If you remember from last month, we’ve been trying out Barramundi, a farm-raised, sustainable white fish from Vietnam. We are still in love with it! When I was at Trader Joe’s the other day, I stocked up on a bunch more. I love that my kids enjoy eating fish with us. Barramundi is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, making it a very healthy choice. This take on Thai coconut soup has definitely been one of their favorites – we enjoyed every last drop!
My inspiration for this recipe came from my desire to make a dairy-free fish chowder using coconut milk, and then morphed into something bigger and badder. Badder in a good way, of course. One of my very favorite soups in the entire world is Thai coconut soup. I could eat it all day long every single day and never get tired of it. I love the flavors together. I love the rich broth. I can’t think of anything that I don’t like about it.
The soup is full of Thai flavors – coconut, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime, Thai basil, cilantro, mint, Thai bird chiles, and nam pal (fish sauce). I added kid-friendly thinly sliced carrots and potatoes, but made sure each bowl had a good spoonful of a healthy, flavorful lemongrass herb paste. In my opinion, that herb paste made the soup. It was pretty great without it, but with it? Heaven. Do not make the soup without the herb paste! :)
It might seem like a complicated recipe with too many ingredients, but I promise you, it’s worth it. It’s really nothing more than tossing some sliced veggies into a pot with coconut milk and water, and aromatics. Then the fish goes in and you top it with an herb paste that is akin to pesto.
- For soup:
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2" piece fresh ginger, sliced
- 1 sprig Thai basil
- 1 can coconut cream (plus 2 cans full of water)
- 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 3-4" pieces
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon nam pal (Thai fish sauce)
- palm or coconut sugar, to taste (I used about 1 Tablespoon)
- 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (or zest of 1 large lime)
- salt, to taste
- 2 medium red potatoes, cut into half lengthwise and cut into ⅛" slices
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 2-4 Thai chilies, sliced (to taste)
- 8 ounces barramundi fillets, skin removed if desired, cut into ½" cubes
- For herb paste:
- 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems
- 1 small bunch mint
- 1 small bunch Thai basil
- 1" piece fresh ginger, cut into slices
- 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, cut into small pieces
- 1 large garlic clove
- juice and zest of 1 lime
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Instructions: In a large pot over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot starts to soften and the garlic is fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the lemongrass, ginger, kaffir limes leaves, Thai basil, lime juice, coconut cream, 2 cans of water, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and add the carrots and potatoes. Lower heat and let cook just until the carrots and potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Taste and add some salt, if needed.
- Add the diced barramundi and let the soup simmer on low heat just until the fish is cooked, about 10 minutes. If desired, you can remove the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and basil sprig before serving.
- Ladle into bowls and add top with a spoonful of the herb paste. Stir and eat.
- For herb paste: Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Transfer to a small bowl or jar until ready to use. Will keep for about one week in the fridge.
Look for lemongrass that isn't overly dried out. The outer layers will be dry, but the inside should not be. It should smell very pleasant - citrusy with floral notes. It will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks.
To use in herb paste - bash the end of the stalk with the back of a chef's knife. (Be careful not to cut yourself!) This releases the natural oils and the lemongrass will be more flavorful. Remove the tough outer stalks until you get to the tender center. Chop the center into small pieces and use for the herb paste.
To use lemongrass for soup - peel away the very outermost layers, bash the end with the backside of a chef's knife as directed above, and cut stalk into 3- to 4-inch pieces. Use as directed in recipe.
All of the spices and herbs should be available at any Asian market. The barramundi is available at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Stop n' Shop, Safeway, some warehouse stores, and other large grocery stores around the U.S.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored via Noshon.It‘s Publish Partner Program made possible by a leading barramundi producer. All opinions expressed, as always, are 100% my own.
Look for Barramundi in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s locations across the U.S., as well as Whole Foods, Stop n’ Shop, Safeway, and some warehouse stores.