I enjoy hearty dishes in the first cold days of winter, but comes January, I start craving something lighter. This is my perfect January soup: bit spicy, warming and fully comforting, but light and green at the same time.
When you look at the recipe, it might seem like a lot of work, but it's not. The recipe is super easy and putting everything together will take a maxiumum of half an hour and that includes making the curry paste and crispy broccoli topping. And you can always use a good store-bought green curry paste and limit the toppings to fresh coriander and sesame seeds.
Recipe: Green curry broccoli soup
3 tbsp green curry paste
one large broccoli, divided into small florets
800 ml vegetable stock
400 ml coconut milk
a handful fresh coriander
Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add broccoli florets and cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add the stock and coconut milk, combine, cover and bring to boil.
Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender - 5-10 minutes .
Before serving, blend or process until smooth.
Season with lime juice.
Top each serving with fresh cilantro and crispy broccoli florets.
Recipe: Crispy broccoli florets
a handful broccoli florets
one tbsp coconut oil
one tbsp soy sauce
one tsp honey
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Heat coconut oil in a small pan, add broccoli and fry for one minute.
Add soy sauce combined with honey and continue cooking, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
Add sesame seeds and combine.
Recipe: Green curry paste
5 medium green chilies, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
a bunch fresh cilantro
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
2 limes, juice and zest
one tbsp coriander seeds
one tsp ground cumin
one tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp soy sauce
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.
Delicious, aromatic and wonderfully warming, Vietnamese pho soup is a perfect remedy for a spring cold and a bad mood. As you can probably imagine, there are numerous variations and regional modifications of the recipe. The one I propose is my way of quickly making a satisfying bowl of soup.
I’ve made mine with shrimp, but you could use thin slices of beef instead. If you want your version to be vegan, go for cubed tofu. You can substitute mint and cilantro with your favourite fresh herbs and spice things up with Sriracha sauce.
It is consumed at any time of day in the North of Vietnam, whereas Southern Vietnamese usually serve it in the morning. It might seem weird to have a bowl of soup for breakfast, but trust me - it really is the best way to start your day. Especially on Mondays.
Recipe: Pho soup
4 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
one piece (ok. 5 cm) ginger
one green chili
2 garlic cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 anise stars
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
To serve: rice noodles, raw shrimp, green chili, lime, fresh mint and cilantro
Char the onion and ginger over an open flame.
In a large pot, dry-roast cloves, cinnamon, anise, coriander and cardamom.
Add onion, ginger, chili and stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer, covered, for about an hour.
Season with sugar, soy sauce and lime juice.
In each bowl, place some noodles, shrimp, sliced green chillies, lime wedges, fresh mint and cilantro.
If you keep dreaming about hearty, warming dishes (l do), this recipe will help you follow your dreams. These might not be the most audacious desires you have, but, let's face it - they're not that time consuming either. The preparation is 15 minutes tops and having done that, all you need to do is sit and enjoy the rich aroma that fills the kitchen. You could even devote that time to some other dreams you have - to rule the world or to bake a chocolate fudge cake. A warming, slightly spicy stew with chorizo, chickpeas, kale and red wine is a perfect start to a cold Thursday afternoon.
Recipe: Chorizo and chickpea stew
one large onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red chili pepper, sliced
one tbsp. of butter
one cup of cooked chickpeas
2-3 Spanish chorizos (300 g), thickly sliced
2 cups of peeled and chopped tomatoes
one cup of dry red wine
250 g of kale, sliced
one tsp. of coriander seeds
one tsp. of cumin seeds
one tsp. of brown sugar
2-3 bay leaves
Roast coriander and cumin seeds and grind them using a mortar.
In a large pot, melt the butter, add garlic, onion and chili and cook through. Add chorizo, cumin and coriander, cook for another minute.
Add chickpeas, tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar and wine. Simmer to thicken, for about 30 minutes.