~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dayle’s Version of Thai Soup, More or Less

Some of you asked for the Thai soup recipe I mentioned here, and it made me laugh and laugh. Do you know me? I’m the one who doesn’t cook. I just flail about in the kitchen trying not to poison anyone. I don’t like recipes. Recipes are like rules, and I really hate rules unless I understand their underlying purpose. (See, e.g., (a) why I don’t like Regency romances and (b) why I feel the need to research the history of any ritual.)

This may explain why it just took me 10 minutes to figure out where I’d saved this recipe on the computer.

This is cobbled together from several recipes I found online,* with my own preferences clearly noted. All amounts are arbitrary.

Dayle’s Version of Thai Soup, More or Less

  • 2 containers of that organic vegetable stock. The rectangular cardboard kind, not the cans. You could use chicken stock, too, from the cardboard thingies. Or you could make your own stock.
  • 1–2 stalks of lemongrass. The original recipes say to mince them, but I hate hate hate accidentally chomping down on an unchewable piece of lemongrass. So I treat them kind of like bay leaves: I whack them in half, and leave them floating in the soup, and throw them out towards the end when they start to get in the way and annoy me.
  • 1–2 tsp chili sauce. I think I used at least 2½ tsp, and it was marginally hot for me. Ken liked it. He doesn’t like things as spicy as I do. I’d probably use 3 tsp if I made it when he was out of town.
  • 1 tsp curry powder. Or more, if you like it.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced. Or more. I love garlic. Mmm, garlic.
  • 2 cups cabbage. Or more. I’m fond of cabbage.
  • green onion. I like green onion, too, so I’ll throw a goodly amount in.
  • tomatoes. Chop one or two up and throw them in, to your taste.
  • 1 can coconut milk.
  • 3–4 Tbsp soy sauce.
  • 1–2 Tbsp fish sauce, if you like it. Note: Do not grab the fish sauce when you’re putting in the soy sauce, or the final product will be rather salty. It was still edible and didn’t bother me much, but it might be too much for you. So remember, the fish sauce bottle and the soy sauce bottle look different, and you should pay attention to them.
  • 2–3 Tbsp lime juice. The original recipes said fresh-squeezed, but damn those limes are wee and don’t give much juice. The hell with that.
  • ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped.
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped. Don’t add this if you think cilantro tastes like soap, like Morgana does. I like cilantro, so I add it unless I think I’ll be inviting Morgana over to dinner. But why do they sell cilantro in such huge bunches? No matter how hard I try, I can never use it up before it gets all slimy.
  • The original recipes called for mushrooms, and if you know me, you can visualize me shuddering in disgust now.
  • shrimp. I love me some shrimps. I couldn’t have them during the cleanse, but I’ll add them now. Quantity is unknown due to lack of experimentation. I also wouldn't add shrimp if Morgana was coming to dinner. But I might add chicken.
  • tofu. See shrimp. I wonder if I should fry it up first? No idea.
  • cauliflower.** Since I couldn’t have shrimp or tofu during the cleanse, I steamed some cauliflower and threw it in, and it was yummy. I don’t know how much I used. Don’t say I didn’t warn you re: not liking recipes and rules.

  • Pour the veggie/chicken stock into a big pot. Add the lemongrass, lime juice, chili, garlic, and green onion. (If you’re like me, you’ll space and add the coconut milk and other liquids here. Not sure why you’re not supposed to, except maybe you’re not supposed to boil the milk. I dunno.) Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, “or until broth is fragrant.” I have no freaking clue what that last part means. It was smelling pretty damn good all along. If you're like me, you'll use this time to frantically chop everything else.
  • Add the cabbage and tomatoes, and probably things like mushrooms and shrimp and tofu and cauliflower. I didn’t cobble this together in a coherent fashion, okay? Gently simmer 1–2 more minutes (cabbage should remain on the crisp side, and not go over to the Dark Side. Which is a good rule of life, really.).
  • Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk, soy sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice, unless you were like me and automatically added them earlier.
  • Taste it. If it’s not spicy enough, add more chili sauce. If it’s not salty enough (really?), add more soy sauce or fish sauce or a stock cube/powder or salt. If it’s too salty or sweet, add more lime juice. I’m not holding your hand through this, okay?
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the basil and cilantro. Or, if you’re lazy like me, you’ll just throw the basil and cilantro in towards the end. Presentation is for wusses. Just give me my soup.  ::clutches bowl close to chest, slurps, makes omnomnom noises::

*This is my usual way of finding things to make. I go online and search various websites, and copy several versions of what I want, and then sort of randomly cobble them together into a Word document. My oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe (which can also be an oatmeal cranberry cookie recipe) is three different recipes on the same piece of paper. Each time I make them, I try to remember which bits from which recipe I used. So they’re never the same twice. Fun!

**Thank goodness for spell check, because apparently I don’t know how to spell this.


Kelebek said...

Ahhahahahahaha! You cook like I do, complete with snarky comments. If cooking something for the first time, or trying to replicate something I've had in a restaurant, I frequently search the interwebs for multiple recipes and cobble together something from all of them. Even then, I won't cook things the same way twice. I'm always messing with my recipes. :-)

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Thanks! This is largely what goes through my head when I'm cooking (along with some expletives about how long it's taking, etc.).

I was hoping someone would find it funny!