinch)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can coconut milk, either light or regular
- 2 tbl tamari or soy sauce
- juice of one lime
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
Heat oil, add onion, sauté 10 minutes or until it begins to brown. Lower heat and cook onion five more minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, lemongrass and curry and sauté one more minute. Add mushrooms, sauté one more minute. Add stock, salt and pepper, bring to boil , simmer 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and soy sauce, cook five more minutes. Turn off heat, check seasonings, adding more tamari, salt or pepper as needed. Stir in lime juice and serve, garnishing with scallions and cilantro.
*To make this a heartier dish, toss in one package extra firm tofu, pressed, drained and cubed when you add the broth.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard