Yesterday at dinnertime I had two recipes bookmarked: one for Tom Kha Gai (a Thai soup made with coconut milk and lime) and another for Cauliflower Curry Soup. I ended up melding these recipes into a light yet satisfying soup that my whole family enjoyed. Some of the ingredients are a little obscure, but never fear– I suggested some affordable substitutions. This recipe serves 6, and will take 45 minutes or so to pull together, since there’s a fair bit of chopping involved. But the yummy flavor is well worth the effort.
- 4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 3 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut in bite sized pieces
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1 tsp dry)
- juice from 1 lime
- zest from 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or to be authentic use galangal if you have it– I didn’t)
- 1 15-ounce can coconut milk (or make your own by soaking 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut in 2 cups of warm milk for a few minutes. Then whiz with an immersion blender. At this point you can strain out the coconut and discard it, adding only the milk to the soup. Or you can do like I did and just toss the coconut in the soup too.)
1. Begin by chopping the onions into thin slices and the carrots into coins. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy pot on medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and cook until the onions have some browned bits and the carrots are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. While this is cooking, cube the chicken bite size. When the onions and carrots have some color, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pot and set aside in a bowl. Now add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the fish sauce and the cubed chicken to the pot. Cook on medium-high until chicken is browned on several sides, about 5-10 minutes. (If this is your first experience with fish sauce, it is alarmingly pungent. Don’t worry– it imparts a wonderful flavor to the chicken.)
3. Once the chicken is browned, add the chicken broth to the pot and return the carrots and onions to the pot as well. Cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces and add to the pot. Here’s where you also add the cilantro, the ginger, and the zest from the lime.
4. Turn the pot down to medium and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes or so. At this point the cauliflower and carrots should be easy to pierce with a fork, but not so soft that they are falling apart.
5. Add the mushrooms and the coconut milk to the pot, letting it very gently simmer for 3-5 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice and add salt to taste. You can also add just a dab more butter if desired. Serve and enjoy!