Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thai Fresh Pea Soup with Green Curry

I'm convinced there are as many French-trained chefs in Southeast Asia as there are in all of France. The food of the region is a wonderful fusion of French and Asian cuisines. Pho, a Vietnamese specialty, is served for breakfast, but unmistakably French baguettes and croissants are also available for those whose stomachs can't start the day with such gusto. Lunch and dinner can be Asian, French or a fusion of the two. Today's soup is a case in point. We were fortunate to have two versions of fresh pea soup while we were in Southeast Asia. The Thai version has heat from the addition of green curry paste. It is served hot. The French version is flavored with mint and served cold. Both are delicious. The curry paste used in the Thai version can be a tricky thing. Commercially available curry pastes are hot. The chilies can overpower other flavors in the mixture, so unless you are sure about your heat tolerance proceed with caution, adding only a teaspoon at a time. I'm also including a recipe that will allow you to make your own green curry paste. It's simple to prepare and once you've made your own the commercial paste will become an emergency only condiment. Let's do the soup first.

Thai Fresh Pea Soup

3/4 cup water
1 cup chopped onions
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 to 3 teaspoons green curry paste
3 (14.5-oz.) cans vegetable broth
8 cups shelled peas, thawed if frozen
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon toasted mustard seed or several grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup chopped mint


1) Combine water, onions, garlic and curry paste in a soup pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add broth; return to a boil. Add peas; simmer, covered over low heat for 10 minutes.
2) Remove pot from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Transfer in small batches to a blender jar and puree. Transfer pureed soup to a clean pot. Stir in lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return soup to a simmer over low heat. Garnish with mustard seeds and chopped mint. Yield: 8 servings.

Cook's Note: Soup may be refrigerated for 2 days and frozen for 1 month.

Green Curry Paste

1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped hot green chili peppers (serrano, jalapeno or Thai)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped shallots or scallions
9 large cloves coarsely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons minced lemon grass
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger or galanga
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

1) Place coriander and cumin in a small frying pan. Cook over medium heat until slightly darkened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Stir in salt and pepper. Set aside.
2) Combine chilies, cilantro, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, lime zest, 2 tablespoons water and toasted spice mixture. Blend until fairly smooth. Add small amounts of water if needed to keep blades moving. Transfer to a lidded jar. Refrigerate for up to i month. Yield: 3/4 cup.


Selba said...

This is a wonderful soup!

Thanks for sharing the green curry paste recipe. I love it.

Jaime and Jen DISH said...

What a beautiful soup, the color is so vibriant. I would LOVE to taste this bad boy! Bravo!


Ning said...

I can't get my kids to eat peas (though they love other kinds of vegetables) so this may be the only way I can get them to eat, or rather drink, this veggie. Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

Jamie said...

Sounds wonderful. Wouldn't eat it for breakfast, but definitely for supper...with a baguette :-)

Katy ~ said...

What a unique pea soup! I would certainly love to try a bowl of this!

Heather S-G said...

This sounds great, Mary!

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

I love the flavor of curry. I'm guessing the curry paste has a more instense flavor. This soup is a real show stopper and the flavors are just over the top.

Netts Nook said...

Sounds like a great dish.

Pam said...

That color is so beautiful! The soup looks and sounds fantastic.

noble pig said...

The mint, the curry paste...this just sounds like heaven in a bowl Mary!

Culinary Wannabe said...

I always think it's interesting to see what other cultures eat for breakfast. My husband's family is of Japanese ancestry and they have things like miso soup - which seems so strange to me! I love the color of the pea soup!

Lori said...

This sounds really good. Different and good. I have some green curry paste to use so this would be perfect!

Ginger said...

Mary your soup will find its way to my picnic thermos. I would love the 3 teaspoons curry paste but for my husband's sake I will go with 1 teaspoon. Your soup sounds very yummy, fresh, vibrant and delicious!! What more can I say?? Thank you for sharing!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love pea soup but have never thought of putting curry in it--yum! It looks gorgeous!

Donna-FFW said...

Delicious, never thought to pair pea soup with curry before.. delicious idea.

test it comm said...

Peas soup with Thai green curry sounds really good!

Catherine said...

Sounds great Mary, and I would love to try it especially the green curry paste. I lived in Laos so I am very fond of Thai and Lao food, and our cook Latina was from Isan in NE Thailand which is culturally one with Laos, which it was part of until the French came along inthe 19th centure to Indochina. So this resonated with me! Thanks for sharing it.

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