You’ve probably heard of curry, but has coconut curry soup blessed your taste buds?
In this article, we will travel all the way to Asia and discover this classic Thai soup that’s the very definition of healthy and delicious. Curry dish is one thing, but curry soup is another.
If you’re running out of ideas for dishes to cook during the cold weather (and even the not-so-cold ones), coconut curry soup will surely bring a new warm taste to the table and transport you to the flavors of Southeast Asia.
Read on as I share with you what is coconut curry soup, what is in it, and how to make coconut curry soup without rushing to your neighborhood Thai restaurant.
What is Coconut Curry Soup?
Coconut curry soup is a healthy concoction of everything healthy, with the flavors of Thailand, including curry and coconut, as essential and staple ingredients.
If you’re wondering what is in coconut curry soup for me to claim it as a healthy dish, let’s just say most of the ingredients in this dish can be taken out of most gardens. Yes, it’s mostly comprised of fresh produce and vegetables.
So, what do we need to make coconut curry soup? We would need vegetable oil, butter, curry paste, garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, mushrooms, green onions, limes, cilantro, shredded chicken (if cooking chicken coconut curry soup), veggie (or chicken) broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
In terms of curry paste, there are a variety of curry pastes available in the market. You may confuse curry powder for curry paste, but it is necessary to use curry paste instead for this recipe. You can differentiate curry paste by its colors in red, yellow, and green for Thai curry pastes.
Curry pastes are usually composed of turmeric, coriander, chili powder, and cumin and mixed with oil, garlic, lemongrass, Thai ginger, and chilies. The difference between red, green, and yellow curry paste in Thailand commonly stems from some of the components that give it its unique color and flavor, which is Thai long chilies for red curry paste, a fresher state of chilies than red curry paste for green curry paste, and turmeric for yellow curry paste.
For this recipe, I will mainly use yellow curry paste for a nice balance of sweetness and spiciness.
Meanwhile, coconut milk, another star ingredient of this dish, will give the soup its light, creamy and hearty flavor. You may choose regular or light coconut milk, depending on your preference.
How to Make Coconut Curry Soup
To start on how to make coconut curry soup, you need to first get on with the slicing. Our ingredients are primarily fresh produce and vegetables, so slicing and chopping them beforehand will make the entire process easier for you.
Then on a large pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Why add butter when there’s already oil, you say? Butter makes everything rich. If you’re unsure how your dish would taste, just add butter.
When your oil and butter are heated up, add onions and saute until aromatic and softened. Then, add your curry paste (yellow curry paste in my case), then mix all your sliced vegetables like bell pepper, mushrooms, ginger, and garlic. I also sometimes like adding broccoli, but you can do without it.
Add all your liquids, including broth, coconut milk, and fish sauce, then season with your spices like pepper flakes and brown sugar to pump up a little sweetness.
Simmer the dish until the coconut milk is reduced so that the curry soup thickens, preferably for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice, green onions, and cilantro, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
You can always adjust your ingredients to make your coconut curry soup spicier, such as substituting yellow curry paste with red curry paste or adding more pepper or pepper flakes.
How to Make Chicken Coconut Curry Soup
The recipe above mainly tackles a vegetarian approach to coconut curry soup, but chicken coconut curry soup is for you if you want a meat-focused approach.
So, how to make chicken coconut curry soup instead?
Following the steps above, simply add the chicken together with the coconut milk. I prefer adding shredded chicken to chicken cuts as they are easier and faster to cook and are better suited for curry soup. You can also substitute vegetable stock with chicken stock for a better chicken flavor.
How to Thicken Coconut Curry Soup
The secret to how to thicken coconut curry soup is none other than coconut milk. For most dishes, people add coconut milk to make their dishes thicker. In cases like curry soup, the thicker the soup, the better, and the suitable coconut milk brings out this thickness in the soup.
For an even thicker coconut curry soup, choose full-fat coconut milk for a luscious and creamy coconut curry soup. Light coconut milk is okay but just won’t yield the same results.
Also! Remember to let the soup simmer and cook long enough, so it thickens. Most errors in thickening soups come from taking the soup out too early and not letting the coconut milk simmer down and thicken.
What to Serve with Coconut Curry Soup
Nothing better comes to mind than rice when thinking of what to serve with coconut curry soup. I alternate between white or brown rice. Asians are known for consuming rice daily, and with a dish like a coconut curry soup– it’s no wonder.
If you’re not a fan of rice, you can pair this creamy soup with bread, particularly baguette or croutons.