Tag Archives: coconut milk

Thai-Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

28 Jan

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Here’s an absolutely delicious soup from my recipe blogger friends at MediterrAsian.com. It’s smooth and creamy without being heavy (because it uses coconut milk instead of cream), and it has lots of beta carotene and fiber.

“Thai-spiced” here means flavorful, not spicy.

The recipe calls for 8 oz. of coconut milk, plus a little more for garnish. The can had 13.5 oz. What was I going to do with a half-cup of leftover coconut milk? I just threw it all in.

The original recipe calls for chopped cilantro on top. We don’t like cilantro, so we used chopped scallions. You could also use chives or parsley. And I whizzed it with an immersion blender. I used chopped cashews on the top, but then I noticed that the MediterrAsian folks used whole cashews for garnish. I also had roasted salted cashews on hand so I used those, and the soup was not at all salty, so if that’s what you’ve got, I say use ’em!.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. peanut oil
2 scallions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1½  Tbs. Thai red curry paste
28 oz. (800g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk, plus 4 Tbs. for garnish
½  cup roasted unsalted cashews, plus extra for garnish
3 Tbs. fish sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro for garnish (or parsley or scallion or chives)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Add the sweet potato, stock, coconut milk, cashews, fish sauce and brown sugar, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft. Remove from the heat and cool a little.

Puree the soup until smooth in two batches in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.

Return to the pot to reheat, and stir in the lemon juice.

Serve in bowls with a swirl of the reserved coconut milk, and garnish with cilantro (or parsley, scallion or chives) and reserved cashews.

Serves 4 to 6

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

17 Nov

lentil soup curry coconutHere’s another nice lentil soup recipe. I clipped it from the Detroit Free Press, which said they got it from Whole Foods. The coconut milk gives it a creamy consistency and just a hint of coconut flavor.

Don’t make the mistake I did and use ground red or cayenne pepper instead of chile pepper flakes — or if you do, use half as much. I like spice, and so my pot of soup was fine with a half-teaspoon of ground cayenne, but I wondered why the recipe said “or more to taste” when it was so spicy. Then I realized my error!

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. coconut or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. curry powder
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1½ cups red lentils, rinsed and sorted
Salt and pepper to taste
2 to 3 handfuls chopped spinach, kale, chard or other leafy green
Chopped cilantro, green onion and/or vegan sour cream for garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a stockpot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and stir-fry the onion, garlic and ginger a few minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomato paste, curry powder and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and lentils.

Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes, until lentils are very tender.

Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in the spinach or other green and garnish with cilantro, green onions and/or sour cream.

Serves 8 to 10

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup — and some Tuesday Tips

19 Nov

Roasted butternut squash soupThe main Tuesday Tip is that if you don’t already have an immersion blender, put it at the top of your holiday gift list. They’re not all that expensive, and they are invaluable whenever you want to make any kind of pureed soup, like this one. When you’ve got everything cooked and ready to puree, you just stick the immersion blender right in the pot, even if the contents are still hot, and whiz away. In just a few minutes, your dish will be creamy smooth — no need to ladle the stuff out into a counter-top blender in batches.

Another Tuesday Tip is that you can save a lot of time and effort, and spend just a little more money, by buying your squash already peeled and cubed at Trader Joe or Costco.

And the third and final Tuesday Tip is that if you do peel and cube the squash yourself, here is the easiest way to do it:

Cut a thin slice off the squash at both ends. Cut the squash in half crosswise, between the thin part and the part where it starts to bulge out. Then cut the bottom half in two lengthwise; you’ll now have three pieces. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the bottom pieces. Use a vegetable peeler to take the skin off in strips. Be sure to also peel off the thin green lines that lie just beneath the skin.

After you peel all three pieces, cut them into wedges or cubes for your recipe.

Here’s a very short video from Good Housekeeping that shows you how to do it.

This delicious soup recipe comes from Chef Paul Penney, also known as Aussie in the Kitchen. He used to do cooking demonstrations in the workplace for the health insurer provider that my employer used. It’s creamy without being high in fat, and the spices make it very flavorful but not hot.

Ingredients:

3 cups butternut squash, cut in ½-inch pieces
1 Tbs. fresh sage, chopped, or ½  tsp. dried
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
2¾ cups vegetable broth
6 oz. light coconut milk
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro or parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel squash and cut into pieces (or buy cubed squash at Trader Joe or Costco — you’ll want about 1 lb. for this recipe). Put it into a bowl with the sage and the olive oil and toss until the squash is coated. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The squash should be nicely browned. Set aside.

