This soup starts with a simple lemongrass stock. It can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. The soup is quite simple, and takes less than 10 minutes to put together (once the stock is made). It would take less than an hour to make both the stock and the soup. If you want to make this on a weeknight, but are usually pressed for time, make the stock on the weekend and you'll have a very quick dinner later in the week.
This soup photographed really well, I think. But here's a secret: in person, it's a lot more...neon. Blame the turmeric combined with the slightly green stock, but it's an almost hilariously day-glow bright soup. Somehow, that just didn't translate to the photos (not that I mind!).
Yield: about 1 quart of stock
3 fresh lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups water
1. Combine all ingredients in a stock pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes.
2. Place a strainer over a large bowl, and strain out the vegetables. Use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze the stock for later use.
Thai Coconut Mushroom Soup
Yield: 4 servings
1 recipe Lemongrass Stock (about 4 cups)
Juice of one lime
1 14.5 oz can coconut milk (light or regular)
pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 block of tofu, about 6 oz, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs - cilantro, thai basil, or parsley work well
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1. Combine stock, lime juice, and coconut milk in a pot over high heat. Stir in cayenne, turmeric, and coriander. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and add tofu and mushrooms.
2. Simmer 5 minutes or so, then stir in fresh herbs and salt. Taste and adjust salt and heat to your preference.
We enjoyed this soup with some quick naan for dipping. This simple soup is one we'll be making again - I've been contemplating a chicken version too.