Put the lime in the coconut

Back at home I’ll quite happily have soup for dinner from Monday through to Thursday, especially during the winter. It’s so quick and filling and warm and healthy (kind of) and all-round delicious. And it can generally be made from whatever you have in the fridge, making it super cheap. Could there be a better combination of things for a midweek supper? But here in the Land of Oz soup just doesn’t suit the climate. That was until I was flicking through the lovely Rachel Allen’s Favourite Food at Home book and came across a recipe for coconut, pak choi and basil broth. It sounded pretty yummy.

This Asian inspired soup is perfect for the Australian climate. It’s fresh, hot, sour and very light. I have adapted it slightly, throwing in some red pepper (or capsicum – look at me getting down with the lingo!) and vermicelli noodles just to make it a bit more substantial for a hungry supper. Otherwise The Fella would only complain loudly that I was trying to starve him.

Coconut, pak choi and basil broth

Chopsticks + noodle soup = big giant mess.


2.4 L (4 pints) light chicken or vegetable stock
2 x 410 g tins coconut milk
2 red chillies chopped into rings (Rachel says to deseed them but I like the soup a little hotter)
4 spring onions trimmed and sliced thinly at an angle
2 cloves of garlic pealed and crushed
2 heaped tps grated ginger
3 heads of pak choi (I leave the leaves whole but they could be shredded, it might make for less splashy eating)
1 red pepper (capsicum) sliced into long strips
100 g (3 ½ oz) vermicelli noodles
6 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp sliced basil leaves

Mix the stock, coconut milk, chilli, spring onions, garlic and ginger in a large pot and bring to the boil. Add the vermicelli and red pepper and allow to cook for one minute. Next add the pak choi and cook for a further minute or until the vegetables are just cooked. Add the fish sauce, lime juice and basil and serve.

Could that be any easier?

And so I take it all back, you can have a warm weather soup. And it can be ready and on the table in 10 minutes flat, leaving you lots of time to cool off with a big frosty glass of your favourite Asian beer.


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