Vegetarian or Pescatarian Curry Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

 Above is a Pescatarian version with grilled shrimp and eggplant that I made a month later – what a mighty fine addition indeed! Below is the vegetarian version:

So what is Laksa? Well, let me share with you on Wikipedia says:

Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). It can be found in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand.

The Verdict of Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:

Over a year ago, I was blessed with visiting Singapore, Malaysia for 5 weeks and had a chance to try a few Laksa soups to appreciate it from where it originated. All versions I tried had either chicken or seafood in it when I was there. I did not see any vegetarian versions. For my version below, I decided to make a vegetarian Laksa (with egg) and I really LOVED the result, taste and healthiness.

I am sold on this very authentic soup base recipe. If I closed my eyes and smelt the aroma of the soup I made, I truly felt like I was back in Asia!!

I had great fun making my version of the soup for two reasons:

  1. I had an opportunity to use my fancy spiralizr to replace rice noodles with healthy veggie zuchinni noodles. They worked very well.
  2. I attempted to make a perfectly soft-boiled egg to put in the soup and will be trying it in the future with a ramen version I am sure. It added a velvety goodness to the soup!

Laksa Paste Ingredients:

  • 4 red chilies (If you are using dried ones, you need to presoak them)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, white part only, chopped
  • 3 cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped
  • 5 cashew nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Laksa Paste Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a food Processor. Process until finely chopped. Add oil. Process until a smooth paste forms.

Laksa Soup Ingredients:

  •  Laksa paste (above)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2½ tsp brown or raw sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 cup cabbage, chopped
  • 1.5 cup tofu, cubed small to medium sized
  • 2½ cups bean sprouts
  • 3 cups fresh zucchini noodles, spiralized from whole zucchini
  • 1/2 pund shrimp (optional/added)
  • 1 cup diced eggplant (optional/added)

Garnish/Fixings Ingredients:

  • 2 soft boiled eggs (7 minute egg: boil water, softly immerse 2 cold eggs in boiling water, simmer water for exactly 7 minutes, immerse eggs in cold ice water bath, peel and slice the egg just right before placed in the bowls for serving)
  • Fried shallots (in peanut oil)
  • Fresh Thai Basil
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Lime wedges in quarters

Laksa Soup Instructions:

  • Optional: grill shrimp until almost cooked pink/white. Put aside on plate.
  • Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add Laksa paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add stock and sugar. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer.
  • Add carrots, cabbage, and eggplant return to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Separately, in a frying pan, sauté the zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to make them to soft and mushy. Divide these noodles among bowls for serving.
  • Add coconut milk, tofu and beansprouts. Stir gently to combine, then bring almost to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 minutes or until beansprouts are wilted and tofu are heated through.
  • Ladle Laksa soup among bowls. Drop in a few grilled shrimps (optional), scatter over fried shallots, basil leaves, Sriricha sauce, and lime wedges.

Original Soup Recipe: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/malay-curry-laksa-laksa-lemak

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added cabbage
  • Added carrots
  • Added soft boiled eggs
  • Omitted prawns, chicken and fish balls
  • Replaced chicken stock with vegetarian stock
  • Replaced thin rice noodles with zucchini noodles
  • Replaced tofu puffs with sprouted organic tofu
  • Replaced mint with basil for garnish

Soup Mistress Rating For Vegetarian Laksa With Spiralized Zucchini Noodles:
Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (4/5 )
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup – A Road Bikers Delight To End The Day With!

Just this last weekend, I was treated to a very nice soup.  After biking a 41 miler through Red Rock all the way to Blue Diamond and up the highway, Graeme (Soup Mister himself) decided to make us this very healthy Coconut Curry Lentil Soup. It was very healthy PLUS blog worthy to share. A true road bikers delight to end the day with!

The Verdict of Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

When Graeme said that he was going to make a very simple soup, it sounded like nothing special, but YUM YUM YUM, I was wrong! This soup was buttery without butter and very curry-delicious! I would lap this up again in a heartbeat *hint* *hint*!

