Limes are the odd man out when it comes to citrus. They're smaller and dryer than most of the other fruits in the family, and they're usually relegated to a small heap hidden somewhere behind a huge stack of navel oranges. You sometimes really have to hunt for them. Limes are featured in far fewer recipes than their yellow cousins---they shine in cocktails, a few desserts, and then in Persian, Indian, and Mexican recipes. But there are lots of lesser known varieties that we, at least in the US, rarely see, like the Australian finger lime, the blood lime (with red flesh) the warty kaffir lime, the tiny key lime, and the mandarin lime (a cross between a mandarin orange and a lime), just to name a few. I hope they catch on in the next few years.
I love the flavor of lime, I think it's more complex than lemon, and more interesting. The sour is less sour, and the essence of the peel is more floral. When you come across really juicy ones, they are a joy to cook with.
Thai coconut soups are some of the easiest to make, this one comes together almost instantly in the time it takes for the shrimp to saute. The broth isn't dependent on long simmering or tons of ingredients. The coconut milk and lime combine to make a really bright flavor.
The juices from the shrimp, and a few widely available Thai flavorings like fish sauce and green curry paste round out the soup. I don't even bother to chop the cilantro, I like the leaves as they are.
Thai Coconut Lime Soup
1/2 lb raw shrimp
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Serrano (or other hot green) pepper, thinly sliced, seeds and all
1/2 onion, sliced into thin wedges
3 Tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 oz mushroom, sliced
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (reserve a few for garnish)
zest of 1 lime
- Heat the oil in a pot and saute the shrimp just until pink on both sides. Set aside.
- In the same pan saute the ginger, garlic, hot pepper and onion for a few minutes on low to medium heat, until the onion starts to soften.
- Add in the curry paste, brown sugar, and mushrooms. Saute for a few more minutes.
- Add the coconut milk, lime juice, and water to the pan. Bring up to a simmer and cook gently for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cooked shrimp and cilantro to the pot. Heat through. Taste for seasoning adjustments.
- Serve hot with cilantro and lime zest as garnish.
This soup has a very strong flavor profile, starting with the twang of lime and finishing with the heat from the hot peppers. Are you enjoying All Citrus Week? I am!
one year ago today---