June 3, 2008

Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup - Supa thailandeza de creveti cu lapte de cocos

Since I convinced myself that I love cooking and therefore I must be good at it, don't you like my reasoning and modesty?!, I've tried so many recipes that have nothing in common with the Romanian foods we grew up with. (My father always makes fun of me when I show them pictures of what I cooked and sees the combinations and the ingredients. Then he tells my husband to come back home more often to eat some real food and thanks him for not yet leaving me because of this. Yes, I am talking about MY dad, not his, and yes, I love my dad all the way to the moon and back and he probably loves me twice as much. But I'll come back to this some other time.)

I think this opening to new food is definetely because of where we live now. We are blessed here to find everything at all times and the selection is amazing, so the rules for going seasonal and local have never been easier to follow. On top of that, you could find always more than what you are looking for and you cannot resist temptation and cravings - at least I cannot and this is my excuse when I get carried away and come home with too many things. Sometimes I don't know if this is the gourmand part of me, or if my judgement is lacking in this area.

But this is how it goes: I read some cooking books that are truly inspiring, take a peak daily on about 10 different blogs, dream of being Suzanne Goin (at least twice a week), that I will meet Mr. Keller and I will make a good impression (ahem), or that I meet Bea and her originality and amazing talent for writing and photography will be passed on when we shake hands.

You understand now how easy it is to get carried away, don't you? And all this dreaming went on and made me feel fearless in my kitchen. So, I tried to make at home some of the dishes we liked when eating out, and I took a shot at the thai shrimp soup and made up several stir fry dishes, not to forget about the sushi and hot & sour soup (was good first time, ok second time, and anything else but hot & sour the next two times, but that did not discourage me yet).

My husband is not an adventurous eater and he doesn't give to much thought to food. For him, his opera singing is what food is for me. I, on the other side, think, read and talk about food most of the time, like to try things, would love to go to culinary school or start working in a restaurant, or stay home and cook each day, if I wouldn't be a conservative Capricorn afraid of changes and scared about this not being a responsible move, bla-bla-bla ... Our duaghter is the perfect combo, just like she did with the blood type (I have A, G has B, she's got AB), she picked from her father the love for music, performing and arts in general, and from me the passion about cooking. I think she knows ten times more than what I knew when I was her age, she likes to hang around the kitchen and help, loves the Iron Chef show which we watch together and now wants her own blog.

After looking for recipes for this soup, I found about 3 or 4 which sounded like what I thought it went in the soup we had out, so I combined them and adjusted them slightly. And because we eat shrimp during lent before Christmas and Easter, this recipe is just perfect.
If you want a more classic version, please look online, mine is not that. And feel free to make it mroe salty, sour or hot, as you like, this is on the mild side. Shrimp could be substituted with chicken.
Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup
a pound and a half shrimp, deveined, shell on (shells are used for the broth)
one cup and a half coconut milk
½ cup bamboo shots sliced ( I used the canned ones)
1" fresh ginger grated
1" galangal peeled and sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass cut in 2-3 pieces and slightly bruised with your knife
one tablespoon tom yum paste (could be substituted with chili paste mixed with ½ teaspoon sugar)
one tablespoon shrimp paste
half an onion sliced
2 tablespoons Nam Pla (fish sauce)- or one teaspoon salt
one cup sliced mushrooms -shiitake, straw, cremini, button (which I forgot to buy this time)
juice from 1-2 limes
a few thai chillies, if you prefer your soup really hot

Rinse, peel and devein the shrimps, and set the shells aside for the broth.
In a pot, put the shrimp shells and the onion in 6 cups of water. After the water comes to a full boil, lower the heat to simmer and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Strain the soup and discard the shells and onion.
In the same pot, saute in 1-2 tablespoons oil the ginger, galangal slices, lemongrass pieces, the tom yum paste and the shrimp paste for about 1-2 minutes, until frangrant, then add the reserved shrimp broth, the coconut milk and the kaffir lime leaves.
Let it come back to a simmer over low heat, then add the shrimp and bamboo shots for just 1-2 minutes. If you didn’t forget about the mushrooms as I did, add them now. Shrimp cooks very fast and will continue to cook in the warm stock. Overcooking them will turn them tough and rubbery.
Remove from heat and add the cilantro, lime juice and the fish sauce (Nam Pla). Remove the lemongrass and galangal before serving, if you like. They're not really edible. Adjust the taste to your liking, by adding more or less fish sauce, lime juice or slices of chillies.
Serve it with plain rice - white, brown, basmati.
You know how the chicken soup is good for colds and gets you out of bed? This one is just the same. Or at least that’s what we think.

Helpful notes from the recipes found online:
* Add the lime juice at the end instead of adding it with everything else, because the flavor of the lime gets mellowed when it's cooked. It should be fresh and bursting on your tongue.
** Galangal has no real substitute. Ginger is the closest.
*** Kaffir Lime leaves have a unique flavour. Lime zest is the closest thing (use 1-2 tsp).
If you make it with chicken instead of shrimp, saute the onion (this one will not be strained) with the condiments, then add the chicken at the same time with the (chicken) broth. Let it cook until the chicken turned all white on the outside, then it is almost done and you could add the mushrooms and the bamboo shots.
Supa thailandeza de creveti cu lapte de cocos

Este o supa thailandeza cu lapte de cocos, care se poate face cu pui sau creveti, dupa preferinta. Imi pare rau ca nu am cum sa traduc numele pt. ingredientele specifice, galangal, lemongrass, tom yum, dar am incercat sa gasesc diferite posibilitati de a le inlocui ca alte ingrediente.

500-700 gr creveti nedecorticati, carapacea se pastreaza pt. zeama de supa
o conserva de 400 ml lapte de cocos
muguri de bambus
o bucatica de vreo 3 cm ghimbir proaspat ras pe razatoarea mica
o bucata de vreo 3cm radacina galangal (seamana cu ghimbirul, dar e mai mare si miroase puternic a lamaie) taiata feliute
3 frunze de limeta (lime)
o bucata lemongrass taiata in 2-3 segmente, strivite putin
o lingura pasta de tom yum (se poate inlocui cu pasta de chili frecata cu ½ lingurita zahar)
o lingura pasta de creveti (daca aveti pasta de chili sau tom yum, puteti sari peste asta)
o jumatate ceapa taiata solzi
2 linguri Nam Pla (fish sauce)- se poate inlocui cu sos de soia, sau pur si simplu sare, dupa gust, nu 2 linguri!!!
coriandru proaspat
zeama de la 2 limette ( sau lamai)
cativa ardei iuti taiati feliutze daca va place mancarea picanta

1. Se spala si curata crevetii de coaja. Intr-o cratita se pun cojile de creveti si ceapa cu un litru de apa calduta si se lasa sa dea in clocot, apoi sa fiarba la foc mic vreo 5 minute. Se strecoara supa si se pastreaza zeama, restul se arunca.

2. In aceeasi cratita se calesc in doua linguri de ulei ghimbirul ras pe razatoarea mica, radacina de galangal taiata feliute, bucatile de lemongrass, pasta de creveti si pasta tom yum, timp de un minut, apoi se sting cu zeama de supa, laptele de cocos si se adauga frunzele de limeta. Se lasa sa ajunga din nou la fierbere, si se micsoreaza focul sa nu dea in clocot.

3. Se adauga crevetii si mugurii de bambus si se lasa sa fiarba numai vreo 1-2 minute, cat sa devina crevetii roz. (Acum se adauga ciupercile de care eu uitasem.) Crevetii trebuie gatiti foarte putin, altfel isi pierd gustul si devin tari si "cauciucosi" - ii aud parca pe ai mei zicand ceva despre romana mea deteriorata)

Se da cratita la o parte de pe foc si se adauga coriandru proaspat tocat, zeama de lime sau lamaie si sosul Nam Pla (sau sosul de soia sau sare) dupa gust. Pasta de tom yum este picanta, dar pentru cine prefera mancarurile iuti, se poate adauga mai mult ardei iute la sfarsit taiat rondele.

Se serveste fierbinte cu orez fiert simplu garnitura (alb, maro, basmati, dupa preferinta).

Sfaturi gasite la retetele din care m-am inspirat:
* adaugati sucul de limeta (lamaie) numai la sfarsit, si nu in timpul fierberii, pentru ca gustul se estompeaza cand sucul este fiert. Gustul acru trebuie sa se simta proaspat si acid.
** Galangal-ul nu poate fi inlocuit usor. Ghimbirul este cel mai apropiat la gust, dar nu e chiar acelasi lucru.
*** Frunzele de limeta au o aroma unica. Cel mai apropiat gust il are coaja rasa de la o limeta (aveti nevoie de 1-2 lingurite). Ma gandesc ca poate si frunzele de lamaie dau o aroma buna adaugate la coaja rasa.

Daca faceti supa aceasta folosind carne de pui, atunci caliti ceapa cu primele condimente, fara sa mai strecurati supa, apoi adaugati carnea de pui si zeama de supa de pui. Se lasa sa fiarba la foc mic pana cand carnea de pui este complet alba pe dinafara, atunci este aproape gata si se adauga ciupercile si mugurii de bambus.


LuLu Blauburgunder said...

i just used your recipe..it turned out fantastic. thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Roxana for the wonderful recipe and for having bothered to translate everything into Romanian, too!
I've also added about 400g of shi take mushrooms and it turned out to be a memorable soup!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Roxana for the wonderful recipe and for having bothered to translate everything into Romanian, too!
I've also added about 400g of shi take mushrooms and it turned out to be a memorable soup!