This soup is very versatile as a soup or I’d even consider thickening it like a stew. Perhaps scooping papadums in the thicker version to pick up the buttery lentils and tomatoes. or put it over some nice white fluffy rice!

This soup was very good the next day, I had a spoonful right out of the fridge before heating up and it was awesome even cold! I wouldn’t change anything in the recipe.

Graeme used famous Vij’s Masala spice in the soup that I purchased up in Vancouver. Vij’s Restaurant is a must go to restaurant if you are ever in Vancouver, Canada.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (I think Graeme may have added a tad more)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (Graeme used Viji’s Masala spice (pic above))
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups dry red lentils (Graeme used brownish/green lentils)
  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach (Oops, this was left off, perhaps next time we will add in)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: chopped cilantro (fresh coriander) and/or vegan sour cream (we used my homemade cashew cream)

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup Instructions:
  1. In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and stir-fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onion is translucent, a couple minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, diced tomatoes and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are very tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Before serving, stir in the kale/spinach.
  5.  Ladle out in serving bowls.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and/or cashew cream.
  7. Enjoy!

Graeme followed this recipe here from Vegangela’s Blog (Funny just realized Angela is from my hometown Winnipeg as well – nice stuff Angela!): http://vegangela.com/2014/01/09/coconut-curry-lentil-soup/

Soup Mistress Rating For Black Bean Soup With A Myriad of Fixings:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.8/5
Presentation: (3.85/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Cooking up Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream at Sur La Table

Over a week and half ago I attended a cooking class with my girlfriend Dianne at Sur La Table Downtown Summerlin. The evenings class was “Winter Soups and Stews”. By the end of the evening we had a few wonderful warm bowls of goodness to try out, they were:

  • Maple-Braised Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme
  • Hearty Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew
  • Chicken and Herb Dumpling Soup
  • Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream
You can find a list of all Sur La Table cooking classes close to where you live here: http://www.surlatable.com/category/cat2211278/Cooking+Classes

The store has a decent kitchen setup, more so for demos, as you don’t really have a cooking prep kitchen to yourself. We had small chopping area and hot pots for cooking our soups. It did it’s purpose.

The Verdict of the Evenings Soups?

I don’t normally eat chicken nor red meat but I had a small taste of all of the soups & stews. If you are a meat eater the Tuscan Beef and Red Wine Stew was a hit by a few of the students that evening. I would  let it simmer way longer though so that the meat just melts in your mouth – it was a tad rubbery but the broth was buttery and beautifully rich with the red wine.

For myself, I LOVED the Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream (picture above)! It was my superstar of the evening and I took that as my soup to bring home. I love any kind of soup with new potatoes. The green chiles and tomatillas made the soup taste so fresh and delightful. It was just as good the second day, but I wished I had the chipotle cream as well as it was missing some punch it had the first I have tried it. Don’t skip the step for the cream on top.  This soup is very healthy outside of the cream, so in the future I would attempt to make the chipotle cream with cashews (lactose free option) or a lower fat option (like yogurt instead of sour cream).

Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large jalapeño chiles, trimmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried mexican oregano
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound new potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 6 large tomatillos, husks removed, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 pounds roasted and peeled green chiles, such as Anaheim and Poblano, or a mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Chipotle Cream Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sour cream (or yogurt or cashew cream)
  • 4 tsp chipotle peppers in Adobo, or to taste, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
Green Chile Stew with Chipotle Cream Instructions:
  1. Place olive oil in a large Dutch Oven and heat over medium heat
  2. Add onion, tomatillos and jalapeño, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add broth and stir well. Taste the stew and season generously with sal and pepper.
  6. Add potatoes, beans and chiles. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover Dutch oven, and simmer until potatoes and tomatillos are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro into stew during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Chipotle Cream Instructions:
  1. Place sour cream (or yogurt or cashew cream) in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in chipotles and lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper, plus additional chipotle and lime juice as needed.
Serve stew in serving bowls. Top with dollop of chipotle cream and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup Admiration to Myriad of Fixings!

