OK, so this is my first post on this blog….my reasons for wanting to do this are here. With the advent of RSS I read tons of food blogs and have been trying more and more new stuff in the food & eating realm. I don’t have an extremely small focus on the type of posts I plan on creating; pretty much anything food related is fair game. Initial ideas I’ve had include discussing restaurant experiences, cooking new dishes, talking about some of my old favorites/standby meals, posting some links to food blogs/articles I think are interesting, and ranting about any food related project. With that, here is my first post, which is a new meal I prepared last Sunday.
Asian Food (Thai, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, whatever) is one of my favorite things to eat at home or out. I especially love the way vegetables soak up all the flavors & sauces, and cooking more soups has been on my to do list for a while, so when I came across two great Thai/Chinese recipes within the last few weeks, it seemed like a good idea for a Sunday meal.
The first course of the meal was a Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup which is on the iFoods.tv website. I haven’t used this site much but it was definitely pretty cool being able to watch each step, especially when a part of the recipe involved an ingredient or technique with which I’m not familiar. I found this recipe (and the next course) using the website tastespotting.com. If you haven’t seen this site, check it out. It’s a great aggregate of tons of fantastic looking food with links to blogs and recipes, and if nothing else is great for the drool factor.
Anyways, the recipe is very easy and the instructor is very informative (and has a cool accent and calls shrimp “prawns” which I guess they do over there). I had never made hot and sour soup, but it’s always been my favorite when going out for Chinese food. The addition of lemongrass made it more of a Thai soup to me, but I thought it was even better than the standard hot and sour soup. I had never purchased or cooked with lemongrass, but it was real easy to prep and added so much flavor and fragrance, I will definitely be purchasing it again from the Dekalb Farmer’s Market (which by the way is an awesome place to shop for produce and costs half as much as it would at Whole Paycheck Food’s). Also I had never made a fish stock using shrimp shells so this was all new and fun for me.
The stock of the soup is very easy – you just combine the chicken stock, shrimp shells, and chopped lemongrass. After simmering covered for 15 minutes I strained out the shrimp and lemongrass.
Then, I picked out a little more than half the lemongrass and added it back to the stock.
After that I added all of the previously chopped vegetables and condiments – ginger, thai red chilis, shallots, fish sauce, and garlic chili sauce. The garlic chili sauce was in lieu of the smoked thai chili paste, which I couldn’t find at the store. I didn’t feel like adding mushrooms and I didn’t buy lime leaves either, but believe me there was plenty of flavor. Fish sauce is new to me and that is some pungent stuff but it added great salty flavor. I would slice the ginger thinner next time, and the thai red chilis could be dropped down to one from the recommended two, depending on how hot you like it.
After five minutes of simmering I was ready to add the shrimp.
I added about 12 shrimp then took the soup off the heat and let it cook for about 2 minutes.
Lastly, I added the lime juice and the cilantro garnish which really added to the Thai qualities of the soup.
The soup ended up being a great success that was easy and I will definitely make it again. The only complaint from the table was that it was a little on the too spicy side, and it indeed had a ton of heat. I think one smashed red thai chili would have been enough to satisfy heat-seekers at most tables. Next time I will also make a point to add the mushrooms, and possibly find some other fun stuff to put in there – chicken, tofu, or whatever.
We drank a 2005 Jekel Vineyards Gewürztraminer that really cut through the heat nicely, had great floral aromas and creamy, slightly sweet fruit.
This was just the first course of the meal, next we cooked Green Beans and Tofu in a Thai Coconut Sauce, but I will save that for my next post!
Any feedback on this site (the actual content of this post or the site otherwise) is welcome and I look forward to contributing regularly!