Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April 20, 2009: Leftover makeover - Thai coconut soup

The clever guests at our Vegan Indian Potluck knew not to fill up on bland staples while there was such an abundance of vibrant curries (and pastries!) on offer. So, at the end of the night, we found ourselves with leftover curry to feed one, a big saucepan of dried-out rice, and a last unopened packet of roti. (There were also a number of mushrooms, leftover from pizza, slumbering in the fridge.) With a wisp of winter in the air, I planned a big pot of soup filled out with rice; if I could track down a Thai or Indian-inspired number, then the roti would make a perfect side!

Our Moosewood cookbook's been sitting neglected for a while (Chinese-style bbq sauce recipe excepted), yet it almost instantly provided an answer when I opened it - a Thai-style soup with mushrooms, tofu, lemongrass stock and coconut milk. I took the author's advice and doubled the quantity of stock, freezing half of it for later. I took some liberties, though, regarding rice and spice. The recipe didn't include any rice but I happily up-ended 2-3 cups of it into the simmering soup. While Moosewood recipes are often verdant with herbs, they're a little timid with the spices; I increased their pinch of cayenne to several rigorous shakes.

The result was just was we (and our over-burdened fridge) needed - smooth and filling, with that Thai team of heat, sweetness, limey tang and a touch of salt. But it's not quite a match for Lucy's tofu in lemongrass broth.

Thai coconut soup
(based on a recipe in Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)

lemongrass stock
6 cups water
3 fresh lemongrass stalks, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek or onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
6cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 x 400mL can coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
200g firm tofu, sliced into cubes
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cups cooked basmati rice
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the stock, put all the ingredients in a large saucepan, bring them to the boil, then cover and simmer them for 35 to 45 minutes. Drain the vegetables from the stock, squeezing them to get as much liquid as possible.

For the soup, return the stock to the saucepan and add the coconut milk, lime juice, cayenne and turmeric. Bring it to a simmer before adding the tofu, mushrooms, rice, coriander and salt then cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve the soup garnished with extra coriander leaves.


  1. I could eat a large bowl of this right now - you have got me yearning for a nice coconutty asian soup

  2. I could just drink this without the rice. That is my inner cold talking. Need to get warm ASAP

  3. After a gorgeous week, the weather certainly seems to have turned - I think we could all do with a soup stash now. :-)