my version of tom kha: thai coconut soup

my sister and i rendezvous at our favorite thai restaurant for lunch more often than i’d like to admit. we always start with a pot of green tea and the thai coconut soup (tom kha), which we gulp down practically before we say hello (only a slight exaggeration)! this morning i got up literally thinking about the soup-which could have had something to do with the fact that it was hailing (in {sunny} san diego this is quite a rare event….ehem…) just as we were waking up. even though the storm has now passed, and i could venture out for some soup or perhaps all the ingredients to (attempt to) make it, i decide to stay put and go rummaging in my pantry and refrigerator for the ingredients. this soup has always seemed rather exotic and out of reach to me, but i’ve looked at several recipes, and have a general idea of what i need to possibly make it work at home. the good news is i usually have a pretty well stocked pantry-so i quickly grab some shallots and garlic, ginger root (instead of the recommended galangal), two cans of coconut milk (a staple in my pantry), and a couple of limes before looking in my refrigerator for the essential lemongrass (yipee! had three stalks), cilantro, kaffir lime leaves (slightly dried up-but still), thai chili peppers (nope), and fish sauce (yeessss). from what i’ve gathered, this is a rather easy soup to make if you have all (or most of) the ingredients. this is what i used to make my oh-so-deliciously-fragrant soup (success!) based on what i had available:
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 3 shallots
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 12 (more or less) kaffir lime leaves
  • 5-6 stalks of fresh lemongrass
  • fresh ginger root or galangal (about 1/4 cup)
  • a small bunch of cilantro (use the stalks for the broth and the leaves as garnish)
  • 3-4 tbs good fish sauce
  • thai chili peppers (to taste)-i substituted green chili peppers
  • 3-4 limes
  • 4 tbs raw cane sugar
  • 12-15 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, julienned (thinly sliced)
1. process the ingredients: cut the tops off the lemongrass and cut in half, then smash (crush) them a bit to release the flavors, peel and cut the shallots, peel and crush the garlic cloves, cut the peppers in half, peel and crush the ginger or galangal, crush the lime leaves, and cut the stalks off the cilantro (save the leaves for later). there is often white chicken meat or shrimp added to this soup, but i prefer mine (almost) vegetarian except for the fish sauce (which you could substitute with sea salt or tamari).
2. pour the coconut milk in your soup pot with about 1/2-1 cup water (or you can add chicken broth), then add the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, peppers, ginger or galangal, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro stalks, fish sauce, and cane sugar. bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes with the lid on (partially).
3. pour the soup through a mesh sieve, then add the resulting broth back to the pot with the mushrooms, red bell peppers, and lemon juice (juice of 2-3 limes). heat the soup back up (for just a minute or two) and remove just before boiling.
4. serve with a lime wedge, a few thin slices of chili pepper (spicy), and lots of fresh cilantro leaves. can you feel your sinuses clearing up as we speak?
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let’s make soup, shall we? butternut squash soup with coconut cream & a hint of nutmeg

butternut squash soupthere’s nothing like a good bowl of delicious piping hot {home made} soup to make you feel  like you’re right where you’re supposed to be. it warms you as it fills you up, rounds out the edges, and makes you feel balanced somehow. content. at home. or is it just me? i miss my grandma more and more each day. i yearn for her voice, her gentle touch, her quiet presence, and her warm embrace. it’s impossible for me to make a pot of soup or stew (or food of any kind, really), without feeling her warm presence around me. guiding me. making me feel  safe and whole. at home. that’s what it is-the connection i feel with soup{making}…it’s that kind of food. one of the main reasons why i make it as often as i do. The other (rather important) reason is  that i’m trying, yet again, to cut out the processed grains and things i’m told (repeatedly) do not like me or my joints as much as i seem to enjoy them. soooo, moving reluctantly towards more vegetable based soups, proteins, salads, and less grains: rice, wheat, {flour} pasta, sugar. waaaahhhhhhh! do i have to?  yesidoyesidoyesido. if this butternut squash soup is any indication, things will be just fine-it was deeeeeliciouuuussss: slightly sweet, satisfyingly creamy, and perfectly rounded with  the touch of nutmeg and coconut cream. smiling wide as i remember something important-we have leftovers!

minette’s butternut squash soup for 4-6:

  • cooking minette's butternut squash soup1 small/medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed (about 1.5 to 2 cups)
  • 3-4 stalks of organic celery, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, cubed (or 2 leeks cleaned carefully and chopped)
  • 4 cups good quality (preferably homemade) chicken broth (or broth of choice)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (or substitute with ground cumin if you prefer)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coconut cream (or cream)
  • 2 tsp virgin unrefined coconut oil (or olive oil)
  1. heat the oil in a heavy soup pot, then add the onions and celery, sauté for two minutes before adding butternut squash, salt, & pepper to taste. sauté on med/high until softened (while stirring frequently), about 5-7 minutes.
  2. add broth (a very important component-a good home made one will make the soup so much better), bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until squash pieces can be mashed with a fork. add nutmeg (or cumin) and simmer another 5-10 minutes (your liquid should have reduced quite a bit by now).taste and adjust seasoning. blend with an immersion blender or by pouring carefully into a blender.
  3. serve with a drizzle of coconut cream.
  4. enjoy the deliciouscreamywarmth  you are about to experience.


nminette's soup

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how to make a silky & delicious cream of broccoli soup in a matter of minutes

cooking minette's broccoli soupwhat do you do when you are feeling completely overwhelmed with the {cooking} work and preparation you have ahead of you (yes, thanksgiving, with all it’s glor{y}ous food, lovely visiting family and many gatherings is moving in fast and furious), but you still have to feed your family (and your hungry self) before you can tackle the beast? you make a quick, easy, creamy, and super comforting soup that not only gives you a good dose of nutrients and energy, but reminds you of how much fun you’ll be having preparing and enjoying the grand feast (rhymes with beast, but more appropriate) you look forward to every year! now that’s the attitude (change i was looking for)-thanks to the most satisfying bowl of soup i’ve had in a while. time to pull up my sleeves and prepare for giving thanks. what a beautiful thing. a happy thanksgiving to you and yours!

cream of broccoli & leek soup for 4-6:

easiest broccoli soup

  • 2 cups organic broccoli, rough chopped (stems peeled and cut in small pieces)
  • 1 large or 2 small organic leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced and washed by soaking in water (in a colander within a larger bowl of cold water works well)
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil (or virgin unrefined coconut oil)
  • 3-4 cups good quality (preferably homemade) chicken broth (or vegetarian)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon (adjust amount to your taste)
  • optional: 2 tbs cream or coconut milk
  1. heat the oil in a deep soup pot or dutch oven, then add the washed & drained leeks and broccoli with a touch of sea salt and sauté on medium heat allowing the vegetables to reduce while stirring for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. add chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes (up to 30 minutes)
  3. add freshly ground pepper and lemon juice. blend carefully with an immersion blender (or transfer to blender or food processor and blend, then return to pot and bring the heat back up before serving).
  4. serve with a touch of cream or coconut milk (thicker is better).

cooking minette soups



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