Sometimes I feel like making something a little more exotic than the usual vegetable or chicken soup. I thought a Thai soup would liven things up. Cole had been leafing through my collection of cookbooks and was particularly interested in the recipes with shrimp, so I had bought a package of frozen shrimp for him. This Thai soup was a perfect opportunity to use them. The only problem is that apparently I’m horrible at peeling shrimp. Tony and Cole both found remnants of shell in their soup and weren’t impressed. I had even bought ‘easy-peel’ shrimp, but that didn’t seem to help. Cole suggested I buy shrimp that’s already peeled next time. Good thinking, Cole.
Other than containing the odd shrimp shell fragment, this soup was a success. Tony seemed very impressed, and Cole was happy that I remembered he wanted shrimp. Bennett sat quitely slurping up noodles, so I think he was happy too.
I used light coconut milk to make it a little lower in fat, but you could definitely use a full fat coconut milk if you want a richer soup. Also feel free to use more curry paste. I used the mild stuff and a tablespoon was plenty for us, but we’re weaklings. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. It really does come together quite quickly because many of the ingredients take only a few minutes to cook. While the soup is simmering, get all the rest of the ingredients ready so you can promptly add them to the pot when the time comes. Hey, and if you use Cole’s idea of buying pre-peeled (and even pre-cooked) shrimp, your soup will be ready even faster. Plus, there won’t be any annoying pieces of shell.
Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 heaping tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 (14 oz) cans light coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 cups vegetable broth
60g rice vermicelli noodles
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 pkg bean sprouts
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp peanut butter
juice and zest of 1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
Heat oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Saute shrimp until opaque, then remove shrimp from the pot and set them aside in a covered bowl. In the same pot, saute onions, garlic and celery for several minutes until softened. Add curry paste, coconut milk, ginger and broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add noodles, spinach, green onions and bean sprouts. Cook for a few minutes until noodles are soft and spinach has wilted. Return shrimp to pot. Add brown sugar, peanut butter, lime juice and zest, and salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Serve in bowls and garnish with cilantro, if desired.