Coconut fish soup revisited

Having previously discovered the simplicity of preparing a fish soup infused with Thai flavours, tonight was an opportunity to experiment a bit further with different ingredients.   Net result was a wholesome bowl of coconut fish soup with bags of flavour.  The ingredients are predominantly Indian by nature but the soup has more of a Pan Asian feel to it because of the coconut milk and the fresh sambal.  The soup uses ‘kokum’ to provide a bit of tang to the dish – this is typically found in India and commonly used in west coastal fish dishes.   If kokum is not available in your local Indian grocer then feel free to substitute it with some tamarind pulp.

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SONY DSC  SONY DSC

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large fillet of cod cut in half
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger cut in julienne
  • 4 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 75 gm of baby leaf spinach
  • 400ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 kokum pieces chopped
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • Small handful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • Salt to taste

For the sambal

  • 1 cup of shredded coconut roasted till light brown
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small shallot (we used small Indian onions)
  • 4-5 small dried red chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

Pound all the ingredients (except the coconut) to a paste in a pestle and mortar.   Once the roasted coconut has cooled, mix it with the paste and it is ready to serve.

How much will I make?

2 large bowls of soup

How do I make it?

Heat a pan, add coconut oil followed by the caraway seeds, ginger and curry leaves.   Stir for a minute before adding the sliced onions, green chillies and cook for a couple of minutes.   Pour in the coconut milk with 400 ml of water and season with salt and white pepper.   Reduce the heat to low and cook for ten minutes before poaching the cod fillets in the stock till cooked through.   Remove the fillets and add the mushrooms and spinach to the stock – increase heat and cook for five minutes.   To assemble the dish, place the cod fillets in the middle of the bowl and pour stock with vegetables over it.   Garnish with a tablespoon of the sambal and some fresh coriander.  Enjoy.

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Garden fresh – cream of tomato soup with a simple pasta

We have been blessed with plenty of tomatoes this year and having used it in our daily cooking for the last three weeks last night was an opportunity to make some fresh tomato soup.  There is something to be said about picking vegetables fresh and cooking them as there is a distinct difference in flavour versus supermarket bought vegetables.   The soup was simple to make and tasted great with a simple pasta starter.

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Cream of tomato soup

What do I need to make it?

  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes boiled, pureed and strained
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp oilve oil
  • Small handful Thai basil chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the garlic for a few minutes before adding the onion and carrot.   Cook for 5 minutes till the onions appear translucent and then add the paprika and strained tomato.   Add a vegetable stock cube with 500 ml water and simmer over a low heat for another 20 minutes.   Blend the soup and return to heat.   Adjust the seasoning before adding the single cream and chopped Thai basil.  Enjoy.

Cherry tomato pasta

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 large handfuls of gluten free penne boiled
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 6-8 queen size olives sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Handful fresh oregano and basil chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 2

How do I make it?

Heat oilve oil in a pan and then add the garlic.  Saute for a minute and make sure the garlic doesn’t burn before adding the chilli flakes.   Stir for 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes.   Cook for five minutes before adding the sliced olives and cooked penne.    Adjust the seasoning and add the fresh organo and basil.   Enjoy as a starter or make a larger portion for a main meal.

Garden fresh – celery soup

Our vegetable patch bounty of celery is more than we can consume in a month and we used some to make a fresh batch of soup for dinner a couple of nights back.  I decided to experiment a bit with the finishing off the dish and added a couple of teaspoons of flavoured cream cheese which works really well instead of cream (not sure if it is healthier but different definitely).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 3-4 bunches of celery washed, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 gluten free vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50 gms butter
  • 2 tbsp oilve oil
  • 2 tsp cream cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat oil and butter in pan and add garlic and bay leaves to it.  Saute for a minute before adding the onions and sweating them down a bit.  Then add the celery and carrot and give the pan a good mix.   Add 500 ml of water and the stock cubes and bring to a boil.  Simmer the soup on low heat for 30-40 minutes till the vegetables are cooked.  Remove the bay leaves before blending the soup in a food processor till you get a fine puree.  Return to heat and adjust the seasoning.  Add couple of teaspoons of cream cheese, mix and switch off heat.  Serve hot.

Mushroom soup

Fall in love with mushrooms again after you make this fresh batch of soup using an assorted range of mushrooms.  Normally I make soup with closed cup mushrooms but this time I went a bit bizerk in the supermarket aisle and picked up five different varieties.   The net result when combined with other soup staples produced a real flavourful bowl of soup.  It really doesn’t matter what type you use but key is to experiment with different varieties.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 250 gms closed cup mushrooms
  • 250 gms  forestiere mushrooms
  • 100 gms chestnut mushrooms
  • 100 gms wild mushrooms
  • 100 gms Anis mushrooms
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 sprigs of spring onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 red chilies
  • 2 pods of garlic
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 150 ml soured cream
  • Handful chopped tarragon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Prepare all the vegetables by washing them and chopping them into equal size pieces.    Heat oil and butter in pan and saute garlic for a minute (just want to infuse the flavour into the oil).   Add onion, celery, spring onion, green pepper and chili next and stir for 5-8 minutes.   Then add chopped up mushrooms and reduce heat to medium.   Cook this for another 5-8 minutes and then add 2 stock cubes dissolved in 1 cup of warm water.   Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.   Blitz the soup in a blender and bring it back to boil – adjust the seasoning.   Add the soured cream and garnish with fresh chopped tarragon.

Sunday Soup

Sunday is the day I try to clear out our refrigerator.  I usually find some   tired and limp veggies lurking  in the fridge and absolutely hate wasting them. Sometimes we buy packets of herbs for dishes we make during the week and often find that there is a bit leftover. A ll my leftover herbs go into my wholesome Sunday soup.  Shiv and I try to make our soups interesting.  He is a lot better than I am.  I admit defeat when it comes to finesse.  I am the pedestrian home cook and he is more  the chef.  My soup last Sunday had Moroccan flavours and a lot of vegetables which were saved and used before they rotted and had to be thrown away.

I am not going to write a specific recipe for the soup because one can use any vegetable lying around in their refrigerator.  I used carrots, parsnips, broccoli, radish  green peppers, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes, mint, fresh coriander a few curry leaves and garlic.  I sautéed onion and garlic in a bit of butter.  Just as they softened,  I added a bit of salt and two teaspoons of Moroccan Rose Harrissa paste, a teaspoon of cumin powder and then all my vegetables and herbs.  I  then added about a liter of water and two vegetable stock cubes and cooked the vegetables till they were soft enough to be blended.  Once blended I poured enough water to get it to my desired consistency and brought to a boil.  For the garnish,Image I sautéed fresh Rosemary  in butter. I served the soup with a dollop of soured cream with the Rosemary butter drizzled on top.  A delicious and healthy way to use up all my veggies.

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