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coconut-soup-1coconut-soup-2It was so cold this morning that it hurt to breathe through my nose. I would have cursed the day I got a dog except that she was so happy running around the frozen meadow that it gave me the strength to endure the cold after all.

This is the kind of weather that requires a very hot bath, very hot tea, and very hot, spicy soup.

Ingredients for a big pot of soup
Serves 4-6
vegetable oil
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste* (or more if you like it spicier)
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1 palm-sized bit of dried kelp or kombu (optional)
1-2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 can coconut cream or coconut milk (use less water, if using milk instead of cream)
1 – 2 tsp palm sugar
Combination of sliced/chopped vegetables, such as 1 cup mushrooms, 2 cups dark leafy greens of choice (kale, spinach, dandelion, chard, etc) 1 cup bell peppers, 1/2 cup baby corn
1 cup firm tofu
Large handful of cilantro/coriander
green onion or chives
Serve with glistening rice noodles, fat chewy udon or sticky jasmine rice

*I used homemade vegan kaeng kua red curry paste. Recipe coming soon!! In the meantime, this is the High-Heel Gourmet’s excellent post about homemade red curry paste.

1) For a bit of extra flavor, bring vegetable stock to a boil and add in the kelp/kombu. Simmer for ten minutes then remove kelp.
2) Heat up a large soup pot with 2-3 tbsp of oil, enough to coat the bottom. Then add the curry paste (recipe for vegan kaeng kua red curry paste coming soon) and fry the paste until cooked and fragrant. Do not burn!!
3) Add in half the can of coconut cream or the thick part of the coconut milk first. Stir and cook until the oil starts to separate in the pan. At this point, add in the remaining coconut cream/milk, and the vegetable stock. Then add in palm sugar and a splash of soy sauce. Only use light soy sauce as a darker soy sauce will affect the color of the soup.
4) Once at boiling point, turn heat to low and simmer while preparing vegetables.
5) Wash and slice mushrooms and peppers. Wash and chop the greens to desired size (I used dandelion greens and they were delicious. The bitter flavor cooked out of them by the time I ate the soup). Cut the tofu into bite-size cubes. (I used slices of tofu sheets in my soup as that is all I had).
6) Add the vegetables and tofu into the soup broth and simmer till cooked, about 10 or 15 minutes.
7) Cook noodles or rice according to packet and set aside for serving.
8) When ready to eat the soup, add the chopped spring onion, chopped fresh cilantro/coriander and a squeeze of lime juice at the end. This is a key ingredient to freshen the soup with the cilantro and lime and also add the vital sour note from the fresh lime juice.
9) Taste the soup and adjust seasoning if needed.
10) Garnish soup with extra cilantro and lime. Serve with noodles or rice.