|Sweet Potato, Kale, Fish and Coconut Curry Soup|
With the rain dripping down the side of the window at a steady and soothing rate, a little relaxing classical piano music streaming through the computer speakers, and an evening of relaxation ahead, soup seemed to be the perfect dinner. I’ve been in the mood for something spicy all day, so “making something with curry” was the starting point for tonight’s dinner.
With a sweet potato that had been languishing on the countertop for a couple of weeks, a huge pile of fresh cilantro I’d just picked up from the local Turkish grocery store, and coconut milk I’d made this morning on a “just in case” whim waiting in the fridge alongside a hunk of Greenland halibut that we’d put there to thaw last night, the creative wheels started turning.
|The crunchy pieces of fish from the frying pan add a nice texture to the soup, too.|
First of all, although that had been the plan, I really didn’t want a dinner centered around that hunk of fish. Don’t get me wrong: I love fish, especially halibut. But a hunk of fish requires side dishes and sauces and things that I wasn’t in the mood to make. Plus, this hunk of fish was fairly small, so as a resource it needed to be stretched a bit. I decided to treat the fish as a garnish to the main course, and with that we were off and running.
This soup isn’t overly spicy, but you can easily adjust the spice level by adjusting the amount of red curry paste you use. I also felt that the curry paste together with the fish sauce provided enough salt; feel free to adjust the level of salt to your liking.
Not only does this soup taste delicious with a all favor flavors including umami at play, it’s good for you. The sweet potato packs a strong punch of vitamin A, the kale is one of the super greens with more phytonutrients than nearly any other plant out there, and the cilantro packed into this soup has been shown to have anti-diabetic effects, is used as an anti-inflammatory in India, has been studied in the US for its ability to lower cholesterol. And if you’ve been having trouble getting your omega 3, the fish will add a healthy dose of that, too.
|Full of satisfying flavor, it tastes as good as it looks.|
Sweet Potato, Kale, Fish and Coconut Curry Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 liter chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
2-4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste, depending on how spicy you like it
1 1/2 teaspoons Fish sauce
1 small bunch cilantro, roots trimmed; stems and leaves chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 cups Kale, washed, stems removed and chopped small
300 g halibut (or other white fish)
lemon juice, salt and pepper, for seasoning halibut
oil, for pan
Season the halibut with a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Set aside while you prepare the soup.
Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the chicken broth, water, coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and cilantro stems. Allow the broth to simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook for one minute. Add the cilantro leaves, reserving a few leaves for garnish. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.
Heat a heavy bottom frying pan or cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Squeeze lemon juice over the halibut, brush the top side with oil, and place the fish, oil side down, in the pan. Brush the side of the fish that is now facing up with oil. Cover the pan and allow the fish to cook and steam until it is cooked about halfway through: 2-3 minutes. Now, using a flat spatula, gently lift the fish up from the pan and flip it over.
Cover the pan again and allow the fish to cook for 2-3 minutes until cooked through and slightly crisp. Transfer the fish from the pan to a cutting board and cut it into all cubes. If you can, use the spatula to scrape some of the crispy bits from the bottom of the pan as well. Be careful to remove any bones during this process.
Ladle the soup into four bowls. Divide the fish and the crispy pieces and arrange it over the top of the four bowls. Garnish each bowl with cilantro leaves and serve.