DDD #91 – Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef with Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.  I had a head of purple cabbage in my fridge that was the size of a basketball.   I decided to add half of it to some leftover rice to accomplish two things: not waste all the cabbage & to extend the quantity of rice with some guiltless & vibrant cabbage.  I am very happy with the result both in color & the crunch the cabbage adds to the texture.  I recommend it very highly.

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Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

(I used a tad more cabbage than rice but the ratio is up to you.)

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups chopped purple cabbage

1/2 onion – diced

1 cup grated or slivered carrots

1-5 cloves garlic – chopped

2 or more TBS fresh minced ginger

1 TBS sesame (or other) oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.  Add the onions, & cabbage & saute until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, rice & ginger & stir to combine & warm through.  Add the garlic and saute another minute or two.  Serve.

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Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef

Serves 2 very well (this is HALF the recipe I made in the video)

INGREDIENTS

2 or 3 stalks of lemongrass – cut into 3″ lengths & smashed with the handle of a knife (to bruise them & release the flavor.  The cooked lemongrass is inedible so pick around it in the finished dish.) . Or – use the juice of 1/2 lemon.

8+ ounces seitan (or other meat replacement like – Beyond Meat Chicken or Gardein beef or pork products)

3 dry red chilies (optional – they are quite spicy) – crumbled a bit

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 or more cups of fresh green beans – trimmed

1 TBS sambal oelek or garlic chili paste (more for extra heat)

3 TBS vegan mushroom or oyster-favored sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS ground anise or szechuan pepper

2 TBS dark soy sauce (it gives the seitan that dark & beefy color)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS shao xing rice wine

2 TBS brown sugar

Potential garnished: sliced red or green jalapeno peppers, basil or mint or cilantro leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan & add the dry red chilies – if using.  Add the lemongrass & saute a minute or two.  Add the green beans & saute on high heat until they begin to sear a bit.

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Add the remaining ingredients.  Add about 1/4 cup water to aid in steaming the beans a bit & create some sauce.  Heat through – until the sauce thickens.  Serve with rice.

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Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef with Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I had a head of purple cabbage in my fridge that was the size of a basketball.   I decided to add half of it to some leftover rice to accomplish two things: not waste all the cabbage & to extend the quantity of rice with some guiltless & vibrant cabbage.  I am very happy with the result both in color & the crunch the cabbage adds to the texture.  I recommend it very highly.

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Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

(I used a tad more cabbage than rice but the ratio is up to you.)

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups chopped purple cabbage

1/2 onion – diced

1 cup grated or slivered carrots

1-5 cloves garlic – chopped

2 or more TBS fresh minced ginger

1 TBS sesame (or other) oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.  Add the onions, & cabbage & saute until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, rice & ginger & stir to combine & warm through.  Add the garlic and saute another minute or two.  Serve.

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Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef

Serves 2 very well

INGREDIENTS

3 stalks of lemongrass – cut into 3″ lengths & smashed with the handle of a knife (to bruise them & release the flavor.  The cooked lemongrass is inedible so pick around it in the finished dish.)

8+ ounces seitan (or other meat replacement like – Beyond Meat Chicken or Gardein beef or pork products)

3 dry red chilies (optional – they are quite spicy) – crumbled a bit

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 or more cups of fresh green beans – trimmed

1 TBS sambal oelek or garlic chili paste (more for extra heat)

3 TBS vegan mushroom or oyster-favored sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS ground anise or szechuan pepper

2 TBS dark soy sauce (it gives the seitan that dark & beefy color)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS shao xing rice wine

2 TBS brown sugar

Potential garnished: sliced red or green jalapeno peppers, basil or mint or cilantro leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan & add the dry red chilies – if using.  Add the lemongrass & saute a minute or two.  Add the green beans & saute on high heat until they begin to sear a bit.

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Add the remaining ingredients.  Add about 1/4 cup water to aid in steaming the beans a bit & create some sauce.  Heat through – until the sauce thickens.  Serve with rice.