Just the other day I was in Barnes and Noble skimming through some cookbooks and saw a black bean soup that inspired me to make for dinner. It was perfect because I was looking to make something simple that was healthy yet filling. I adjusted the original recipe a bit from what I remember ( i.e.. dried beans instead of water + canned beans instead of dried) and I added a few fun fixings!

 

The Verdict of Black Bean Soup

Well it seems as though this soup was well received by my special hungry tester. He loved it very much so. Kudos were given for all the fixings I provided to go with this soup that made it oh so yummy. This soup is one of the easiest soups to make with little more time invested if you fancy making the cashew cream and salsa fixings yourself (alternatively, just use bought salsa and sour cream)

Serving multiple fixings with this soup makes it feel like it is a Mexi-kind of meal! Give it a shot and make it your own!

Black Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 3 (14oz) cans of organic black beans (rinsed and strained)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 larger jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 tsp cumin (dried)
  • 1 tsp coriander (dried)
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 6 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (chopped fine)
  • salt
  • pepper
Garnish/Fixings:
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup of cashew cream (soak 1 cup of cashews for an hour, drain, puree with half of lemon, 3 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon olive oil)
  • 2 cups of salsa (1 large tomato chopped small, half lime juice, 2 tablespoon fine chopped onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, salt, dash cayenne, clove garlic minced)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
Black Bean Soup Instructions:
  1. in large pot warm oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and garlic Saute for about 3 minutes (until onions are soft)
  3. Add chile, bell pepper, cumin, coriander, and oregano and sauté for about 8 more minutes.
  4. Rinse the beans with strainer
  5. Add beans and veggie stock, Bring up to almost boiling and then turn low to simmer for 10-20 minutes.
  6. Add half of the soup into blend and puree (keeping the other half nice chunks still)
  7. Add the purred part back into pot with rest of soup.
  8. Heat back up if it cooled a little,.
  9. Add lime juice, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper.
  10. Add veggie stock to your liking if soup to thick.
  11. Ladle soup into bowls
  12. Serve and garnish with whatever you fancy: cashew cream, chopped avocados, salsa and more chopped cilantro
Soup Mistress Rating For Black Bean Soup With A Myriad of Fixings:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (3/5) 

Taste: (4.65/5) 

Don’t Be Shrimping Out – A Seafood Chowder Delight!

Over a week ago, I had the great opportunity to cook for a wonderful couple (Joyce and Mike) from Minneapolis. We planned a fun evening to play Games Against Humanity, and boy what a hoot the evening was!

On the dinner menu along with this Seafood Chowder we had:

  • vegan cheese and pate
  • kale caesar slaw
  • phylo pastry pear tart with cashew cream.

The Verdict of This Seafood Chowder

I was very impressed of the simplistic yet so wonderful tasty broth that I used for the stock of this chowder. This was my first time to use shrimp shells as a stock. And boy they did deliver an A+ job I tell ya. I don’t think I will ever throw away shrimp shells ever again!

Also, this was my first time to cook with monkfish and everyone was impressed with the fish. When I was originally shopping at Wholefoods for all of the ingredients, I asked if I should substitiute monkfish with halibut as I was not sure about using it. The seafood department fella said that I should in fact use monkfish as it is tougher and meatier just like lobster and halibut would not be ideal as it would flake and fall apart in my chowder. I was so happy I took his advise, because monkfish was a superstar of the dish. The fish was definitely meaty, very tasty white fish and held together quite well in the chowder.

And the chowder overall was good as ever, I used the same recipe I have done in the past as I did with my Smoked Salmon Chowder with the addition of the homemade shrimp stock, shrimp. monkfish and scallops.

