B and I love going out to dinner. (Who doesn’t?) But after a while it can get costly, not to mention that your favorite dishes might not be up to par at a new restaurant. That’s what happened when we were at the beach last week. We visited a Thai/Japanese sushi joint and my husband ordered a Tom Ka Gai that did not taste very well. Actually, it was horrible.
Last night I surprised him with a similar, homemade soup. It was DELICIOUS! (Unfortunately, we forgot to turn the burner off and we weren’t able to get seconds.) Major disappointment! :(
This soup is really easy to make and it makes you look like a great chef! It can also be tweaked to your liking.
2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces*
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (remove tails)
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
2 freshly minced garlic cloves
1 chopped medium yellow onion (red onion is OK)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
10 oz. bag matchstick carrots for cooking
1 (or 2) 14 oz. can(s) shiitake mushrooms
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or 1-1/2 32 oz. containers)
2 cans (14 oz.) Goya coconut milk**
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)***
1-2 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp lemongrass paste
1/2 tsp fresh basil or basil paste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, cut into 1 in. pieces
1-2 cups egg noodles cooked al dente, or 1-2 cups hot cooked rice
*chicken thighs may be substituted for a richer taste
**unsweetened light coconut milk may be used instead
***cayenne pepper does not make the soup spicy, instead, it enhances the overall flavor. I used about 1/2 tsp and the soup was milder than the mildest hot chicken wings I’ve ever had. Ground ginger, in my opinion, adds more heat.
In a large pot (or dutch oven), heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering. Season the chicken with garlic powder (optional), salt, and pepper to taste. Add them to the hot oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the freshly minced garlic cloves, onions, red pepper, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and shrimp. (DO NOT used pre-minced garlic from the store. They will burn immediately!) Cook shrimp for 2 minutes on each side until they are light pink. DO NOT overcook. The chicken, shrimp and vegetables don’t have to be fully cooked as they will simmer and cook further in the next step.
Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, curry powder, ground ginger, lemongrass paste, and basil paste. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes on low-medium heat.
In the meantime, cook the egg noodles (or rice) in a separate pot with lightly salted boiling water. Chop the cilantro into 1 in. sections (including the stems). Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, brown sugar, salt, or pepper to taste.
Don’t be afraid to add more or less of anything stated in the ingredient list. The key here is to tweak to your personal preferences.
Serve the soup over noodles or rice. Enjoy!!!