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Beyond Meat Vegetarian Vietnamese Lemongrass with Beyond Chicken – Frozen Dinner – Part 2

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Ever have a bad day? Just found out you need a root canal? Someone blurted out a spoiler for your favorite show? Donated all your “skinny clothes” because you finally accepted that they will never fit again (or even ever come back into fashion)? Somebody put a big dent in your car & didn’t leave a note? Huge zit appeared the day before a blind date? Saw an old photo of yourself that you used to HATE & now you wish you still looked half that good?  Tried to twerk & threw your back out?

Need a little comfort food to go with your box of wine but you can’t really cook or you are too exhausted, anyway?

Beyond Meat to the rescue!

Beyond Meat has done it again!  Very soon, 4 different, single-serving frozen meals will become available.  They might already be available at Whole Foods in the frozen meal aisle.  I was lucky enough to find one of each kind and I will talk about the Vegetarian Vietnamese Lemongrass here today.

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Zaps in the microwave in between 3-6 minutes.  Despite the slightly higher calorie count (compared to the Korean BBQ) – but still only 350 calories – it was lighter than the BBQ dish.  I like my food spicy so I added a TBS or two of sambal oelek to this & it was perfect!  And for those concerned about protein intake – this has 20 grams!

Non-GMO & 100% vegan – this is a welcome new dish in the convenience food market.  I highly recommend it!  Vegan, non-GMO & right in the ballpark with Lean Cuisines (et al) with a very low calorie count.  Win-win-win!

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Vegan Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Hey, everyone!  I wrote a hilarious novel and, if you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will.  Read the reviews on Amazon – HERE!  They are very encouraging!

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That said, I have been stocking up on this free vegan chicken!  Get the coupon HERE.  The coupon is good until the end of May so be sure to print a boat load out & have them in the car.  Use one every time you shop!  Here is what the packaging looks like & it is found in the freezer section.

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This dish is very easy & genuinely spicy.  If spice ain’t your thang – cut back on the hot peppers.  If fresh lemongrass is unavailable to you, just squeeze in fresh lemon to taste.

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Vegan Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

serves two with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 9 oz package of vegan chicken (or real chicken)

2 TBS fish sauce (or use soy sauce for a vegan version)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS curry powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp sugar

3 TBS olive oil

2 lemongrass stalks

1-2 fresh lemons

1 large shallot (or small onion) – diced

3 red chilies (or serrano or jalapeno) – or to taste – seeded & chopped

1 scallion – chopped – for garnish

4 additional TBS sugar

water

Steamed rice

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DIRECTIONS

Mix the fish (or soy) sauce in a glass container with the garlic, curry powder, salt and 1 1/2 tsp sugar.  Blend well.  Add the chicken & marinate for at least an hour.

Make rice according to directions.

In a deep stock pan, heat 2 TBS water & 4 TBS sugar over high heat.  Stir until the sugar dissolves & then boil undisturbed until a caramel colored glaze begins to form.  The first time I tried this – the glaze literally spontaneously combusted & burst into flames – so be really careful when doing this.  As soon as it is browned – remove it from the fire.  CAREFULLY add 4 TBS water, combine & set aside AWAY FROM FLAMES.

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Peel the course outer parts of the lemongrass away & dice only the tenderest inner part.  If you have no lemongrass – use 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice instead.  Prepare the peppers & shallot.

When ready to eat, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wok or large frying pan.  Add the lemongrass, shallot & chilies.  Saute until tender.  Add the chicken & the sugar glaze & saute until the fake chicken is heated through (or the real chicken is cooked) and the sauce thickens a bit.  Serve over steamed rice with scallions & lemon wedges as garnish.

