Tom Kha – Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup

Tom kha is one of my favorite soups!  It’s rich, creamy, salty, savory, tangy, and a bit spicy.  I’ve tried many many many times to make a batch that somewhat rivals that of one of my favorite local Thai restaurants to no avail.  But this time I think I finally nailed it.  It’s surprisingly easy and despite what I previously assumed to be the reason why it wasn’t turning out to be as good as Lulu’s, it doesn’t require a trip to the Asian market.  While the traditional version uses galangal, Thai basil, and lemongrass, I was able to create a more approachable version using ginger and lime juice.  This soup comes together quickly and is perfect for a night spent cozying up on the couch! And of course, it’s full of a variety of vegetables, with spaghetti squash instead of noodles or rice, which keeps it lower carb but no less filling!

It does require a few items probably not normally in your pantry, but not to worry!  They’re still pretty easy to find at your local grocery store!  They also add tons of flavor while keeping the ingredient list to a minimum.  So, what are these secret ingredients?  Thai red curry paste and fish sauce!  Both add intense flavor and really give the broth the most satisfying touch of tang and spice!

Additionally, if you utilize a fish sauce that doesn’t contain sugar, this soup is both paleo and whole30!  I used Kame brand because that’s what I was able to find at the store, but Red Boat makes a version without sugar.  While the fish sauce smells a bit funky, you absolutely cannot skip this ingredient!  It was the ingredient that I had been missing on my previous attempts and the flavor it adds is not replicable!  It adds saltiness and tanginess, along with umami (savory) flavor.  It’s made from anchovies, which, if you didn’t know is also the key ingredient in Caesar dressing!  Because of the fair amount of fish sauce used in this recipe, no additional salt is necessary.  And I even cut down on the sodium further by using a low sodium chicken broth.  I also highly recommend using fresh ginger and garlic.  I’m just not sure that dried or powdered versions would bring quite the flavor punch necessary to really make the broth for this soup sing!  And really, the broth is what it’s all about, so don’t skip out on it!

Alright, so besides the insanely delicious broth, I mentioned that this soup is full of vegetables and I wasn’t kidding!  Bell peppers, onion, green onion, chilis, and spaghetti squash are all swimming around in there, and shrimp adds a good bit of protein to help keep you full and satisfied!  For additional flavor, add some fresh cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice.

tom kha veggies

 

tom kha soup

Tom Kha – Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup

Servings:  4          Time: ~ 45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 serrano chilis (or Thai chilis if you can find them!), halved and thinly sliced, optional
  • 3 limes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 14.5oz can light coconut milk
  • 1 14.5oz can reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 rounded tsp red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails off
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Halve spaghetti squash lengthwise, scrape out seeds, and rub cut side with a bit of olive oil.  Place cut side down on a foil lined baking pan.  Pierce skin with a fork several times.  Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until softened and strands scrape out easily.  *Don’t overcook as it will continue to cook a bit once added to soup.
  • While squash cooks, over medium heat in a large dutch oven, add ghee (or oil/butter of choice) and melt.  Add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes per side, until almost cooked through.
  • Add regular onion, chili, and green onion (reserve about 2 tbsp. green onion for garnish later, if desired) and saute a couple minutes until lightly softened.
  • Add ginger, garlic, and red curry paste and continue to saute, stirring continuously, for about 2 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk, chicken broth, fish sauce, and juice of 2 limes (tip – gently roll the limes on the counter before slicing to release the juices) and bring to a simmer.
  • Add red bell pepper to soup.
  • Once squash is done and cool enough to handle, scrape out strands and add to soup.  Continue simmering for 5 minutes or so until everything is combined.
  • Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges
Nutrition Info:

315 total cal, 13 g fat, 23 g carb, 27 g protein

 


Basil Chicken Coconut Curry {DF, GF}

I love curries of just about any type.  Curry is also surprisingly versatile, especially when paired with chicken, which naturally lends itself to being flavored in just about any way imaginable!

Last week, I was feeling a bit uninspired, and happened upon a recipe for basil chicken with coconut curry sauce, which sounded delicious!  I saved it, thinking I would come back to it at some point.  That some point happened to  be that very evening!

While at the grocery store, I was perusing the vegetable and produce section and realized that asparagus season is upon us!  I don’t know about you, but for me, asparagus is just SOOO much more enjoyable during the spring months when it’s in season.  So I put a few bunches of it in my cart, and aha!  inspiration hit!  Why not bump up the vegetable factor in that basil chicken recipe and add some seasonal vegetables such as asparagus!  I also knew I had some frozen peas in the freezer at home, so I ran with the idea.

What a great decision it was!  This smelled DIVINE while simmering away and was oh so delicious and flavorful! It was pretty hard to sit there and let it simmer as my mouth was watering from the smell!  I nearly burned my tongue because I didn’t wait long enough to dig in after serving it up.

It’s actually pretty mild as far as things in the curry department go, so if you’re new to curry, give this a shot!  Even if you’re a curry aficionado, I guarantee you will love this!   It’s a curry that just about anyone could get on board with!

Basil Chicken

Basil Chicken Coconut Curry

Servings: 4          Total active time:  ~ 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  3. 1 lb fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch peices
  4. 1 C frozen peas
  5. 1 14oz can light coconut milk
  6. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1/8 – 1/4 t cayenne
  8. 1 1/2 T dried basil
  9. 1/2 t chili powder
  10. 1 t ground ginger
  11. 1 T curry powder
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  13. 1 T cornstarch (gluten free)
  14. 2 T olive oil
  15. Fresh basil for serving
  16. 3 C riced cauliflower** or cooked white rice

Instructions:

  1. Combine chili powder, curry, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bag or bowl.  Toss with chicken to coat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat.  Cook onion, garlic, and dried basil for a few minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add chicken, asparagus, and peas and continue to saute until chicken is cooked through.  Add about 1/2 of coconut milk.  Thoroughly mix remaining coconut milk with cornstarch and add to pan.
  4. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve over cooked, riced cauliflower or rice, top with finely chopped basil, and enjoy!

**For the cauliflower rice, I used a bag of frozen riced cauliflower.  I heated a small amount of olive oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat, added the frozen cauliflower, and sauted until it was heated through.  I lighted salted it and added a few grounds of fresh black pepper as well.

Nutrition info (including 1/4 of the riced cauliflower):

396 total cals, 36 g protein, 30 g carb, 16 g fat

Note:  CeceOnTheGo participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  The products linked are products actually used when preparing this recipe