Taste 8: Sweet Potato Carrot Coconut Soup

Call me old fashioned.  But, when he calls me at 9 pm to say he’s coming over, I naturally ask if he’s eaten.  When the response is “no,” I think it’s time to get cooking. Nine pm is generally considered late to start cooking, so I decided to make something simple with whatever I had in the kitchen.  In this case, for my eighth dish in my 14-part series (or challenge:) of giving him a taste of how much I care, I made roasted sweet potato and carrot coconut soup topped with coconut baby bok choy. With a name so long, it might sound like a complex dish, but it was simple and delicious.

Here’s how I made it-

I started by roasting two garnet yams (peeled), four carrots (also peeled), and a sliced shallot in a tablespoon of coconut cream (or fat- the thick cream at the top of an undisturbed can of coconut milk) and a few tablespoons of maple syrup.  This took approximately 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

When the yams and carrots are easily pierced with a fork, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 15 minutes or so.  Meanwhile, skim off the rest of the coconut fat and separate it from the clear water. I LOVE this white temptress. I could eat it with a spoon.

Next, coarsely chop the baby bok choy and separate the leafy greens from the celery-like stalk. Chop a little red onion (maybe 1/2 cup), and you’re ready to assemble the meal.

Put the yams and carrots, the rest of the coconut water, and enough broth (veggie or chicken) to cover the yams into the Vitamix.  Blend this into a perfectly smooth puree (it just takes a few seconds in my favorite 2 horse-power toy).  Pour this into a stock pot and simmer on medium high.  I seasoned it with some cinnamon, cayenne, Vietnamese Sweet Lemongrass Curry (a Savory Spice Shop original), and soy sauce.  How much of those ingredients did I add? I don’t know… a little of this, a little of that. I’d say season to your liking.

While the soup was heating, I added the last dollop of coconut fat to a pan on medium high and started to sauté the onion.  When that was translucent, I added the stalky part of the bok choy and got that soft before adding the chopped bok choy leaves. Then a splash of soy sauce, and it’s done.

Top the soup with coconut baby bok choy and enjoy.

 

Sweet Lemon Curry Mahi Mahi

Let’s hear it for Savory Spice Shop!
They make delicious spice mixes, right here in Colorado, and will ship them to you if you’re not close to a store.
For this meal, I made a veggie and mahi mahi coconut curry, served with basmati rice and sliced avocado.
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound mahi mahi
  • 1 small can coconut milk, undisturbed
  • 3 TB Savory Spice Shop’s Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry spice mix
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut as the green pepper
  • baby bok choy (an amount the size of a small head of lettuce)
  • 1 Avocado
First, cut the mahi mahi into one-inch cubes. Make a spice-rub paste from 2 TB of the curry mix, 2 TB water, and 1/2 TB of the coconut creme scooped out of the undisturbed can of coconut milk. Undisturbed essentially means the can has been upright and not shaken for a day or more. All of the creme will be on the top, so you can scoop this out for a concentrated flavor.
Mix the 2 TB curry, 2 TB water, and 1/2 TB coconut creme into a paste and spread on the fish. Coat all of the cubes with this and allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Next, chop the baby bok choy. Like always, separate the leafy part from the celery-like stalks. Add the celery-like part to a dry 4 quart sauce pan and start to cook on medium high heat. Add 2 TB water and the rest of the leafy bok choy. Cook this a couple minutes until it turns brighter green and starts to wilt. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and scrape out all remnant of the bok choy.
Put that pan back on the stove and add the rest of the coconut creme. On medium high heat, stir the creme for a minute or two and then add the carrot slices. Next, add the peppers and coat them in creme. Then, add the coconut “water” from the can, 1 can of extra water, one more TB of curry seasoning, and stir well. Let this cook a few minutes. Then add the fish and cook 5-7 minutes until it is just cooked through.
To serve: Put some prepared basmati rice in a bowl, top that with some of the bok choy, a few scoops of curry, and some sliced avocado. Enjoy.

Tofu and Veggie Soba Noodle Stir Fry

As always with tofu recipes, let’s review. Firm tofu, frozen, thawed, pressed (see my recipe for Asian Style Baked Tofu).
First, marinate the tofu in:
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 TB pure maple syrup
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp (or more depending on your preferences) Chinese Chili Paste or Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1 square inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 TB toasted sesame oil
Mix up the marinade. Make cubes of the tofu and soak in this sauce for 30 minutes or more.
Next, follow the instructions on a package of soba noodles. Different brands may have slightly different instructions, so follow them, cook the noodles, drain, and rinse them in cold water to stop them from cooking. Put them to the side.
While the noodles are cooking, chop the following:
  • baby bok choy (an amount the size of a small head of lettuce)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 pepper, any color will do
Throw the celery-like stalk part of the baby bok choy in a hot wok. Start to soften it a little in a splash of water. Then add the tofu cubes. Do not add the marinade yet. Just the cubes. Start to stir fry these for a few minutes. Then add the carrot and a couple tablespoons of soy sauce. Add the pepper and 1/4 cup peanut butter. Start to mix this and add 1/4 cup water to help dissolve the peanut butter. Next, add the leafy part of the bok choy and mix well. Be careful not to break the tofu cubes while mixing. Finally, add the noodles and the rest of the marinade from the tofu. Mix all of this well and heat the noodles thoroughly. Enjoy with chopsticks.

Fresh Veggie Stir Fry in Garlic Ginger Sauce

Chop:

  • Baby Bok Choy (separate the leafy part from the stalky end)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups broccoli
Other ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB dried ginger (use 2 TB freshly grated if you have it)
  • 1 TB toasted sesame oil
In a wok, add the stalky part of the chopped baby bok choy. As the wok heats, add the water. Next add the peppers and cook a few minutes before adding the soy sauce and ginger. Then, add the garlic and cook another minute before adding the leafy part of the baby bok choy. Finally, add the broccoli and cook 2 more minutes and you are done. Remove from heat and drizzle with toasted sesame oil.
(this dish is excellent with farmer’s market, fresh, organic veggies. I usually try to add more flavors when using store-bought or frozen veggies)
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