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Spicy Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp & Vietnamese Egg Roll (Cha Gio) Vermicelli Salad Bowl

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I’ve loved Vietnamese food since high school when my parents & I would go to the Saigon Inn in the Combat Zone (red light district) in Boston in the late seventies-early eighties.  It was a tiny place on the edge of Chinatown in an old, white, free-standing building that had once been a White Castle or something.  There were 4 or 5 tables and maybe six stools at a counter & everything on the menu was under $4.  It is here that I learned about hoisin sauce & sambal oelek & vermicelli bowls and about eating their little egg rolls (cha gio) wrapped in lettuce leaves & dipped in nuoc cham (sweet chili dipping sauce).  We would go there late nights after seeing bands like Bauhaus or X or Gray Numan somewhere in town – like The Channel or The Rat.  And I walked around looking like this:

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My parents long bragged that they loved the Saigon Inn so much that even the discovery of a cockroach in my step-dad’s half-consumed iced coffee did not dull their passion for the place.  In fact, that roach should have come as no surprise as this restaurant was situated in one of the filthiest & most run down areas of downtown (Chinatowns everywhere are seldom famous for their hygiene & fresh scents – and red light districts have their own grotesquerie to offer).  Also, the roaches at Saigon Inn were bold & you were hard pressed to eat there & not spot a few walking nonchalantly up walls or across menus.

As a quick aside, let me share this gorgeous photo I found as I hunted for a shot of the Saigon Inn.

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Boston, Combat Zone 1970 – by Jerry Berndt.  Found HERE.  Isn’t that sensational?

This one, too, by the same guy.

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And this (though I do not know if it is from the same guy or exhibition in Boston).

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So – with that, I present my Spicy Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp & Vietnamese Egg Roll (Cha Gio) Vermicelli Salad Bowl!

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A key to this dish is the dipping sauce – the nuoc cham (or spicy chili dipping sauce).  If you cannot find it in an Asian store like this

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then there are lots of recipes for variations of it, if you Google the term.  Here is the basic recipe (from www.VietWorldKitchen.com):

Basic Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Cham)

Makes ¾ cup

3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup water
2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce

Optional additions:
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon homemade chili garlic sauce or store bought (tuong ot toi)

1. Make limeade. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and as yourself this question: Does this limeade taste good? Adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.

2. Finish with fish sauce. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Aim for a bold, forward finish — perhaps a little stronger than what you’d normally like. This sauce is likely to be used to add final flavor to foods wrapped in lettuce or herbs, which are not salted and therefore need a little lift to heighten the overall eating experience. My mother looks for color to gauge her dipping sauce. When it’s a light honey or amber, she knows she’s close.

Notes

Advance Preparation – This sauce may be prepared early in the day and left to sit at room temperature.

Variation – Use half lime juice and half Japanese rice vinegar for a less assertive sauce. Some delicately flavored dishes require this.

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The Vietnamese egg rolls can be purchased like this

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but these might be hard for you to find.  They are nice because they are tiny – about the size of one of my fingers cut in half.  These are also nice because they are vegan.  But, if you cannot find these you could Google a recipe to make them (traditionally, they are filled with ground pork) or you could just use any old frozen egg rolls of your choice.  If they are big egg rolls, just slice them up after frying.

I added shrimp to this dish because I wanted it to be more substantial & I didn’t want to eat a dozen fried egg rolls.  You could go all shrimp or all egg rolls or even add grilled veggies.   These vermicelli bowls were topped with all sorts of things (sliced meats, meatballs etc etc) at the Saigon Inn, maybe even some things we are glad we are unaware of, so feel free to customize this to your taste.

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I had this for dinner two nights in a row.  The first time was less successful because I used fresh vermicelli like this

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which got gooey & clumped together.  These guys are far better for soups, like my Vegetarian Pho.

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As another side note – if you love that pho but do not want the calories those noodles represent, why not try my ZERO CALORIE ZERO CARB Vegetarian Shirataki Pho?

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Last night I made the salad bowl with these dry vermicelli noodles.

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They worked far better so I recommend this type for the salad bowls.

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Spicy Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp & Vietnamese Egg Roll (Cha Gio) Vermicelli Salad Bowl

INGREDIENTS

Vermicelli noodles – cooked as directed, rinsed in cool water & left at room temperature.

