I have tried to write this post for a few days now, finding it kind of out of place. With so many people suffering right now, I felt a sort of guilt that I have the luxury to write a blog post about soup whereas for many this would be the last thing on their mind. I couldn’t find a way to fit it together without sounding forced. Usually I have an idea about what my blog post is going to be about. Here I am just typing, whatever words come out, I don’t know. Let’s hope it makes some sense.
The world has been a tumultuous place lately–revolutions, earthquakes, floods, poverty, slavery, injustice. I guess these things have always existed, maybe I just notice more now, now that I’m older and not as aloof as I used to be. I watch the news in a daze sometimes, in awe of the hate and the suffering in the world. My eyes often well up with tears and I hold them in. My husband would tease me and call me a softy. I feel safe where I am, just as people all over the world feel safe in their homes, eating meals cooked by loves ones everyday. Sometimes we are shaken, as life can throw a curve at us. It’s amazing how resilient the human spirit can be–how strong we are.
We do what we have to to get by. A mother will still look after her children even when her world is shaken. She will find a way to feed and comfort them. Eating gives us fuel, gives us a feeling of the familiar. We all have our favorite meals and sometimes when you sit down to a meal after a long hard day, you can unwind and just relish in food.
This Thai Soup is a family favorite. Usually in restaurants, it’s called Tom Yum Goong, but I couldn’t find lime leaves, galangal, and Thai Basil, so I improvised. The results were still delicious. I also added coconut milk, because something about the aroma of coconut milk soothes the soul–comfort. Chilies and spiciness are also soothing for me. We always ask for our Thai food extra spicy. Sometimes we regret it, but most times we enjoy the fiery spice. How ever you like your soup, enjoy it and take a minute or two to reflect on life and be grateful for the small things.
Thai Style Soup with Shrimp
Vegetable oil of your choice
2 shallots, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised with a knife and roughly chopped
zest and juice of one lime
6 dried red chilies, or to taste and a few extra for the broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
15 sprigs of cilantro, stems included
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, any size you prefer
crimini mushrooms, quartered
handful of pea pods, optional
6-8 cups chicken stock
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 3/4 cup coconut milk, I used light
1 red chili, sliced
1 green chili, sliced
cilantro, basil, limes, for garnish (or any combination)
Put the shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime zest/juice, dried red chilies, brown sugar, and cilantro springs in a food process and pulse until it forms a smooth paste.
Next, heat a large pot on medium and heat about 1 tablespoon of oil and add the paste to the oil and mix for 3-4 minutes. Add in the chicken stock and mix the paste and chicken stock well so tat they become uniform. Taste for salt, and add salt, if necessary. Also, throw in a few extra dried red chilies into the broth, optional.
Cook until the stock boils, once the stock boils add in the coconut milk and let it come to a boil again. Add in the fish sauce and let the soup boil until you can see the oil separately.
Add in the mushrooms, pea pods, and shrimp and cook until the shrimp turns pink. Garish with the red and green chilies, cilantro, basil, limes. Serve hot.
A few other recipes of Thai Soup:
**A good breakdown of a few organizations you can donate through for earthquake/tsunami relief via Slow Like Honey**