William and I are notoriously terrible at coming up with ideas for dinner, but lately we have both been craving soup. If someone just suggests "soup" to me, my first thoughts are of vegetable or chicken soup: two American classics that I would really rather pass on. Sure they're fine, and I know a lot of people would think I'm blasphemous for saying that, but when I want soup, like soul-satisfying, curled-up-in-a-blanket, serve-me-a-mixing-bowl-full-of-that soup, I want Asian soup every time.
Usually I want the Vietnamese classic pho when I have a soup craving, but I don't personally have the patience to roast beef bones in my oven for 5 hours. Thai curry, on the other hand, can be made in under 30 minutes and with minimal ingredients (yes, I'm basically Rachel Ray), and it is ridiculously satisfying. Follow the recipe, but then taste away. Keep out your lime, fish sauce, sugar, and cayenne, and play around with the curry until you love it--and trust me, you will!
Spicy Coconut Curry with Poached Salmon
-1 inch of peeled ginger
-4 cloves of garlic
-3 Thai chilies
-zest and juice of 1 lime
-1 stalk of lemongrass (softer inside part only)
-1 Tbsp canola oil
-2 cans coconut milk
-2 tsp fish sauce
-2 tsp sugar (palm sugar is best; I used turbinado; I've also made it with white--use what you have!)
-1/2 lb salmon, cut into large-ish bite sized pieces for re-heatability purposes
-cilantro and scallions for garnish
-rice for serving
Combine the ginger, garlic, chilies, lime zest and juice, lemongrass, and canola oil in a food processor and blend until a paste is formed.
Add this paste into a sauce pan and cook over medium high heat until very fragrant--this will make your kitchen smell absolutely insane!
Pour in the coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar, and let everything simmer together for a while. This is also the time to adjust the seasoning to your liking.
When the curry is all balanced out, reduce the heat to medium low and add the salmon. Allow this to simmer very gently until the salmon is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice, topped with chopped cilantro and scallions. Such a comforting meal!
-Don't use low fat coconut milk! All of the spices and aromatics in this dish need a little fat to cling onto and make their way to your palate. Plus you will be avoiding several sketchy ingredients like guar gum and carrageenan that are used in the low fat kind.
-Make sure you have extra lime, fish sauce, sugar, and even a little cayenne on hand when balancing out the curry. This is a great recipe for getting to know your palate, and as long as you just add a little at a time, you certainly aren't going to mess it up.
-Curry tastes better the next day, so make extra!