Egg rolls – fried as directed (or baked, if you prefer)

Shrimp – peeled & cleaned

Cucumber – cut into matchsticks

Carrot – grated

Sprouts

Red or green leaf lettuce – roughly chopped (leaving some pieces large enough to wrap around bite-sized egg roll slices)

Basil and/or mint (even cilantro works) – to be hand torn & mixed into the bowl after serving

Lime

Peanuts – chopped

nuoc cham (recipe above or bottled)

Sambal oelek or sriracha – as additional condiments, if you want to add a kick

For the shrimp marinade

1 lemongrass stalk

1 shallot

3 jalapenos – seeded

2 hands full basil (I used both Thai basil & Thai hot basil but any basil will do)

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup sambal oelek (or chili paste or sriracha)

1 TBS sugar

2 TBS olive oil

4 garlic cloves

Juice of 2 limes

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DIRECTIONS

Peel & clean the shrimp & put them in a Ziplock bag or a lidded (preferably glass) container.  Hit the lemongrass with a tenderizer or (as I did) with a heavy pepper mill or something & bruise it up.  Slice it into large chunks & add to the shrimp.

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Puree the shallot, lime juice, jalapeno, basil, fish sauce, sambal oelek, sugar, garlic & oil.  Add to the shrimp & toss well.  Refrigerate for an hour or as long as overnight.

Then simply cook the vermicelli.  This is a room temp dish with warm toppings so – make the noodles & assemble them in a bowl(s).  Surround them with the lettuce, cucumber, carrots, sprouts, basil, lime wedges & top with peanuts.

Grill the shrimp & cook the egg rolls.  Add them to your bowl.

Serve with the dipping sauce (you can even pour it on top of the whole lot & mix it all up).

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Thai Chili Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp with Sweet Basil & Lime Fried Rice

2 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I went to the Asian market yesterday & bought a few things that struck me as suiting shrimp well.  While some of the ingredients I bought (and used in this recipe) might be hard to find where you live – no one of them are critical to this dish & most can be substituted with ingredients found in most large grocery stores.  So – do not be intimidated by the ingredients in this dish.  Once the shrimp have marinated  & the rice is cooked – this comes together very easily & is bursting with flavors.  Treat yourself!

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PRINT THIS RECIPE

Thai Chili Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp with Sweet Basil & Lime Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb large shrimp – peeled & cleaned

4 cups cooked rice (your choice on variety)

FOR THE MARINADE:

1/4 cup fish sauce (or oyster sauce – if fish sauce is unavailable)

1/4 cup fresh lime (or lemon) juice

1 TBS chili paste (sambal oelek or sriracha)

1 stalk lemongrass (or the zest of half a lemon) – bruised with a rolling pin & sliced

1 red (or green) jalapeno – seeded & diced

2 serrano (or other spicy) peppers – seeded and diced

20 Thai (or other) basil leaves – diced

1/4 cup sugar

1 TBS oil (I used olive oil)

4 garlic cloves – minced

FOR THE RICE:

1 TBS chili garlic paste (or sambal oelek or sriracha)

30 Thai sweet basil leaves (or other basil)

1 ear corn – kernels cut from cob (or equivalent canned or frozen) –  optional

1 bunch bunashimeji mushrooms (or enoki or chopped white mushrooms) – optional

2 limes

fresh cilantro

4 TBS oil (I used olive oil)

3 shallots – diced

4 scallions – sliced thinly

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 red (or green) jalapenos

2 TBS fish sauce (or oyster sauce)

3 TBS oyster sauce

1 red bell pepper – seeded & chopped

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your rice to net 4 cups cooked rice.   Clean the shrimp.

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Bruise the lemongrass (if using) by smashing it with a rolling pin to split the sides.  This releases the flavor & aroma.  Chop it up in 1-2 inch chunks.

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Whisk the fish (or oyster) sauce with the juice of your lime (or lemon) and then whisk in the sugar until it dissolves.  Combine all the other ingredients (chili paste, lemongrass (or lemon zest), jalapeno, serranos, chopped basil, oil & garlic_ and toss with the shrimp to coat completely.  Marinate in a glass bowl or zip lock bag – in the fridge – for as long as possible (at least an hour but 3-4 is even better).  Agitate the marinade ever 30 minutes or so to evenly distribute flavors.