Seafood Chowder Ingredients

  • 200 grams diced Pancetta (or smoked bacon)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 2 celery (approx 1 cup), diced small
  • 1 serano chile, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper (approx  3/4 cup), diced small
  • 1 yellow pepper (approx  3/4 cup), diced small
  • 4 medium red potatoes (approx 2.5 – 3 cups), diced small
  • 5 cups fish broth (recipe below)
  • 1 cup white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced small
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed chilis
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and divined (keep shells for stock)
  • 1/2 pound scallops
  • 1/2 pound monkfish
  • 3 teaspoon chives, finely sliced
  • dash of salt and pepper

Shrimp Stock Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • shells from 1 pound large shrimp
  • 2 cups yellow onions
  • 2 carrots unpeeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup good white wine ( I used a Chardonnay)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme

Shrimp Stock Instructions:

  1. Warm the oil in a stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add the shrimp shells, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  3. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
  4. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water, the white wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Strain through a sieve, pressing the solids. You should have approximately 1 quart of stock. You can make up the difference with water or wine if you need to.

Seafood Chowder Instructions:

  1. Cut the seafood into bite sized pieces and put aside in a bowl.
  2. In a large pan, sauté pancetta/bacon over medium heat until brown and crisp, approximately 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to plate and allow to rest.
  3. Add in shallot, garlic, carrot, celery, serano, crushed chile, red & yellow peppers and potatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in fish broth, 1 cup wine, tomatos, bring to a boil. Add almond milk. Reduce heat,  to medium-low and simmer for at least 15 -25 minutes or till potatoes are semi soft.
  5. 10 minutes before serving, bring soup back up to almost boil.
  6. Add the seafood (shrimp, scallops, monkfish); reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked.
  7. Add lemon juice, thyme and bacon to pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Ladle soup in bowls
  9. Garnish with chives.

Original link on where I got the ideal to incorporate my chowder recipe with seafood and shrimp stock: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/seafood-chowder-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Soup Mistress Rating For This Seafood Chowder:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5
Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Fassolatha – A Greek Godess Yummy Navy Bean Soup

Oh boy, it’s been ages since I blogged about a soup!! I’ve been busy trying other recipes outside of soups (like homemade gnocchi, dehydrated snacks and a few different vegetarian pâtés). I have a liking to get back on the soup bandwagon again…we’ll see how that goes though!

Just last Saturday, I was having a girlfriend over for dinner and I decided to make it a Greek night. I made this soup along with homemade spanakopita, ttzatziki (with cashew cream instead of yogurt) and greek salad and it all did not disappoint!

The Verdict of Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

At first, I did not have any plans to add in bacon, I had FULL intentions to making this soup vegetarian. But when I was at the boiling stage just before simmering the soup, when I tried a spoonful test, the soup seemed bland to me and at this point I decided to add bacon, lemon juice and lemon zest to my recipe. I think the new ingredients made a huge difference. Also I shouldn’t short change the 1 hour simmering process that lifted the velvety navy beans and the just-right acidic diced tomatoes which were dancing in the pot with screaming delight!

We had this soup as left-overs for the next few days and on the third day I loved it just as much as the first day!

I would make this soup again and perhaps freeze it for an impromptu lunch one day in the near future.

Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 4-5 slices of bacon, chopped small and cooked until crisp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cans organic navy beans (2 x 14.5 ounces)
  • 4 springs thyme (approx 1 tablespoon finely chopped)
  • 1 can organic diced roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped parsley
  • 5 cups of veggie stock (may add more to your liking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest

 

Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup Instructions:

  1. Cook small bacon pieces in fry pan until crisp, transfer to plate over paper towel. Set aside.
  2. In soup pot, add a little olive oil heat up on medium.
  3. Sauté chopped onions and garlic, cook until translucent, 5-7min.
  4. Add carrot and celery, saute for another minute or so.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and the 5 cups veggie stock.
  6. Add beans – add more veggie stock or water to cover beans if needed.
  7. Add thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to your taste.
  8. Cover and bring to boil.
  9. Once boiling, add in the bacon.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 – 60 minutes.
  11. Serve soup in bowls.
  12. Garnish with some extra parsley and delightful lemon zest.

