Just a few days before Christmas and I am feeling like someone who has been living pretty high on the hog, I’m telling you. It’s been cold and rainy so we’ve been having large breakfasts – French toast, hash browns, ham scrambles, pancakes, etc. Not all at once, mind you, but still, a lot of breakfast every day. While there are lots of fresh vegetables and fruit in the house, there’s also a lot of cheese and sour cream and cookies and pie. We’ve gone out to eat a few times, which is luxurious and delicious but also accumulative.
There’s been a bag of Trader Joe’s Pork Potstickers in the freezer just waiting for an opportunity to be used. I thought a nice filling soup would be good on a rainy, chilly night, and not quite as indulgent as what we’ve been eating.
To make this vegan or gluten free, substitute frozen dumplings that are labeled as such, or skip the dumplings and substitute silken tofu (added with the spinach at the end of cooking just long enough to heat through). Also check the labels on Thai red curry paste, or make your own (there are many such recipes on the internet). I used Thai Kitchen brand.
This can be prepped ahead for fast assembly. Cut up the vegetables to be sauteed and keep them in the refrigerator, wrapped up. Also prepare the spinach and herbs, and keep them the same way. The veggies will stay good in the fridge a couple of days. When you’re ready to make the soup, the majority of the work is already done.
THAI DUMPLING SOUP
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large white or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped (red or green, or some of each) or a pepper with some heat like an Anaheim or Pasilla, minced
- 1 sweet potato or yam, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 – 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
- 1 package (about 12 ounces to 1 pound) frozen Asian-style dumplings or potstickers
- 1 small bunch spinach, washed and torn into small pieces (substitute other tender greens like beet greens, bok choy, Swiss chard, etc.)
- low-sodium soy sauce, tamari, or fish sauce (optional)
- chili-garlic sauce, sambal oelek, or Sriracha (optional)
- 3 or 4 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/2 cup washed cilantro leaves (optional)
- a few fresh basil leaves (optional)
- the juice of one fresh lime
Combine oil, garlic, onion, peppers, and sweet potato in four-quart kettle over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften a bit, 5 minutes or so. Stir in red curry paste and cook another few minutes. Then add the broth, water, and coconut milk and heat, stirring occasionally.
When the sweet potatoes are almost tender, add the frozen dumplings. Stir to separate them if necessary, then let them cook another ten minutes. Don’t let it boil – the dumplings will fall apart. Taste the broth and season with chile-garlic paste, soy, tamari, or fish sauce if needed.
When the dumplings are done, add the spinach, green onions, and herbs; simmer until spinach is just cooked (maybe another 1 – 2 minutes). Squeeze in the juice from half a fresh lime and taste; add the juice from the other half if the soup needs it for a nice balance.
Serve in large bowls with additional garnishes of sliced lime, green onions, cilantro, basil, soy or fish sauce, and chile-garlic paste.