I realize that many of my blog posts begin something like: “So I was at the farmer’s market the other day, and found some amazing _____, which inspired me to make ______.” But what’s a girl to do? The farmer’s market is my inspiration, so it’s only fair that my dishes be based on my local finds.
This post is no different. One of my very favorite vendors at the San Pedro Square market on Fridays in downtown San Jose has a variety of Asian vegetables and herbs. I almost always have to pick up some Chinese eggplant, which is a longer, less spongy version of eggplant. I love the eggplant cut into long slices, brushed with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, and grilled. Last Friday though, I went for some stalks of lemongrass. I’d been craving coconut lemongrass soup with Thai flavors, and was determined to make some.
I was going for Thai flavors, similar to Tom Kha Gai. But since I’d never made this before, I did a little research online, and based my recipe off of this site and this one. The soup I came up with is not a traditional Tom Kha Gai, because there are no Kaffir lime leaves, or galangal, but I did get a nice lemongrass coconut flavor, which was exactly what I was looking for. Even with the warm weather we’ve been having, this was a very satisfying meal.
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Carrots, cut into julienne
2 Anaheim bell peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 lb white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 head broccoli, cleaned and cut into florets
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans coconut milk
2 Serrano or Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
2 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces and crushed
6 slices ginger
zest from 2 limes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 package firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
juice from 2 limes
cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (for garnish)
- Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add carrots, and saute for 3 minutes. Turn heat to low, and add garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
- Pour in broth and coconut milk. Stir in ginger, lemongrass, chili peppers, lime zest, brown sugar, fish sauce and Anaheim bell peppers. Simmer soup for 15 minutes.
- Add tofu & mushroom slices and lime juice to soup and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes.
- At this point, taste the soup to decide if it has enough heat for you. I used Serrano chilies (would have preferred Thai chilies), and the soup was not spicy enough for my taste. So I added about 1/8-1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Make sure to only add a tiny bit at a time, and retaste. You can always add more spice, but you can’t take any away, so be careful!
- Garnish with cilantro just before serving. Enjoy!