The Original Recipe From Herehttp://www.lemonandolives.com/fassolatha-greek-bean-soup/

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • used canned navy beans instead of great northern dried beans
  • did not use a bay leaf
  • used organic vegetable stock instead of water
  • added about 1/3 cup of cooked bacon pieces
  • used my smoking gun to give a tad smoked flavour
  • added juice of one lemon at the end of the cooking process before serving
  • added lemon zest to each bowl of soup before serving
  • used more parsley
  • I used roasted canned tomatoes and I did not mash the canned tomatoes, I kept them chopped just like they are.
  • I added garlic. What soup is not friendly for it?!! :)
Soup Mistress Rating for Fassolatha Greek Bean Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5
Presentation: (3.75/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise – A Happy Ending To An Improvise of Provisions!

I have made a few sweet potato soups in the past, but never one with leeks and zucchini.

I was being a tad creative and just Googled the 3 ingredients with keyword “soup” as that is what was all we had in the fridge. From now on, I want to challenge myself to use up everything in the fridge and not let anything go to waste before I head back to the grocery store for new provisions. I sincerely cringe at how much food wastage restaurants and hotels partake in and truly believe it will be a big problem later on in life for the World.

The Verdict of Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise:

“It was one of your best soups ever!” words directly quoted from my handsome boyfriend.

Well I wasn’t planning on this one being one of my superstar soups. But it seems to be Graemes all time favourite of soups I have made for him. He has had his fair share of my soups and makes some dandy ones himself. I was really impressed with this soup myself. What I really loved the most , is that it had very fine chopped veggies added in the end. I was first going to fry some veggies for a pretty presentation of garnish, but at the last moment I decided to use them raw for a healthier texture to the soup. I must say for myself, that is what I really liked about the soup, it had very nice tidbits of crisp yummy veggies in the velvety smooth puree from the Vitamix. The chipotle was subtle yet added some heat in random spoonfuls. We ate every drop of the soup for lunch the next day!

Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups leeks, sliced
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups zucchini (about 2 small), chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I used 3 stock cubes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle in adoba sauce.
  • 1 cup cashew cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
Instructions for Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise :
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil up over med/high heat.
  2. Saute leeks, sweet potato and zucchini for 3-7 minutes.
  3. Make sure you keep about 1.5 cups of raw veggies reserved on a plate and finely chopped or julienne them more. Do not cook them yet.
  4. If using cube stock, dissolve it in 3 cups boiling water.
  5. Add stock to vegetables in pot.
  6. Bring soup to subtle boil and then lower heat with lid on pot, simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Puree soup with salt, pepper and chipotle in a blender. Be careful if still hot.
  8. Add soup back into pot and stir in cashew cream and the reserved raw veggies (keep a tad for garnish for each bowl though).
  9. Gently heat soup back up on low.
  10. Ladle soup into bowls and also garnish with some of your reserved veggies and finely chopped chives.
  11. Drop or swirl in some cashew cream in any design you fancy.
  12. Feel free to adjust the Chipotle to your liking/heat tolerance and add water if soup is a tad too thick for you.
This soup can be served chilled as well. I personally fancy this soup warmed though!
These little morsels of raw veggies is what make the soup great texture versus just being 100% puree.
I love this stock cubes above. I picked them up in Singapore and sure would love to see them in North America soon!

Original Recipe From Here:

What I Changed From The Original Recipe:

  • Used cashew cream instead of cashew sour cream and also used more and added it  in the soup base.
  • Used fresh chives as garnish.
  • Reserved a fair bit of raw chopped veggies to add in after I puree the soup and for garnish.
Soup Mistress Rating for Zucchini & Sweet Potato Chipotle Vichyssoise:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (5/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (5/5) 

Thai Curry Soup With Silver Sillago Fish For Brave Hearts Only!

