FOR DINNER LAST NIGHT: THAI INSPIRED PUMPKIN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

I tried to make this soup for dinner two nights ago, from Cooking for Keeps: http://www.cookingforkeeps.com/2014/10/13/spicy-thai-style-pumpkin-butternut-ramen/

Of course I sort of looked at the recipe and then did something similar like I always do, so I didn’t exactly follow this recipe, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a blog post about it.  The first night I served the soup with soba noodles, because I didn’t feel like making my own ramen noodles, and I think soba noodles are a little more interesting than store-bought ramen.  The soup was ok.  It was spicy and comforting, which is what I was hoping for.  But it lacked a depth of flavor.  Then last night, the soup had thickened a little from the swiss chard (my personal addition to the recipe). I added some toasted rice to the soup instead of noodles, and it was somehow more satisfying.

I know that serving this stew with rice is in many ways similar to the Mushroom Jambalaya I posted about earlier this week, but I actually made these dishes several weeks apart.  So have no fear, I didn’t feed my husband two different mushroom stews with rice in one week.

thai soup.jpg

My notes:

1)  I doubled the recipe (kind of), but it made a HUGE amount of food.

2)  There were no shiitakes available at Tony’s when I was grocery shopping, so I used these giant portobello mushrooms that they had instead.  I also couldn’t get fresno chiles, so I replaced them with jalapeños.  I still had about a half of a can of chipotle (2 peppers maybe?) in adobo leftover in the fridge from something, so I blended that in with the chili paste and some of the coconut milk before adding it to the broth.  This added quite a bit of heat, which I loved.  I imagine without it, the soup would have been too bland for me (I’m sure I would have added a lot of Sriracha).

3)  Obviously I used veggie broth instead of chicken.  And obviously I omitted the chicken.  I decided to add a leafy green instead.  I went with Swiss Chard.

4)  Although I mostly doubled the recipe in terms of quantity, I did only use one can of coconut milk.

5)  As I mentioned, I cooked up some soba noodles to serve the first time we ate it, but I made toasted rice to go with the leftovers.

soup with soba.jpg

 


 

TOASTED RICE:

I used a short grain Egyptian white rice, because that’s what I had in my cupboard, and it worked really well for this texture-wise.  But I’m sure any rice would work.  I made one cup of uncooked rice.  Rinse the rice a couple of times to get the starch off, until the water is clear.  Heat up two tablespoons of butter or oil in a wide-bottomed pot or pan.  When the oil starts to smoke, add the rice, and allow to toast, and become ever so lightly browned.  At this point you can add two cups of water and a half a teaspoon of salt, and cook until done.  I personally transferred the toasted rice to my rice cooker, added two cups of water, half a teaspoon of salt and a one large or two small bayleaves.  I just like the ease of not having to keep an eye on it.  (If you are interested in buying a rice cooker, please consider doing so through this link.)

soup with rice.jpg

Similar to making a risotto, toasting the rice to add to the soup helped the rice have a great texture and not disappear into the soup.

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