Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Peanuts, Ginger, and Lime...Oh My!

Shortly after moving to Okinawa, a neighbor introduced us to the local Thai takeout place about 10 minutes from our home on Camp McTureous. Anyone reading this who ever lived on this island at Camp Courtney or McT will know exactly which little place I'm referring to. The food is incredible...a bit overpriced, but incredible nonetheless. My favorite dish to order was the Tom Ka Gai, which is a soup made with chicken meat, chicken broth, onions, coconut milk, and copious amounts of ginger, peanuts, and garlic. Since becoming vegan, I have longed with sadness and frustration for that soup and for my total lack of knowledge in Thai cooking. How could I veganize something I never knew how to make in the first place, right?

I read dozens of recipes for tom ka gai online, but all of them were heavily dependent on the chicken for their flavor, and some of them even had dairy products as well. That didn't help me. I abandoned my quest for tom ka gai and focused on making peanut and ginger soups. Three practically inedible disasters made from online vegan recipes were the result. So, this past week, I sat down and created the following recipe. I used proportions from other Asian soup recipes to determine how much of the flavors to use, and I used my memory of the flavors in the restaurant soup along with the flavors I knew were included in traditional tom ka gai's to assemble my ingredient list. We made it tonight for dinner.

HOLY FUDGESICKLES!! (That was for you, Christina) This was a total soupgasm. I am seriously proud of myself for this recipe. I defy anyone to taste my soup next to the restaurant version and tell me the difference (you know, except that mine doesn't have any chlorinated chicken bits, fish sauce, cholesterol, or anything else bad for your body in it). If you make no other recipe from my blog...try this soup. It is just incredible. Now, you'll have to excuse me. I'm am seriously going to finish this post as fast as I can so I can go eat another bowl of this stuff before it gets cold.

Don't be intimidated by the ingredients. If you cannot find lemongrass in your produce section, you can substitute with cilantro (which I had to do this time even though we usually do have lemongrass available) or flat parsley if you don't care for cilantro. Coconut milk is available in regular 14-15oz. cans in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores. Remember that soup is your friend and very forgiving. This one has a long ingredient list, but it's very simple to make.

Enjoy and God bless!


Project 1:29 Tom Ka Gai

1T Sesame Oil
3T Canola Oil
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, minced or crushed
2T Ginger Root, minced or crushed (see photo below)
1/2C Roasted Peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4tsp Red Pepper Flakes (totally optional)
6C Water
2 Cubes Vegetable Bouillon
1/2tsp Turmeric
1/2C fresh Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, pureed or finely-chopped (do not use a canned product)
1 Can Coconut Milk
4 Servings Soup Noodles (use flat Asian soup noodles or ramen)
1/3C Lime Juice, freshly-squeezed
1/2C Lemongrass, chopped

In a large pot, warm the oils over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and peanuts. Toss that around a bit until the onions are softened. Pour in the water, bouillon, turmeric, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and add coconut milk and the noodles. Cover. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are all separated and tender (see your noodle package for cooking times). Remove from heat. Toss in the lime juice and lemongrass. Stir well, and taste. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.

1 comment:

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