Just the other day I went back to a restaurant called Salaloy in Rawai Beach, Phuket, Thailand. On my previous visit, I noticed that they had some very interesting soups on their menu and I was up for an adventurous meal this time.

The soup that got my attention was the Curry Soup with Silver Sillago Fish and Vegetables (for 150 Baht or about $5 Canadian). I never tasted nor heard of Sillago fish and wanted to try something local and fresh. They first looked like sardines on the menu pics but they were a tad bigger than I expected.

Here’s what they look like fresh:

The waiter didn’t speak English very well and told me that the soup was VERY spicy and pointed for me to try something else on th menu, but I was up for the challenge and told him so with confidence!

I was hungry, and when the soup arrived, I was happy to see that it was very rustic looking and had a lot of substance. When I actually dug in with my spoon, I realized that the soup was jammed packed with about 6 whole fishes – with gills, tail, head and eyes! I’m not normally one for eating a whole fish, but I must admit the fish was pretty darn good. The fresh white meat slid off the spine very clean and was nice and flakey. Not sure if I can compare the fish to anything I have had in the past, but it was just nice and not to fishy nor dense.

I was very glad that I ordered rice with this soup. This soup was damn spicy and the rice cooled it down for every spoonful I had. Let’s just say that this soup was spicy enough to make a boy into a man or make a women grow hair on her chest if she was to have this soup all the time! I’m betting that the spiciness rating would be a 10 or even a 10+ easily in North American restaurants! Don’t get me wrong with the spiciness, I loved the soup and ate it all up. Just had a red face afterwards.

Beside the not so in your face curry spices that blended in the soup, it had hot red chiles and peppercorns. Look at the green fresh peppercorn galore that was swimming in my soup below! It was a jam-packed pool party for them! This is the first time ever I had fresh peppercorns like this in bunches. Wonder if I can buy them back home like this?

The other wonderful ingredients floating in the soup that I can tell were: keffir lime leaves, mushrooms, baby corn, Thai green eggplant (which I really loved the most in the soup). The Thai eggplant was much different from Chinese eggplant and had a great firm yet juicy texture (not as mushy as purple eggplant).

Here’s what a Thai eggplant looks like up close:

I would consider ordering this soup again someday or try to make a similar one at home, but probably turn down the heat from a 10 to a 7.

Handy Dandy Note: I just learnt over the last few days, that most food prepared in Thailand restaurants are laced with MSG. I did have a tad of a bad reaction from the MSG from this soup afterwards (swollen ankles and fast heartbeat) and next time I will try to ask the kitchen not to add it if they can. I understand that not all restaurants here comply to your request though, either because the cook may be stubborn or wait staff not knowing what MSG is.

If you are ever in Thailand and want to order food with out MSG, this is how to say it: “Mai sai pong chuu rot”. You would pronounce it like so: “Mai (down) sai (up) pong (up) chuu (neutral) rot (high tone)”

Soup Mistress Rating For Thai Curry Soup with Silver Sillago Fish:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.75/5
Presentation: (4.25/5) 

Taste: (4/5) 

Tom Kha Talay Soup, A Frugal Thai Seafood Beach Party!

Sa-wat-dee Kah!

It’s mid March and I’m on a trip of a lifetime visiting Thailand. I’m on a foodie month long crawl for Thai cuisine (while working and exercising here of course).  Seafood soups are definitely on my hit list!

First stop for soup: Lobster Restaurant at Nai Harn Beach.

For my first morning in the Rawai Beach Area, I decided take the hotels complementary shuttle to Nai Harn Beach, a short 10-15 minute drive along a windy road. When I arrived at the beach I was very surprised to see how many restaurants and outdoor seating there was. Each restaurant had various coolers of fresh fish displayed – it was wonderful to see. After sitting on the beach lounging for 2 hours, the heat was too much for me so I decided to do lunch there just before the shuttle was to pick me up at 1:30pm.

