We finally have tender yellow green leaves on the trees. The witches fingers of bare branches are all wearing tiny bows of color and from a distance the lilac trees look like poofed up bichon frisés after a spin at the doggie salon.
I kind of hold my breath until the leaves return, immediately softening the look of the city. My shoulders relax a bit. I walk taller. It’s no wonder that people fall in love in the springtime with all these lovely blossoms fluttering down in showers and making patterns on the sidewalk.
Like anything new, though, the spring can still deliver a bracing, stiff wind even as the sun shines brightly. The days of sitting outside for long periods of time aren’t quite here yet. And that’s why slurping up a warm bowl of soup is still necessary in the springtime.
I love Thai food and here in Boston there are at least three Thai restaurants within a five-minute walk from my office. So I rarely make Thai food at home. But I couldn’t stop thinking about this combination of coconut milk, shrimp, and the heat from Thai curry paste. The green onions and lemongrass give it a fresh, spring look and taste. The lime serves as a bright highlight, like the sun suddenly bursting through a storm cloud.
Also, I took some shortcuts that I have no embarrassment about. I used prepared lemongrass (it comes in a tube and I found it at Shaw’s in the fresh veggie section), minced ginger, and Thai curry paste from tiny jars.
With these shortcuts the total time from start to slurping was about 20 minutes, giving me plenty of time to escape the kitchen and sniff the lilacs outdoors in the fresh air.
Coconut curry shrimp soup
1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons lemongrass
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 serrano chili, sliced into rounds
1 teaspoon Thai curry paste
3/4 cup cooked shrimp
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
1 tablespoon sliced basil, for garnish
Freshly squeezed lime juice, to garnish
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes to ensure flavors blend.
Add shrimp and cook an additional 3-5 minutes to cook through.
Ladle into bowls, garnish with green onions, basil, and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Related post on Kitchen Report: Soup for ‘June Gloom’