Heat 2 Tbs. butter or margarine and 1 Tbs. vegetable broth in a medium soup pot. Saute the onion in the butter and broth over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another minute. Add the turmeric and curry powder and mix well.

Add the squash and the broth. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the squash is tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Add the coconut milk and blend. Use an immersion blender if possible. If you don’t have one, blend in batches on low speed.

Thin with a little broth if necessary. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Garnish with chopped cilantro or fresh parsley.

Serves 4 to 6

Coconut Chicken and Couscous

12 Apr
Coconut Chicken with Couscous

Coconut Chicken with Couscous

Serendipity! Not only did I discover a recipe I really wanted to try but I had all the ingredients on hand, including some unusual ones that I was wondering how to use.

Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning may remember that I started it as part of the process of getting my recipes in order. I had a 4 x 6 index card file, started soon after Joe and I married. When that filled up, I started putting clippings and copied recipes in an accordion file divided into salads, soups, pastas and grains, poultry, etc. Then there was a manila folder with all the clippings I hadn’t had time to sort into categories for the accordion file. There were hundreds — maybe thousands! — of recipes, some of them more than 30 years old. Some were old favorites and some I had never made.

So I started going through them, putting the ones I knew I liked into a computer Word file, putting the ones I had never made but that looked really worth trying into yet another manila folder, and throwing away the rest — either duplicates or “no way am I ever going to make this.”

So far I’ve made it through the card file and about two-thirds of the accordion file. I have input more than 230 tried-and-true recipes into my online collection. The bulging manila folder still awaits.

This one was new!

Today’s recipe is one of those I had never made before but that looked worthwhile.

It came from some magazine or other; the only identifying information is “1997” at the bottom and a note that says the recipes (there must have been others in the article) were from Michele Peters and Cynthia DePersio.

The recipe is a bit complex but not difficult. Measure out all the ingredients at the beginning and the actual cooking will be a snap.

A couple of notes:

  • The recipe calls for “chicken cutlets” and I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead, so it took longer to cook than the recipe says — about 8 minutes on each side. When I make it again, I’ll cut the breasts in half horizontally and pound them thin so they’re more like cutlets.
  • The recipe also calls for cooking in a grill pan, which I don’t have — and it’s still too cold in Michigan to grill outdoors. I probably could have broiled the chicken breasts but I decided to cook them in a regular (not cast iron) skillet on the stovetop, and so I used a couple of teaspoons of oil at the beginning to get them going without sticking. I think grilling would give them a browner color that would provide more contrast with the white sauce.
  • We didn’t have a box of couscous, we had a 2-pound jar. I measured out 10 ounces, which the recipe calls for. This makes an enormous amount of couscous — more than we could eat in four servings. If you’re starting with bulk couscous, you may want to use 8 ounces instead of 10. (It would probably absorb the same amount of liquid — or you could cut back a little  on the chicken broth. Of course the couscous is good left over too, even if there’s no more chicken to go with it!
  • I think this dish would be equally good using rice instead of the couscous. Cook it as a pilaf with the same spices, using the coconut milk in place of some of the water you would normally use to cook it.

Ingredients:

Coconut Couscous:

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. grated ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced jalapeno chili
1 cup regular or light coconut milk (take it from a 14-oz. can and save the rest for the sauce, below)
1¼ cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
½ tsp. salt
1 box (10 oz.) couscous
1 Tbs. lime juice

Coconut Sauce:

6 oz. coconut milk
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. minced jalapeno chili
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

4 chicken cutlets (about 1 lb. total)
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Prepare ingredients for the couscous – but the cooking will take only 5 minutes, so you might want to hold off on the final step until you start cooking the chicken.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and 1 tsp. minced jalapeno and cook 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup coconut milk, chicken broth, peas and salt; bring to a boil.

Stir in the couscous and 1 Tbs. lime juice, remove from the heat, and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Heat a grill or a cast iron skillet for the chicken.

Combine the remaining coconut milk, 2 Tbs. lime juice, 1 tsp. minced jalpeno, cumin and salt. Pour ⅓ cup of the mixture into a shallow dish and add the chicken, turning to coat. Reserve remaining sauce.

Cook the chicken on the hot grill. If you use a non-cast iron skillet instead, heat it with 2 tsp. of oil at this point. Cook the chicken, turning once halfway and brushing with the reserved sauce. If you need to do this in two batches, keep the first batch warm on a covered plate.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and spoon onto dinner plates. Slice each chicken cutlet and arrange in the center.

If you have any sauce left over, bring it to the boil and pour it over the chicken. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Serves 4