Distantly Thai Soup

We just had this easy soup for lunch today. I have made it for many years, and the only recent additions are lemon grass and raw cabbage. Lemon grass can be left out, but it does compliment the flavors of this soup.

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Here’s what we put in the soup:

  • 4 large potatoes (almost the size of my fist), cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 400 g cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk lemon grass (I added a pinch of dried lemon grass powder, since the stalk was a bit old)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can chick peas
  • 1 dl cilantro leaves
  • half a lemon
  • fresh ginger, 3 cm piece of a medium root
  • 3 big garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot dried chili
  • 3/4 l water (and 1/2 cube of vegetable stock)

First, I cubed the onion, and saute├ęd it in canola oil, in the cooking pan, until translucent. Then I added finely cut ginger and cooked it for a minute or so, then added roughly cut garlic and chili powder and cooked for another minute.

I washed the potatoes, cut them in cubes, peels on. Then I added them in the cooking pan along with the water, lemon grass, and stock cube. The potatoes were now left to boil until they were soft.

While the potatoes were boiling, I cut the bell pepper in cubes and cabbage in strips, like this:

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I drained the chick peas, and chopped the cilantro finely. When the potatoes were completely soft, it was time to take the lemon grass stalk away from the soup, and add red bell pepper, cabbage, coconut milk, salt, and chick peas. There wasn’t quite enough liquid, so I added some water. After adding all the ingredients, I watched the soup carefully until it started to bubble, and when it did, immediately removed the pan from heat. This way the cabbage remained fresh and crispy.

Before serving, I squeezed the lemon juice in the soup, added the cilantro, mixed everything up, and adjusted the taste by adding a little bit of salt. The taste is a balance of the bitterness of lemon and lemon grass, sweetness of bell peppers and coconut milk, spiciness of chili and ginger, and saltiness of salt. Crispy cabbage and smooth potatoes give this soup a nice variety of textures.

As clear from this picture, the bell peppers started to peel even with minimal cooking time. I think next time I might throw them in at the same time with lemon juice and cilantro, after the pot has been removed from heat, for a firmer texture.

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