“A Menu of Memories”
To see the entire seven course meal menu please click on the menu bar on the main blog page and click on the title of the menu -“A Menu of Memories”
This soup course is truly one of my personal favorites. As I mentioned on the menu page, I have been trying for years to recreate the broth I used to have for breakfast in Indonesia. But for breakfast, it was served with eggs, taro and shrimp crackers. For the purpose of the seven course meal I used a light seafood. Also, many Indonesian and Malaysian recipes use a shrimp paste as a base to their dishes. Instead of the shrimp base, I simmered shrimp inside the broth. This broth requires you to make your own curry paste. And for that I borrowed some of the ingredients and technique from a recipe at bonappetite.com for Chicken Khao Soi. But for the soup itself, I altered some of the ingredients to better serve its place in the seven course menu.
Coconut Curry Broth With Red Shrimp
Serves 6-8 as part of a seven course meal. As a main dish then maybe 4-6 people.
3 Guajillo Chiles- stems and seeds removed and then soaked in hot water for 45 minutes
8 Cloves of Garlic
1 2″ Piece of Ginger
The stems from a bunch of Cilantro
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tbsp Turmeric
1 tsp Curry Powder
1/2 cup Chicken Broth-warm
Put all of the ingredients, except for the chicken broth, into a blender. I have an extremely powerful blender that does not require me to peel or shop anything which saves me time, especially when this is for a seven course meal. If your blender is not powerful enough or if you are using a food processor then please take the time to peel and chop everything up as fine as you can. Otherwise this paste will become a headache for you and will ruin the texture of your soup (believe me, I’ve been there). Add the chicken broth tablespoon at a time and blend slowly. As you add more of the broth slowly increase your speed. Be careful blending warm liquids! After several minutes you should have a smooth paste. No pieces of guajillo peppers should be seen. Not even small ones. Because they will sit on your tongue and refuse to move and your guests will wonder why you served them pieces of plastic in your soup. Smooth Paste. It is a must.
Just in case you can’t get it smooth enough- it’s not the end of your dish. Just be patient and I’ll explain a rescue method after you begin the broth.
2 Cans of Lite Coconut Milk-must be lite because this is a broth and should not override the rest of the meal with a layer of coconut fat
2 cups of Chicken Broth
3 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp of tamarind pulp dissolved in 2 tbsp of hot water
1 tsp Rice Vinegar
1 lb of Shrimp (peeled and deveined-wild caught if you can) or Langosteens
Heat 2 tbsp of oil on medium high heat in a heavy pan and sauté the paste (from the recipe above) until the paste starts to absorb all the oil and becomes slightly darker. This step is to cook the paste and make sure that the spices don’t remain bitter. Don’t burn it by using a light pan or having the heat too high. Once the paste has darkened add all of your broth ingredients except for the shrimp. Now if you see that there are bits and pieces of guajillo peppers or tamarind floating around (because the pulp people didn’t grind it enough) then you will let the broth completely come together and then strain it into another pot. If you managed to get a very fine paste in the beginning then you can skip that step. Once you have a smooth broth without any floating pieces then you can throw in your shrimp or langosteens. Let them absorb the flavor of the broth for 10-15 minutes. I actually put it all into a slow cooker and just left it on low until the guests were ready for the soup course.
If you ever would like to serve this as a main course then it must be dressed up like one. Which means more seafood thrown in or chicken. You can top it off with bean sprouts, cilantro, fried tofu pieces, spring onions, thai basil, fried noodles or even peanuts. Go crazy. Its all about texture and complementing flavors. And don’t forget condiments like chili oil or some sesame oil drizzled on top.