See attachment for recipe.
If there was only one crowd- or family-pleasing recipe I could share with you, this would be it.
A few years ago, Kisi Watkins, a member of this forum, sponsored a dinner for a huge crowd, with the cooking done by Jim and Colleen Simmons, along with the all-day cooking efforts of Kisi and many other exhausted volunteers. There were many tables overflowing with colorful, eye-appealing mounds of platter after platter of healthy food. The building wafted with gastronomically pleasing aromas of deliciousness. The most wonderful dish I tasted that night was a Curry Coconut Soup dish that was served over basmati rice; it has quickly become a family favorite.
I immediately went home to search my copy of Original Fast Foods for the recipe. Much to my dismay it wasn't there. After inquiring, I learned from Kisi that there was no recipe. After tasting it in a restaurant, Jim had gone home and made up his own version. (What skills he and Colleen have!) Jim was kind enough to share the ingredients with Kisi, and then via e-mail, Kisi and I both worked to come up with our own versions of this remarkable soup as we attempted to narrow down the ingredient quantities.
I've refined my version over the past few years, having to adjust it to my family's taste, adding additional ingredients we tried and liked, and adjusting for ingredients readily available in my area or budget. Here's some tips that might help you:
- Feel free to use less vegetable bouillon to reduce the sodium, although you may have to tweak the other ingredients to boost the flavor. I use bouillon cubes by "The Organic Gourmet," which I get at my local health food store, Good Earth. (By the way, two people, Colleen Simmons being one of them, have advised me the reduced sodium version isn't as good, so I will pass that tip on to you.) I love this stuff for soups! After several years of trying to find a vegetarian replacement for chicken bouillon, this has won my family over so much we buy it by the "case" when we can.
- Each bottle of red curry paste seems to differ in heat intensity. Some are very hot when using just 2 tsp. for this recipe. Other bottles require 3 to 4 tsp.to give off even the slightest hint of curry. Taste and adjust. I always use the Thai Kitchen brand available in most grocery stores in the Asian or Ethnic foods isle, as it is what Jim Simmons recommended.
- I use Thai Kitchen canned coconut milk exclusively, as I've experienced it has the most consistent flavor. (Some canned coconut milk tastes like fish to me, so, not being a fish lover, I stick to this brand even tho it may cost a little bit more. Walmart has the best everyday price, unless you can find it elsewhere on sale.)
- Someday, when I can afford it, I will experiment using So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk (found in the refrigerated section of health food stores), as it seems to be rich without the "canned" taste. (It's beyond my budget right now.)
- I use coarsely grated carrots, using a very old Saladmaster attachment my mother bought many years ago. They resemble julienned carrots, size-wise. I've tried the soup using store-bought julienned carrots, but they had a funny "bag" or preservative flavor so I won't use them again. Feel free to use if your taste buds aren't as sensitive as mine. If you have a shredder attachment that goes with your Bosch machine, that will be very close to the size my carrots are. Box graters or Cuisinart food processors grate too fine for my taste, but if that's all you have, use them.
- Get all your ingredients ready before-hand to make the soup a quick assembly. You can even prepare the vegetables, with the exception of the potatoes, the night before, which I've done successfully when I've known I'd have a time-crunch getting this meal on the table..
- When the recipe shows a variance of ingredients, as in "2 to 3 small zucchini," I use the amount that is shown in bold and underlined. (And my small zucchini is probably most people's medium.)
- I add the ingredients in Step # 8, such as zucchini, celery, carrots, etc. and immediately turn the stove off. I don't cook them as the recipe states. I just let the hot soup warm them up. By the time we get the soup on the table and everyone assembled for a blessing, those vegetables are cooked crisp-tender. Overcook them and the soup doesn't taste the same.
Warning: Last year, my brother came into town and treated us to a local Thai restaurant. I was delighted when he ordered their Curry Coconut Soup for all of us to sample. After one taste, I knew this wasn't up to snuff with our recipe. Bland, very little color, very little vegetables, and most disappointing. This is one dish that will remain homemade, at least at our house.
FYI: the photo in the recipe is not mine. It was the closest I could find online (although a pale imitation), so follow the recipe, not the photo! The real thing looks like vegetable jewels floating in a coconut milk broth, with just the slightest hint of yellowish-orange from the curry paste.
We lost my old recipe version, as well as Kisi's, when the former Original Fast Foods forum crashed. Hopefully Kisi saved a copy and will post her version soon, as it was a little simpler. I must say, this has become one of my family's most prized recipes. Please try it and see if you don't agree.