I decided upon the Lobster Restaurant and was seated by a very cheerful Thai lady (everyone seems to be so nice here in Thailand!) and the Tom Kha Soup caught my attention. I ordered it with a bottled water and paid 220 Baht (includes tip), that is approximately only $6.80 Canadian dollars.

The Verdict of Tom Kha Talay soup at the Lobster Restaurant?

Holy seafood batman! For $6.80 Canadian I got myself a party of seafood that any frugal person would die for. For this kind of soup in Vancouver, Canada, I’m sure I’d be paying $22 for it!

Prawns, mussels, squid and clams. Tons of all of them, like a jammed pack party with no sitting room! I counted and there was about 10 mussels and 5 prawns for example. All seemed very fresh and not overcooked nor rubbery what-so-ever!

Great presentation with the leaf under the bowl as well!

The soup had a ton of lemon grass (the green part and also the pieces that looked like baby potato slices were suppose to be lemon grass per the waitress when I asked her). And noticeable ingredients were: Thai basil, whole cloves of garlic, lime juice, tiny whole onions and some spicy oil (perhaps drops of red chile). Normally when it is 94 degrees out I would not order soup nor lap it up, but this soup seemed very light for a coconut based soup – must have been in a seafood broth with coconut milk. I slurped it all up and it was very good.

I would order this soup again in a heart beat.

When I search for Tom Kha Talay soup recipes, it seems as though it should be healthy because the broth is in fact lighter with stock/and or water versus mostly coconut milk. Here’s a recipe that may be close to what I have (except it has mushrooms, scallops and crab): http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/recipes/cocsea.html

Soup Mistress Rating for Tom Kha Talay Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4.5/5) 

Northwest Salmon Soup, Starring Grammy Award Winning Kale!

Northwest Salmon Soup

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Northwest Salmon Soup

Saw this recipe in a magazine at the book store, can’t recall what magazine it was though. The sight of the salmon with the roe looked so delightful along with the use of kale in the soup. So I decided to give it a whirl and voila – what a delight!

The Verdict of Northwest Salmon Soup?

Even though I added lemon juice to the creme fresh, it seemed like not enough, next time I would add some lemon zest to the creme fraiche. The broth tasted better and better after a few minutes. The the kale and salmon played so well in the taste. I’m starting to like kale a ton more especially in broths – it gives a flavourful depth to any soup! I’m going to give the Kale the superstar Grammy ingredient for this recipe – it deserves it!

Northwest Salmon Soup Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen salmon
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 – 32 ounce vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped potatoes
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 creme fraiche
  •  1 tablespoon monkfish caviar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Northwest Salmon Soup Instructions:
  1. Pat dry salmon, cut in 1 inch pieces.
  2. In large pot (or dutch oven) heat butter over medium low heat until melted. Add onion and garlic, cook, covered 10 – 15 mins until tender, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high, cook onions, uncovered for few more minutes, stir in paprika and pepper.
  3. Stir in broth, kale, potatoes and carrots. bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer covered, about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a separate pan add salmon to hot pan on med/high, cook until salmon fillet pieces flake easily when tested with fork.
  5. Ladle soup in bowls, add salmon pieces to each bowl.
  6. Top each serving with a kettle chip, sour cream, dill and caviar.

Recipe makes 4 yummy servings.

Original Soup Recipe: Jeepers, I cannot recall what magazine, if you do know, let me know and I will give the publisher full credit and a link!

What I Changed From Original Recipe:

  • Added a large clove of garlic (minced)
  • Added 1/4 tablespoon lemon juice to the creme fraiche. Could have use even more! I wanted to add lemon zest, but where I was staying in Whistler did not have a utensil to do so.
  • I didn’t use salmon roe, I used two types of monkfish caviar (red and black)

Soup Mistress Rating for Northwest Salmon Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.75/5
Presentation: (4.5/5) 

Taste: (4/5)