The other day I posted a quick snapshot of my lunch on instagram (if you're there, I'm @heidijswanson). It was a soup I make quite often this time of year - with little riffs or tweaks each time. A few of you emailed me on the side asking for specifics, so I thought I'd share it here today. The gist is this - simmer a good amount of grated ginger and shallots in coconut milk, add the brightest spring vegetables you can get your hands on, and serve over egg noodles (or, alternately, pan-fried shredded yuba skins*). I like to finish with lots of cilantro and a squeeze of lime, but whatever fresh herbs you have on hand will do.
Sometimes I add tiny cubes of tofu or tempeh for a bit more protein. And in the fall, I do a version steamed winter squash, lots of finely shredded kale, and a motherload of spices - lots of turmeric, cumin, chile pepper, and coriander. The ginger-spiked coconut broth is an easy-going backdrop for noodles, rice, grains, vegetables, added spices...I just pull from whatever I have on hand. In this case, I love the way the coconut milk lightly clings to each noodle, coating it just enough.
For those of you who take lunch to work, you can bring some of the broth in a thermos (or heat in a microwave), and bring the pre-cooked noodles and vegetables, cold, in a bag. Adding them just before you're ready to eat.
Ginger Coconut Milk Soup
I use full-fat coconut milk here - 2 parts + 1 part water. I feel like the mouthfeel of the broth is just right. Not sure it would turn out nearly as good with low-fat coconut milk, without scaling back the water, etc.
12 ounces good, dried egg pasta noodles (or yuba skins*)
2 14-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
1 14-ounce can water (use the coconut can to measure)
2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated (~1T grated)
3 large minced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, or to taste
Lots of seasonal vegetables, for example this pot had:
2 patty pan squashes, cut into small cubes
20 broccoli florets
16 asparagus tips
3 scallions, sliced
a couple handfuls of bite-sized mushrooms
to serve: lots of fresh lime juice, plenty of fresh cilantro
Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Salt well, and cook the pasta per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
While you're waiting for the pasta water to boil, place another large soup pot over medium high heat. Bring the coconut milk, water, ginger, shallots, and salt to a gentle boil. Dial back the heat and simmer for five or ten minutes.
Just a couple of minutes before you're ready to serve, add the vegetables to the simmering coconut milk, and cook until just tender, a minute or so. Arrange a pile of noodles in each bowl, and ladle vegetables and broth on top. Finish with a generous squeeze of lime and lots of cilantro.
Serves 4. But perhaps cook more noodles if there are big appetites at the table.
*We have really good fresh yuba skins available in San Francisco - made by Hodo Soy. I suspect it might be hard to come by for many of you, but if you do, certainly make a version of this with the yuba skins. Separate them, fluff a bit, then pan-fried in a bit of oil until crispy at the edges. Serve the coconut-vegetables over the yuba "noodles"....
Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes