Hey guys! I’m Amanda, one of Jamie’s friends and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to write a little somethin’ somethin’ for StudioEats! Like Jamie, I’m another NYC lady who has a big love for cooking and a teeny tiny kitchen to boot. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like trying to strategically place your pots and pans on a stove top that looks like it might have been invented for hobbits. It definitely makes for an experience.
As an avid foodie and inspired home cook, I’ve learned how to use a little imagination to make the best of things I already have on-hand in my kitchen. I would love to attribute my busy lifestyle for the impromptu meals that come together only after I’m already in the kitchen cooking. But if I’m being honest, it’s my true inability to follow a recipe and my clear obsession with all things food TV and reading related, that inspire most of the things I make. This usually means that no dish gets made the same way twice and heaven forbid I remember to write any of it down!
This Coconut Curry Soup is a perfect example of just that. There is no recipe, no measuring and no standard ingredient list. If the curry paste seems intense, use less of it. Tofu not your thing? Use chicken, beef or keep it veggie. And if you’re like me and can’t get enough of the spicy stuff, I just end up topping everything with a ridiculous amount of sriracha in the end.
Most of the items are usually things I already have in my fridge, freezer and cabinets (unless it really is a crazy work week) so I would encourage you to be creative and use what works for you. As with most folks in studio kitchens, I’m usually cooking for one or two so feel free to adjust accordingly.
Coconut Curry Soup
(Apologies for the approximate portion sizes – I warned you I don’t write anything down!)
1 tbsp oil (canola or vegetable work best)
1 small to medium onion, finely diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 ½ tsp red curry paste (for medium/hot heat)
3 c. chicken or vegetable stock
½ 14-oz can of regular or lite coconut milk
1 heaping tbsp of brown sugar
5-6oz firm tofu
1 c. carrots peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
1 handful of string beans, cut in half
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 lime wedge
Sriracha to taste (optional)
Slice the tofu into cubes whatever size you fancy – I usually try to stay between a ½ and 1inch. Remember the smaller they are, the faster they cook. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil that is generously sprayed with cooking spray (trust me, you’ll thank me later). Spread the tofu in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Pop in an oven around 400 degrees and bake for approximately 20 minutes depending on how chewy and crisp you like your tofu. If substituting beef or chicken, cook off in a skillet prior to adding to the soup.
Heat up oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add your aromatics including onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add curry paste and “mash” together with onion mixture until combined. Stir while cooking for another minute or two. Your kitchen (or studio, as the case may be) should now smell like a Thai restaurant.
Slowly whisk in the coconut milk and broth and reheat to a low boil. Whisk in brown sugar and any other seasonings you like (salt, sesame oil, thai basil if you can find it!). After a few minutes, drop in the cooked tofu and let reheat. About 5 minutes before serving, add in all of your sliced veggies including carrots, red pepper, mushrooms and string beans. I like my veggies on the crisp side and definitely not mushy so I like to wait until the last minute to add.
Ladle soup into individual bowls and top with chopped cilantro and a big squeeze of lime. If your senses aren’t on overload yet, don’t forget about that extra squirt of sriracha! Enjoy!