Sunday, May 15, 2011

Malaysian Coconut Curry Soup

I try not to use coconut milk in my cooking on a regular basis because it is high in saturated fat, even though the saturated fat comes from a plant source.  However, I read that some studies have shown that people in countries who consume large amounts of coconut milk, or cook with coconut oil usually have a lower rate of heart disease.  They attribute this to their overall diet and the use of fresh fruits, vegetables and tofu/tempeh when preparing dishes that use coconut derived products.  

So for my Malaysian Coconut Curry Soup, I decided to use a combination of lite coconut milk, full-fat coconut milk and vegetable broth.  If you are really concerned about the amount of saturated fat in your diet, then use lite coconut milk only.  Or, another option would be to purchase 8-10 ounces of coconut water and blend it with a 1/4 cup of organic silken tofu to obtain the creamy texture.  I have used this technique before and have received good results when making curries and stews.

(Serves 4)

2 tbsp lemongrass, finely minced (two stalks, bulbs only)
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup shallots, finely minced (about two medium)
2 red Thai chili peppers, seeds removed, finely minced
2 tbsp mild curry powder (Madras or other quality curry powder)
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp agave syrup or brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
4 cups vegetable broth
2 scallions, sliced thin on a bias
1 1/2-2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 package organic extra firm tofu, drained and diced
4 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 cups cooked Asian (egg free) noodles
Note:  I used Japanese Udon noodles because that is what I had in my pantry.  You can you rice noodles, ramen noodles or even jasmine or basmati brown rice.

  • Spray a large sauce pan with canola cooking spray and add shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chilies.  Cook on medium-low for a couple of minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
  • Add curry, turmeric, vegetable broth, scallions, agave syrup or brown sugar and the lime juice.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes for flavors to combine.
  • While broth is simmering, steam cauliflower until crisp-tender and set aside.  Also drain and dice tofu and set aside.
  • Cook noodles according to package, drain and keep warm until ready to use.
  • Add coconut milk to broth and bring to a medium simmer.  Just before serving, add cauliflower and tofu and heat through.
  • Portion 1/2 cup noodles in each bowl and ladle curry soup over top.
  • Garnish with desired condiments and serve with a lime wedge. 

1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup basil, finely shredded
1/4 cup scallions, sliced thinly on a bias
1-2 cups mung bean sprouts
Limes wedges

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