Heat a grill or grill pan & cook your shrimp over high heat until JUST cooked through.  Err on the side of under-cooked as they will continue to cook after being removed from the heat.

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In a wok or other large frying or saute pan, heat the oil and add the chopped shallots, garlic, scallions, jalapenos, bell pepper, corn, mushrooms, & about HALF of the chopped basil.  After a few minutes, add the fish & oyster sauces, the chili garlic paste and saute another 5 minutes or so.  Add the 4 cups of cooked rice & blend well.  Right before serving – stir in the rest of the chopped basil and squeeze in the juice of half a lime.

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Serve by placing a portion of rice on each plate & several grilled shrimp.  Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro & be sure to squeeze fresh lime over the rice AND the shrimp.  Place a lime wedge on each dish.  Serve!

Get ready to eat like a prison inmate, crouched over your plate, protecting its contents and growling at any errant hand that strays too close for your comfort.  This dish is ridiculously tasty!

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Tom Yum or Spicy Lemongrass Soup

2 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

This is one easy soup!  Spicy, healthy & delicious!  Fresh lemongrass is key here, though, so make sure some is available to you.  My Asian market – Bangluck in Hollywood – is CHEAP & full of so many amazing ingredients – it is genuinely inspiring.  The Thai restaurant next door (a very good one – FYI) always pumps the most delicious smells out, too – increasing the inspirational impact of Bangluck.  I recommend stopping by the Sanam Luang Cafe after a long night of drinking & watching bikini dancers at Jumbo’s Clown Room – across the street.  Jumbo’s is FANTASTIC – btw.  No cover.  No drink minimum.  No girls hustling drinks or lap dances.  And no nudity.  So civilized – my mother requested a stop there one Christmas Eve.  True story.

Anyway – this soup.  Let’s get to it.  Know that it is very spicy.  GREAT for cold & flu season & might even qualify as a hangover cure, too!  This can be made with or without the addition of coconut milk.  I chose not to use it in favor of a lighter, healthier soup but the coconut version is delicious, too!

One great resource is the canned curry paste available at Bankluck – for about $1.19.  Cheap & versatile!  This recipe calls for the red variety.

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PRINT THIS RECIPE

Tom Yum or Spicy Lemongrass Soup

INGREDIENTS

2 stalks of lemongrass

5+ slices of fresh ginger – sliced like large inedible disks

5 TBS fish sauce

2 limes

2 serrano chiles

1 tsp chili paste with garlic (more if you are a glutton for spice – less if you are not)

1 cup mushrooms – sliced

1 TBS red curry paste

1 small tomato – diced (I used leftover canned stuff from my Chick Pea Curry dish – and didn’t like it.  Use a fresh tomato.)

4 cups vegetable stock

4+ of any of the following OPTIONS: baby corn, straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, shrimp, tofu, 1 cup of lite coconut milk.

Thai basil, mint and/or cilantro for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Cut the end off the lemongrass stalks and peel away the dried layers.  Using a coffee mug or a rolling pin or other sturdy thing – gently hammer the lemongrass.  This is called bruising & it makes the lemongrass release its fragrance & flavor.  Cut the lemongrass into one inch sections.

Cute the serranos in into quarters & seed them.  With the flat side of a knife – press the chiles a little – bruising them a bit, too, so they release their flavor more completely.

Heat the stock & when boiling – add the lemongrass, serranos, ginger, fish sauce, chili paste, red curry paste & the juice of one lime.  Reduce the heat so that the soup stays very hot – but isn’t at a rolling boil.  Add the chopped tomato and mushrooms and all of the other ingredients you elected to use.  Simmer for about 15 minutes so that all the flavors can meld and the shrimp – if you are using it – is cooked through.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls & garnish with whatever herbs you selected (basil, mint and/or cilantro) and serve each bowl with a wedge of lime.

NOTE: The lemongrass, serranos & ginger slices should not be eaten.  Either remove them before serving or avoid them in your bowl.

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012