There’s always a short period after the Christmas holidays when I feel really… blah. Or bliax as my brother used to say. Everything is dreary and depressing: the holidays are over, the weather is freaking awful, the Christmas tree needs to be taken down and spring seems such a long way away. Today was quite possibly the apotheosis of all things blah, with a downpour of such epic proportions that the tree outside our house finally had enough and keeled over. Thankfully, it fell in slow motion and we avoided a major disaster such as the windows breaking and/or people getting hurt.
While trees were being uprooted outside, I was in the kitchen making soup. If there’s one’s thing that’s good for the January blues, it is this soup. It is packed with flavour: ginger, garlic, lemongrass, coconut, lime juice and chillies. It is both comforting and exciting and, needless to say, delicious. But it is also a little bit of a nightmare to photograph. I did three different set ups, changed the props twice and hated the photos so much I considered throwing the soup against a wall. I did throw a bowl in the sink with such force that it broke (in case my husband is reading this… the sink is fine). I suppose I will put this food blogger drama behind me tomorrow unless the next recipe decides to be difficult!
The soup is vegan and low in calories – if you want to reduce the fat content, replace the coconut cream with light coconut milk. If you can’t find ‘lazy’ lemongrass (comes in a jar) then use two lemongrass stalks, removing the tough outer layers and pounding the centres into a paste. If you want to add a few edamame beans as garnish you can cook a handful in a microwave. A handful of fresh spinach stirred in towards the end would up the green colour and go nicely with the other flavours.
- 2 litres | about 8 cups vegetable stock
- 400g | 14oz frozen peas
- 100g | 3.5oz frozen edamame beans
- 100g | 3.5oz brocolli, chopped (I used the stalk)
- 100g | 3.5oz coconut cream
- 1 medium leek, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (or canola oil)
- 2 tbsp lemongrass paste (from a jar)
- 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro) stalks
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 small green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
- pinch dried chilli flakes
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- juice of 1 lime, more to serve
- a little grated lime zest, to garnish (optional)
- fresh coriander leaves to garnish
- a few edamame beans to garnish (optional)
- Heat the coconut oil in a large casserole and then sweat the leek and garlic over medium-low heat until they start to soften.
- Add the broccoli, lemongrass, coriander stalks, ginger, chopped chilli, kaffir lime leaves and good pinch of salt. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring everything together.
- Add the stock, peas, edamame beans and bring to the boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut cream and lime juice and cook a further 5 minutes..
- Remove the lime leaves and liquidise the soup in a blender until you have your preferred consistency. Check the seasoning.
- Serve with a pinch of dried chilli flakes, a little coconut cream swirled over the soup (optional), a few coriander leaves to garnish and extra lime wedges on the side.
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