Thai Red Curry Soup

Now, I’m going to start off by saying, this is not your typical Thai Red Curry Soup.

I love Thai food, the combination of sweet & sour, salty and spicy just hits all the right notes on my taste buds and absolutely sings to me! But I have a confession…. I absolutely loathe coriander!

Now I know that coriander is one of those herbs that divide the tastebuds of the world, some people absolutely love it and some (this is me) fall into the category that think it tastes like soapy sadness. This taste of soapy sadness is what drove me to create this dish.

Thai curries are flavourful, rich, perfectly balanced masterpieces, but alas, they can be loaded with coriander in it’s various forms – the roots, the stems, the leaves, the seeds… it all gets used!
So I set out, and searched supermarkets, checking the ingredients on jars of Thai red curry paste to see if I could find one without coriander. I looked up Thai red curry paste recipes and found many different versions, but they all seemed to contain it as well.
Not to be defeated, I thought to myself, I can’t be the only person out there craving the delicious Thai flavours minus the coriander!

And so the quest started, and I set about researching different Thai red curry paste bases and looking for flavours that I could use to keep the same harmonious balance of sweet & sour, salty and spicy. Now, I’m sure I will continue tweaking this recipe the more that I make it, and who knows, maybe one day I will fall in love with coriander and introduce it to my curry flavour profile. But, until then, I hope you enjoy my version of a coriander free Thai red curry soup!

THAI RED CURRY SOUP
Ingredients:
Curry Paste:

4 dried red chillies
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 shallots, peeled and cut in half
1 red chilli, de-seeded (but if you want a little extra spice, keep the seeds)
2cm cube peeled ginger
2 tsp lemongrass
1 kafir lime leaf, shredded
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika

Soup:
2 tbsp oil
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp rapadura sugar (you could also use palm sugar or brown sugar)
1 tsp coconut aminos (or you could use Tamari)
2 tsp gluten free kecap manis (sweet soy)
1 can coconut milk
1 litre vegetable stock (you could also use chicken stock if you were adding diced chicken and not making it vegetarian)
2 spring onions, sliced
2 carrots, peeled & thinly sliced

Accompaniments:
230g can water chestnuts, sliced
1/2 red capsicum, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow capsicum, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of pak choy, the stems thinly sliced & the green leaves cut in half
100g tofu puffs, half chopped in half, the other half left whole
Juice of 1/4 – 1/2 lime (dependent on personal taste)
Rice noodles (I used 1/4 cup rice noodles per person – but adjust according to personal preference)
Bean shoots to serve (I used between 1 and 2 tbsp per person)
Extra sliced spring onion to sprinkle over when serving

Method:
To make the curry paste:

1. In a small pot, add the 4 dried, whole chillies and toast, shaking the pan every minute or so, until the chillies start to turn dark and release their oils, then pour some water over the top of the chillies, approximately 1/2 cup and bring to the boil. Let the water simmer for a couple of minutes, turn off the heat and let sit while you continue making the curry paste.
2. Take all remaining items in the curry paste ingredient list and place in a food processor. Add the soaking chillies and a little of the water to help bring the paste together (I added 1 tbsp at a time – it took around 3 tbsp’s water in total, but this will be dependent on your ingredients and their moisture content).
Process the mixture until a smooth paste is formed.

To make the soup:
3. In a large, heavy based stock pan, add 2 tbsp oil and the curry paste. Fry the curry paste for a few minutes, stirring constantly. The oils in the curry paste will start to release and the paste will thicken. After a few minutes, add the 2 sliced shallots and fry for a further minute or so.
4. Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pan, stirring into the mixture, getting all the browned goodness off the base of the pan.
5. Add the rest of the ingredients from the soup ingredient list and mix well together in the pot. Let simmer on a low heat for around 30 minutes. (If the soup has reduced too much by the end of the 30 minutes, add another 250ml water).
6. Cook the rice noodles according to your packets instructions, set aside, ready to assemble.
7. Add the water chestnuts, capsicum, stems of the pak choy and tofu puffs to the soup and simmer together for a further 5 minutes.
8. Stir the leaves of the pak choy through the soup, turn off the heat and place a lid on the pot. After one minute, squeeze in lime juice according to your taste and stir through.

Assembly:
9. Add a quarter cup of rice noodles to each bowl, then, using a large ladle, spoon the broth, vegetables and tofu puffs over the noodles. Add a small mound of bean shoots to the top of the broth and sprinkle with extra chopped spring onion.
10. Eat straight away!

I love to serve mine with crispy gluten free spring onion pancakes and extra chilli oil (for those that need that extra kick of fire). You could also sprinkle it with coriander (my husband loves this), however I have a deep loathing of the herb, so prefer to keep it far away from my broth, but hey, to each their own!

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