Friday, February 02, 2007


May 2008 update: Pretty, huh? If you're wondering what the orange chunks are, that's because the farmers' market didn't have red bell pepper, so I used orange instead. Also, on a whim I sprinkled cilantro over the top of the soup this time and it was awesome, so I've added it as an optional ingredient below.

I’ve had this recipe for at least 5 years, but I don’t cook it too often. When I do make it, I enjoy it, but then I forget it, catch sight of it in my recipe book and wonder, “Really? Did I really like that enough to keep it?”, and decide to test it again. No more of such shenanigans! After cooking it yet again on Sunday night, I am definitively telling you: this is a good recipe.

It’s quite different from most of the things I make; I tend not to be into “exotic” international cooking, only because I figure I can’t possibly (at least, not without a great deal of specialty grocery shopping and effort) cook anything at home that will be as authentic and complex and awesome as the Pad Thai I can get just down the street from my apartment, for instance. I’d rather leave it to the pros. But although this soup has a lot of ingredients, they’re all basic. They marry together well and create a complex, multi-layered taste, but without any difficulty whatsoever on the chef’s part. Cut things up, add them to the pan in stages, cook them, and voila! A curried, coconutty, cheerfully yellow, hearty, vegetable-laden soup.

This recipe is so flawless, I didn’t even have to make a single change. No ingredient substitutions, no quantity adjustments, no comical errors! I wish I could remember where I found it.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced gingerroot
2 cups (6 ounces) thinly sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 large boiling (waxy) potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
1½ cups green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup fine egg noodles or 1-inch pieces broken spaghetti
minced cilantro for garnish (if desired)

1. Warm oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté, stirring often, 10 minutes or until onions are soft and golden.

2. Add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes. Sprinkle on coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and cook 2 minutes, stirring often.

3. Pour in the stock, coconut milk, and salt, and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Mix in the green beans, red pepper, and noodles, and cook at a lively simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables and noodles are tender. Stir in lemon juice.

Serves: 4–6
Time: 1 hour

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