I’m writing this in my Zumba outfit. I came home a little frayed at the edges owing to a new instructor that likes to interject a shrill “Whoooo, YEAH!!!” into her routine every few minutes that make you jump in alarm, and enjoys flustering you by dancing up to you at stranger-danger closeness and staring you in the eye as she gyrates. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, but I’m pretty sure I made a couple muffled noises that were something in between.
I am so happy to be snuggled up now with a big bowl of this soup.
I love this soup. It’s just enough spice, just enough heat, and retains a delicacy in flavor that plays well with others. Without the noodles it makes a great start to a meal, and with them, it makes a great light dinner. The cilantro lime oil is a fun way to add a layer of flavor, color and texture, as well as use up your cilantro stems (I hate wasting those). And it adds a little sophistication if you’re serving this at a dinner party that makes people go “Ooo, lala, flavored oils!”. Yep.
But best of all, it never yells “Whooooo, YEAH!” at you when you’re trying grapevine in peace…
Lemongrass Coconut Noodle Soup
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Gluten-free, all natural, vegetarian, easy, minimal mess
Special equipment: food processor
For the soup
8 ounces rice noodles (any kind, I used red rice noodles)
1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as grapeseed or peanut)
4 cups vegetable broth
4 oz / 113g mushrooms (I used maitake, any mild fresh variety works), sliced (about 2 cups)
13.6 oz light coconut milk (1 can)
2 large leeks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk fresh lemongrass
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 – 2 dried (or fresh) red thai chilies (optional)
Salt to taste
For the cilantro lime oil
½ cup neutral oil (such as grapeseed or peanut)
1 bunch cilantro stems, chopped finely
Zest of one lime
Pinch of salt
For the soup: Cook your noodles according to package instructions, drain, toss with a little neutral oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat pan on medium-low and add oil. After a moment, add in the leeks and saute for a couple of minutes.
Add in garlic, coriander, cumin and mushrooms and saute another couple of minutes.
Bruise lemongrass stalk several times with the blunt edge of a chef’s knife to release flavor. Chop into rough sections and add to pan along with vegetable broth, chilies (if using) and a pinch of salt.
Increase temperature to high and allow to boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the cilantro oil, combine all ingredients in a small food processor or prep machine and blend for 20 – 30 seconds or until well incorporated.
To assemble: add cooked rice noodles to your soup pan to heat momentarily. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle over a spoonful of cilantro lime oil.