Cooking Thai Food-Shrimp Thai Soup
The Taste of Thai
It was in California that I became entranced with the food of Thailand. My earlier experience with eating food from Asian countries was dining in Chinese restaurants. While they are both popular and plentiful in Michigan, where I grew up, they fall short of the flavors that I later experienced with eating Thai food.
Anyone who has travelled through our 31st state knows of the diverse cultural conglomeration. Seemingly countless ethnic restaurants abound in the Berkeley area alone. From Mexican to Spanish, to Indian and Asian walk down any street and wafts of delicacies will tickle your olfactory senses.
My love for Thai was peaked with the wonderful blend of flavors and textures in Thai dishes; along with the exquisite service. It was a match made in heaven for me, and I enjoyed dining in Thai restaurants as a special treat that never disappointed.
Why I like Thai
The reasons I enjoy eating in Thai restaurants are threefold: the food, the service, and the ambience. If you have not had the pleasure of dining in a Thai restaurant let me offer you an invitation to do so because in my opinion all Asian restaurants are not the same.
Thai food is a blend of flavors that entice and seduce the palate. There is a definite spicy element, but not hot like in some Indian or Mexican dishes where all you experience is the heat. Instead, the heat is offset by a sweetness that confuses the tongue, moving it from a position of alarm to one of delight.
What struck me during my initial, and hence thereafter, Thai dining experience was the congeniality of the wait staff. Going above and beyond in service, it was not with a hovering subservience; rather it was more a feeling of attentiveness-nothing was a bother, no request was a problem or difficulty. One young waiter, in a restaurant down the hill from where I lived, would merely nod slightly to anything I would ask and say, “of course.” As simple as that-which brings me to the overall ambience.
If you have the right ingredients, not merely added to the food you prepare, but with the cordial service, soft music, and simple, but appropriate cultural décor, it sets the ambience. The ambience I felt was one of peaceful serenity-a wonderful way to enjoy and digest the food one has eaten.
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My Thai Food Adventure
I couldn’t tell you the name of the first Thai restaurant I visited, but when it came to eating out, Thai food became my favorite choice. Years after moving out of California I still rave about the wonderful food. So much so that my daughter, Christa gave me a wonderful Thai cookbook as a Christmas present one year.
A few weeks ago I had some left over flounder and cooked shrimp. Wanting to make soup I ventured off to try my hand at devising a soup recipe to use these main ingredients. While I had intended on making a vegetable soup that is not how it ended up. Instead, I was thoroughly delighted with the results, turning my vegetable soup into a delicious ‘Shrimp Thai Soup.’
Here is the recipe:
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Thai Spices and IngredientsClick thumbnail to view full-size
I use low sodium canned organic broth.
Fresh seasonings work best, of course.
Add more curry paste for more heat.
Vegetarians: use a second can of vegetable broth instead of chicken.
Thai Spices and Ingredients
- 2 C chicken broth
- 2 C vegetable broth
- 1 can or bottle clam juice with clams
- 1 C chopped veggies, mushrooms, carrots, peas
- 1/4 C onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
- 3/4 tsp red curry paste
- 1/4 C lime juice
- 2 T cilantro
- Place broth in 4 qt saucepan
- Chop onions and add to broth
- Chop all remaining vegetables in bite size pieces and add to broth
- Add clam juice and clams to broth
- Bring all ingredients to a boil and then decrease to simmer for 5 minutes
- Add Shrimp and flounder
- Add lime juice and cilantro and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve with French or Italian bread, a salad or a bowl of Jasmine rice. Makes enough for 4 people.