Spice up your Monday with Light Thai Red Curry Vegetable Soup

So you guys know how I’m a little bit of a magazine addict, and I currently get over 13 mags per month? (Yup. Not even gonna pretend to be embarrassed, because I love reading ‘zines in the tub.) Let’s see — I get Glamour, Marie Claire, Bon Appetit, Vegetarian Times, Cooking Light, All You, Orange Coast, Los Angeles, Self, Shape, Yoga Journal, Bicycling and Fast Company. I’m sure there’s a few more too, because my awesome FitBloggin’ Secret Santa got me some new mags to immerse myself in.

One of my favorite things about the cooking magazines is mindlessly thumbing through the pages and dreaming about what I might soon cook. When I saw this recipe from Vegetarian Times, I knew I had to try it. You can see their official recipe here; and what’s listed below is my adapted version. I used chicken broth instead of veggie because it’s what I had on hand, and added cilantro, fresh garlic and kaffir lime leaves. Really minimal swaps in the grand scheme of things, and didn’t change the nutritional content, but if you’d like to use the original recipe, you can grab it here.

LightRedCurryVegetableSoup_ThaiFood_DoubleChinDiary

This soup is SOUP-er (har har) light, with each 1 & 1/3 cup serving coming in at only 105 calories and 4g of fat. So light, so yummy, and so, so flavorful. If you’re not a fan of spice, you may want to tone down the amount of curry paste to maybe 1 and 1/2 tablespoons only, because it has a good bite to it. Personally, I say bring it on — I knew it was a good cuppa’ soup when my nose was running. This recipe makes a ton, easily enough for four people. Make it for dinner one night and then save the rest for lunches through out the week. We served it with grilled chicken thighs and rice cooked with 1 tbsp turmeric and 1/2 cup of peas. You could easily serve this with noodles, rice, or crunchy wonton strips.

Per 1 1/3-cup serving:

  • Calories: 105
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Total Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 618 mg
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Sugar: 5 g

Red Curry Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

30 minutes or fewer

Thai red curry paste provides the spicy base for this soup. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand for the cauliflower and green beans.
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 12 oz. cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (3 cups)
  • 4 large green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2.5 Tbs. Thai red curry paste, such as Thai Kitchen or Mae Ploy
  • 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-oz. can petite diced tomatoes in juice
  • ¾ cup light coconut milk
  • 1.5 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups or so)
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • 4 cloves peeled, chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Five kaffir lime leaves, snapped in half and then torn into the soup. Can’t find Kaffir lime leaves? You can use regular lime leaves, or just double up on the lime juice.

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower, chopped garlic and white parts of green onions; sauté 5 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown. Add curry paste, and sauté 1 minute more.

2. Add broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Add coconut milk and green beans, and simmer 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.

4. Stir in lime juice, cilantro, lime leaves, remaining green onions. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

So, do you think you’ll give it a try? I found it the perfect light but exotic warm soup for this chilly, rainy Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re having trouble finding things like curry paste, coconut milk and lime leaves in stores near you, you can always order from ImportFood.com.

 

 

 

The Junk Food of Asian Cuisine

Thanks to the glories of LivingSocial, Matt and I took a Thai cooking class yesterday for a mere $35 a piece. I consider myself a pretty confident cook, and I’ve always wanted to take cooking classes. In fact, I humor myself sometimes and imagine life without j-school, and what it would have been like if I had ditched my love of words and instead, learned the culinary arts. (Now I know I’m too much of a pansy to survive in an industrial kitchen – I’m way too sensitive to be scolded about things like uneven julienne or bad knife technique).


The chef preparing some noms

Our class was at a really cool industrial test kitchen called Surfa’s Chef Paradise. Our class subject was Thai, which the teacher informed us was the “Junk food of asian cuisine” due to all the coconut milk, sugar and oil. The teacher was very no-nonsense and east-coast, but was also informative and professional. At one point, Matt was delegated the task of cutting the raw chicken into strips for satay, and she grabbed the tray after he’d done a few, and sharply said “These look nothing like I showed you. Do it again!”. I giggled for a few seconds at the wounded baby deer look on Matt’s face – cuz he’d just been TOLD by a professional chef. Matt, please pack your knives and go.


Chicken Satay, Finished Product!

We took the class with a friend of ours, and she brought her cool friend Heather. We had a good time talking shit as we were delegated our various cooking tasks – at one point, Heather was pulling tails off tiger shrimp and lining them up on a tray, and the teacher said, “That’s so cute, but they don’t need to be perfect.” We snarkily joked for the rest of the class that the teacher was threatened by Heather’s perfect shrimp-organizing skills.


Christina and Heather

I fried bean thread noodles, chopped bell pepper, de-stemmed mint leaves, and fried tofu. Good times. I also learned that you should never use olive oil on high heat (the smoking point increases carcinogens that can cause cancer), a fancy way to cut a bell pepper, and that to re-use a contaminated cutting board (that’s had raw meat on it) , you can just flip it over and use the other side.


Mee Krob with fried tofu and bean thread noodles

After we cooked, it was time to plate and eat! Everything we made was yummy, but my favorite was the Thai Pork salad – loaded with cabbage, cilantro, mint, peanuts, marinated pork, carrots, and a sesame-vinegar dressing. NOMS!


Thai Pork Salad

I had a glass of white wine and we chitchatted with the professor about her travels and cooking. All in all, it was a really fun and unique experience – and now I want to do it again, maybe this time for a baking class, since I’m not so much of a confident baker. Or, I’d be interested in taking a knife skills class, as I know my chopping and slicing skillz could get better, and I’d be at less risk of hacking off my finger. You know. It’s the small things that count! If you could take any type of cooking class, what would it be?


Yan Can Cook