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Coconut Red Thai Curry Beet Soup

10 Feb
Coconut Red Thai Curry Beet Soup

Last weekend, Laura and I stopped by the local farmer’s market in Haleiwa, which is about 20 minutes north of where we live. It’s fairly small, at least compared to the big farmer’s market in Hawaii-Kai, down by Diamond Head, but there’s always a pretty decent selection. We had planned to go to the big one on Saturday morning. It opens at 7:30 am, but everybody gets there around 6:30. There are a lot of vendors there, and although no sales can be made before 7:30, the vendors are allowed to pre-sell their items, as long as money isn’t exchanged. Hawaii-Kai, being about an hour away, proved to be too ambitious for a baby that decided to fuss all  throughout the night before, so we settled for Haleiwa on Sunday.

Farmer’s markets around here are great, because it is always growing season, and only a few harvests are seasonal, such as mangoes. We can always get really good tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, yellow zucchini (which is different than summer squash), spring mix, arugula, mushrooms, and all sorts of other things. There are a variety of local and tropical produce as well, like a type of avocado that is the size of a grapefruit, dragon fruit, ramatan (which is very similar to lychee), and fresh coconut. The selection is really quite nice.

There’s really nothing like super fresh and local produce, compared to what we get at the commissary. Most of that stuff comes from California or Mexico. The downside, though, is that the farmer’s markets around here are super expensive. Truth is, most of these local farms are tiny and either sell directly to restaurants, sell at farmer’s markets, or have fruit and vegetable stands on the North Shore to attract tourist dollars. Most of the produce doesn’t leave the island because their production is relatively low to that of a small New England farm, who can supply to small local produce purveyors to sell to restaurants. So the prices end up being higher than stuff you get in a grocery store so that they can still make a buck. It’s a trade-off for the consumer; buy super fresh produce and support local farmers but at a premium price.

There was an organic meat purveyor that was selling organic eggs for $9 a dozen. I mean, really? I’ll pay $4 for organic and cage-free eggs at the commissary, but $9 is just over the top. And I’m sure their meat is very high quality, but I can’t justify paying twice as much ($4 a pound and up) for that either.

So, Laura saw some beets, and was reminded of a soup I make on occasion. Of course, I bought some beets, in addition to other tasty produce, so that I could appease my darling wife! When I first made this soup many years back, it was actually inspired by a Thai red kuri pumpkin soup that was served at a restaurant I used to work at. Red kuri pumpkin has a nice earthy and nutty flavor. The soup, coincidentally, had Thai red curry in it, so I thought replacing the pumpkin with beets would create a nice, albeit different, soup. I had seen coconut beet soup recipes before, so a little addition of Thai curry couldn’t be so bad.

Needless to say, it’s a hit every time I make it, so I thought I would take the time to share. The end product is a vibrant pink color, perhaps making a good addition to a Valentine’s Day themed menu?

Coconut Red Thai Curry Beet Soup

Makes about 2-4 servings, depending on the serving size

Ingredients:

  • About 1 pound of red beets
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 piece of ginger, roughly the size of half a thumb, roughly chopped (for those who demand accuracy, I weighed it and it was .35 ounces)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • 1 ounce of Aji Mirin (sweet  rice cooking wine)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 can of coconut milk (14 ounces)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Thai red curry seasoning (paste or powder, doesn’t matter)

fish sauce is stank, but tastes good in food

Directions:

  1. Place beets with stems removed in a pot and cover with cold water. Boil until cooked through and each beet can be pierced with a skewer all the way  with little resistance.

    Beets in a pot

    Beets in a pot

  2. If your beets vary in size, remove the smaller ones that have finished cooking if the larger ones have not.

    Pull the little ones out when they're done

    Pull the little ones out when they're done

  3. Transfer the cooked beets to a plate to cool a bit. Remove the skins easily by rubbing the beets with a clean dish cloth. It will probably stain the cloth, so don’t use anything you wouldn’t want stained.

    Beets peel easy when they're cooked

    Beets peel easy when they're cooked

  4. Heat a four quart sauce pan on medium-high heat and add the sesame oil and vegetable oil. When hot, add the onions, carrots, ginger and garlic. Stir constantly to avoid burning the garlic. Oh, doesn’t that just smell so good?

    I love the smell of cooking onions, garlic and ginger

    I love the smell of cooking onions, garlic and ginger

  5. When onions are translucent, add the fish sauce, lemon juice, and Aji Mirin. If you use fish sauce in anything, always follow with something acidic! Stir and reduce slightly.

    Cook until onions are translucent

    Cook until onions are translucent

  6. Add the beets, coconut milk, and Thai red curry. Use a wooden spoon to roughly cut the beets up into smaller pieces. Stir and reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes.

    Cooked for 30 minutes and ready to blend

    Cooked for 30 minutes and ready to blend

  7. Time to break out the blender! Remove the soup from the heat and carefully pour it into the blender. Make sure to avoid splashing hot soup on yourself.
  8. Put the cover on the blender and blend the soup on high. Add a little water, as necessary, to thin the soup out a little. Blend for about a minute or two to ensure the soup is nice and smooth. While it’s blending, give the pot it was cooking in a quick rinse to remove any solid particles and wipe clean.
  9. When finished blending, transfer back to the pot the soup was cooking in. Season with salt to taste and reheat if necessary. Serve or chill to serve later.

    But will it blend? Well, yes. It will.

    But will it blend? Well, yes. It will.

Garnished with sour cream and scallions.

Garnished with sour cream and scallions.

More or less Thai red curry seasoning can be used, to your preference, but be keep in mind that if you let this sit overnight in the refrigerator, the curry flavor will get stronger and spicier. That can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your tastes.

Yes, it's very pink

Yes, it's very pink

 

I garnished with a little sour cream that was thinned with milk and some scallions.

Enjoy this on it’s own as lunch, or as a nice starter to an Asian themed meal. Let me know what you think!

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2 Comments

Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Appetizer, Asian, Entree/Main Dish, Food, Soup

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Coconut Red Thai Curry Beet Soup

  1. Julie @ happygoodtime

    February 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    The color is just lovely! I want to swim in it, paint my walls with it, and convert it to lipstick.

    Oh, and eat it. Looks delicious.

     
    • inquebiss

      February 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      It really is a vibrant color, my camera doesn’t do it justice! Not sure i would paint my walls with it, though 😉

       

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