Thai style lentil soup


I made this soup out of  the normal ‘base’ vegetables and what I had available. Hence no fresh coriander, which I would have added at the end, if I had had some. This quantity will feed 2-3 people:

  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced)
  • 1 celery stick (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (sliced/roughly chopped)
  • 1 large chilli (green or red: cored, deseeded and chopped)
  • 2 pieces of dried lemongrass (chopped)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (crumbled)
  • 2 generous teaspoons of Thai curry paste (green or red)
  • 50g creamed coconut (the hard block sort, crumbled)
  • 200g good quality tinned of chopped tomatoes (ie 1/2 a tin)
  • 800 ml water
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or stock cube equivalent)
  • 120g red split lentils (washed under the cold tap in a sieve)
  • 1 bundle of fine rice noodles (c. 60g)
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lime

Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chilli, lemon grass and the kaffir lime leaves. Mix the ingredients well, turn down the heat and stir frequently over a lowish heat for about five minutes.

Add the curry paste, creamed coconut (crumble in), chopped tomatoes, water, stock powder and the lentils. Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for about thirty minutes.

Blend the soup – in a liquidiser, food processor, or use a hand blender (my preference because it is so much easier to clean than a liquidiser or food processor) in the saucepan.

Break up the noodles and stir into the soup. Heat the soup until it just starts to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lime juice and grated zest. At this point the soup is very thick. You can add some cold water which will reduce the overall temperature so that it can be eaten immediately (if you are freezing it, the thick soup saves space).


Fusion risotto


This is what happens when you don’t label the contents of your freezer.

I found a small pot of what I thought was semi-skimmed milk. Started defrosting it, and decided to sniff it – it was coconut milk – no good for the macaroni cheese I’d been thinking of making!

Anyway, I decided to make a ‘Thai’ risotto. I also had some leftover baby sweet corn and sugar-snap peas. I was the only one at home, so this recipe is for 1:

  • Oil
  • 1 stem lemongrass (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 onion (chopped)
  • 1 small clove of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (crushed)
  • 2 tsp Nam Pla
  • 75g brown long grain rice
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp green Thai curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp vegi stock powder
  • Hot water (for topping-up)
  • 4 baby sweetcorn (halved lengthways and cut into 3cm pieces)
  • 8 sugar-snap peas
  • A few coriander leaves

Heat a little oil in a saucepan (one with a thick base). Add the lemongrass, onion, garlic and chilli, and gently cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice, and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, the curry paste and the stock powder. Stir well and cook for 20 minutes (or until the rice is nearly cooked). Stir fairly frequently and top-up with hot water as necessary.

Add the baby sweetcorn and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Then add the sugar-snap peas and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Serve – sprinkled with torn coriander leaves.