Spicy Thai-Style Shrimp and Vegetable Soup
Hi, everyone! I hope that you all have been enjoying the holidays! My hubby, Colin, and I just got back from celebrating Christmas with his side of the family in London, England. It's incredible how much there is to explore in that lovely city! When it was time to fly back to Indiana, we were keenly aware of the fact that it was going to be pretty darn chilly in the Hoosier state. As our plane landed in Indianapolis, the flight attendant indicated that the wind chill was around -11 degrees. Brr! This week some communities in our area have been experiencing a wind chill of -30 degrees!
So now that it's officially SUPER cold in the Midwest, Colin and I are all about a bowl of hot soup! Did I mention that we also LOVE Thai cuisine? With this in mind, I bring you my spicy Thai-style shrimp and vegetable soup!
When I first made this EASY dish, Colin fell in love with its spicy and creamy coconut broth. The heat from the serrano chile pepper combined with the red curry paste and freshly grated ginger will definitely warm you up! If you are not a fan of spicy foods, then I would omit the serrano chile entirely - or at the very least - avoid adding the seeds from the pepper to this soup (The vein/seeds contain the majority of the heat). You can also add a little bit of the serrano chile at a time to test the level of spice.
Another thing that I love about the scrumptious broth in this soup is that it compliments a wide variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, carrots, onion, garlic, scallions, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and bok choy. I added these particular vegetables to this soup because my family and I have always enjoyed them in Thai dishes, but feel free to experiment with different produce!
If you haven't cooked with the Asian green, bok choy, you'll find that the leaves wilt beautifully in this soup. In contrast, its stem maintains a crispy texture throughout the entire cooking process and looks somewhat like celery when it's chopped. To learn more about bok choy, click here.
The first time I made this dish, I used rice noodles - which were so good. But after realizing that Colin and I were flinging our broth everywhere - due to the noodles being much longer than spaghetti and not having cut them in half - I decided to use brown rice in my second and third trial runs. We discovered that it's much easier to eat this soup with the rice versus the noodles. It's also a fun way to add a heart-healthy whole grain to this dish.
My hope is that you and your loved ones will enjoy this soup just as much as my family and I do. After all, that's what this blog is really about. Bringing joy back into eating!
Yield: 6 servings
1/2 cup uncooked brown jasmine rice (Or basmati rice)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 cup sliced mushrooms (Cremini or Shiitake)
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin 1 inch strips (Or minced)
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced into thin 1 inch strips (Or minced)
3 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste (Adjust to taste)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 2/3 cups canned light coconut milk
*1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (Adjust to taste) (See cook's note)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
3 cups bok choy, roughly chopped
**1/4 to 1/2 serrano chile with seeds, minced (Add a little at a time to test the spice level) (See cook's note)
4 ounces canned bamboo shoots
1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice from 1 freshly squeezed lime
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, divided
Kosher salt (Adjust to taste)
*Fish sauce is a popular condiment frequently used in Southeast Asia. It's basically the liquid that is generated from fermented anchovies and salt. Fish sauce can be stinky. However, its strong aroma mellows out as it cooks in this soup. There are different types of fish sauce to choose from. You can read more about selecting fish sauce here. You can find fish sauce in most supermarkets, in addition to Asian markets.
** You might want to wear gloves when mincing the serrano chile to reduce your chances of experiencing skin irritation from the oil that's found in the pepper (Avoid touching your eyes when mincing this pepper). If you prefer spicy soup, add the seeds that are found in the serrano pepper to this dish. However, if you would like to reduce the spice level of this soup, you can remove and discard the serrano's vein - which contains the seeds - prior to adding the minced serrano chile to the soup. The vein is actually the part of the pepper that contains most of the heat. However, the compound, capsaicin, which is what makes the chile pepper spicy, often times comes into contact with the seeds, making them hot as well. Or omit the serrano pepper entirely to reduce the spice level of this soup (The red curry paste and grated ginger will still add spice to this dish).
1. First cook the rice according to the manufacturer's instructions, and set aside.
2. Next, heat oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and bell peppers to the same pot, stirring continuously for another 2 minutes.
3. Add the curry paste to the mixture, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Next, gradually add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and fish sauce to the pot, whisking until combined (About 1-2 minutes). Bring to a boil.
4. Next, toss in the shredded carrots, bok choy, serrano chile, bamboo shoots, and raw shrimp to the mixture and simmer for 3 minutes uncovered - or until the shrimp are cooked through. Add the lime juice, scallions, 1/2 cup of cilantro, and cooked rice. Stir mixture a few times and adjust seasonings to taste.
5. Place the remaining cilantro in a small bowl to serve as a garnish for the soup. Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy!