After recovering from what turned out to be a real challenge, I was ready for something hot and spicy once again. Cue my CSA from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. The shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and red onions in Week 6’s box combined with the bok choy and garlic from Week 5 turned into a fantastic Thai-inspired soup.
I was brave enough to crush a dried pepper and add it to the pot, too. That pepper provided a comforting warmth necessary for any Thai-inspired dish.
Commercial Break. I have to take a moment to extol the wonder that is Lancaster Farm Fresh. I’m almost halfway through my winter CSA and I’ve never been disappointed with the quality or quantity of the produce. Every last root vegetable, micro-green, mushroom and bag of spinach is the pinnacle of freshness. They deliver to host locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic states and down to D.C. and Virginia. If you’re interested in learning more about the program and their 75 Lancaster County, PA farmers, visit their website. If you don’t live within the delivery area, check out localharvest.org to find CSA options or farmers in your neck of the woods.
Now moving on to the recipe. I’ve used the flavor profile of Thai-inspired spicy and sweet in the past (find the recipes here and here). But this soup might be my favorite. The veggies stand out, the broth is delicate, and the heat from the chile warms up the palate. But the best part? It’s so easy and quick to make! Once the veggies are chopped, everything just simmers away for a short while until you’ve got one satisfying soup.
Thai-Inspired Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 bok choy stalks, cleaned and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces (the whole thing–green parts and white parts)
3.5 ounces (1 package) shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) crushed dried chile or red pepper flakes (you can substitute any Asian chili sauce here if you don’t have the dried chile available)
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce (use soy sauce here to make it vegan)
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
More kosher salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime
Rice vinegar, to taste
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes or until vegetables are just softening. Add the bok choy and mushrooms, followed by the 1/2 teaspoon salt, curry powder, ginger, and crushed chile. Stir and cook to toast the spices, about 2 minutes.
Add the broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for a few minutes until the bok choy is cooked but still crunchy. Taste for seasoning. (I added another teaspoon of salt at this point.) Remove from heat and add the lime juice. Taste again. I added a tablespoon of rice vinegar to brighten it up even more and control the heat from that chile.
This pot o’ soup fed us for two dinners and one lunch. It goes a long way, especially when paired with brown rice. Garnishes of cilantro or green onion wouldn’t hurt either.