Coconut Green Curry Soup
The first time I tasted green curry, my mind was blown. Believe it or not, I had no idea that curry sauce existed that didn’t contain the curry spice blend. The spice curry is actually a blend of other spices including turmeric, cumin, and coriander, among other things. But Thai green curry has an entirely different flavor profile that includes really bright ingredients like lemongrass, galangal (a relative of ginger), cilantro, chilies, and lime leaves. I love food and I love learning about food, but Asian food knowledge is not particularly in my wheelhouse. As much as I enjoy different varieties of Asian food, I don’t eat it often. This is entirely due to the fact that many of those cuisines use ingredients and sauces that often contain shellfish, to which I am highly allergic. The sensitivity of my allergy is such that even using the same cooking utensil for my boring old chicken after using it for a batch of shrimp can create a problem, so I have come to avoid certain restaurants because the risk of cross-contamination is so great.
That’s not to say that I can’t make these foods at home, but with the exception of my new egg roll bowl obsession, I don’t very often. And let’s be honest, egg roll bowl is hardly authentic. The thing is, I tend to gravitate towards foods and flavors that I am comfortable with. I love lemon, rosemary, and olives. Ginger, chocolate, any fruit? Sign me up! But curry is not something that I use often either in spice or sauce form.
Needless to say, when Ray brought home a frozen bag of Thai curry for me one day, thinking it would be a good dinner for me on nights when he and the kids were getting something quick on their own that I couldn’t eat, I inwardly cringed. Thai curry? I’m not sure what that even is, but I’ve never had it and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Color me surprised when I made it a week later and it was AMAZING. It had the most fantastic combination of flavors – coconut, ginger, lemongrass, basil. And suprisingly, no curry powder to be found. Apparently just because a dish is labeled “curry” it doesn’t necessarily have the spice blend called curry in it. There are Thai curries that have curry powder in them, but traditionally, green curry sauce does not. Traditionally green curry paste also has shrimp in it, but you can find bottled curry paste without it. Clearly, making my own Thai green curry is going to be the way to go, which works well because this soup is so delicious.
The frozen dinner Ray brought had an interesting combination of vegetables – sweet potatoes, roasted red peppers, and spinach, which I replicated in this soup. It also included tofu, but since I’m not vegetarian, I added chicken instead.
This soup is hearty thanks to the chicken and sweet potatoes, but it has a surprisingly bright taste due to the lemongrass and galangal in the green curry paste. Using bottled green curry paste helps this soup to come together pretty quickly. I usually roast my peppers first and let them hang out steaming in the foil while I prep the rest of the ingredients.
As with most soups that I make, this one freezes well, so if you make a big pot, it won’t go to waste! It is also easily adaptable if you would prefer to switch up the vegetables. I really love the combination of sweet potatoes and smoky red peppers, but feel free to use whatever veggies you like.
Makes approximately 7 1.5 cup servings.
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 oz. Thai green curry paste
- 1 T. minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 T. grated fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 red peppers, halved
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cans light coconut milk
- 2 T. coconut aminos
- 3 cups cooked chicken
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced (2 1/2 cups)
- 6 oz. fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup sliced basil
- 1. To roast the peppers, remove the seeds from the inside of each pepper half. Flatten each half on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, skin side up. Broil on high for approximately 7-10 minutes, or until the skin is blackened all over. Remove peppers from the oven and gather the foil from the pan, pinching around the sides to make a sealed packet. Allow the peppers to steam inside the foil packet for 20 minutes. Carefully open up the foil and remove the peppers. Peel the blackened skins from the flesh of the peppers and discard. Chop peppers.
- 2. Saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add ginger and garlic, cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add curry paste and cook for approximately 1 minute, mixing paste into onion, ginger, and garlic.
- 3. Slowly pour in coconut milk and stir until curry paste is well incorporated.
- 4. Add peppers, sweet potatoes, chicken, and broth. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.
- 5. Add spinach and basil and cook for 5 minutes, until spinach is wilted.
- Makes approximately 7 1.5 cup servings
- Soup freezes well.