Un-Thai Coconut Soup

by - March 30, 2012

There is a little Thai restaurant not far from our house. Too close, if you ask me, because the temptation to visit more than budget allows is dangerously strong. They have this Tom Ka (Thai coconut soup) that is to die for. Well, I was craving like no other, but being on both a time and money crunch, decided to make my own version. When I looked up recipes online to make Tom Ka, my excitement was quickly squashed as I read the need for fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, curry paste..... what?! Ya, those ingredients were most definitely NOT in my pantry. In searching my brain for substitutes, I stumbled upon this concoction. Try it and let me know what you think. My craving was satisfied and my husband asked for seconds. I call that success.


32 oz chicken broth (or vege broth to make it vegan)

half can of full-fat coconut milk

1/2 yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves

shiitake mushrooms (I use dehydrated)

half a cucumber, julienne

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup kale, chopped

5 green onion tops, finely chopped

fresh cilantro, to taste

lime zest and juice from one lime

small chunk of fresh ginger, grated (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)

You literally just dump all the ingredients in the pot and you're done. Quick and easy, my type of dinner. Saute onion and garlic in grapeseed oil, add broth followed by all other ingredients and simmer til warm. This recipe is very flexible. Add more or less of the seasonings, depending on what you like. More or less vegetables. You could always add julienne carrots, celery, zucchini to the soup. My husband and I added more cayenne to our bowls because we like spicy, but the kids don't. Serves 5.

Quick note on ingredients:

Costco is where I found all three of these ingredients and have on hand at all times in my pantry. Organic chicken broth, dehydrated shiitake mushrooms and Thai Kitchen coconut milk. Dehydrated mushrooms are the best because, well, have you seen how fast mushrooms go bad? You pretty much have to buy and use them in the same day. Dehydrated means you can make a last-minute stir-fry or omelet or pizza topping and don't even have to rush to the store. It's sitting right there in your pantry, waiting patiently :)  Coconut milk is used in our house for smoothies and many dairy-free desserts.



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  1. looks delicious and I always love seeing what people get at costco because I find it too dangerous to REALLY shop there, so its better for me to go in for JUST what I need (and they have really cheap goat cheese, plain almonds, and organic spinach), but I love the idea of the mushrooms because you are right, they usually go bad before I can use them all! and I had no idea they sold the coconut milk or free-range broth there.


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