I love being able to stay in for delicious Thai food. It is always so healthy and full of flavor and is actually pretty easy to make. And let’s face it, staying in is preferable to bringing two little kids to a restaurant where they serve rice that can end up all over the floor. Some of the ingredients might seem intimidating if you haven’t worked with them before. Trust me when I say it is easy. Thai red curry paste, fish sauce, and coconut milk can all be found in the Asian section at your grocery store. Your grocery store may or may not carry lemon grass. Ask about it! If they don’t, then you’ll be fine to add lemon zest instead.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 lemon grass stalk, cut into two inch strips, halved, and tied together in a bundle.
3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 can (2 cups) coconut milk
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
8 oz shitake mushrooms, quartered into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups jasmine rice
4 cups water
1. Cook rice by placing 2 cups jasmine rice in a medium saucepan and pouring 4 cup water over it. Cover with a lid. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes, until all the water is gone. Leave the lid on the pot and set it aside until ready to serve.
2. While the rice is cooking start on your soup. First cook the mushrooms by pan roasting them in olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Set the cooked mushrooms aside.
3. In a large saucepan or soup pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onion and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes. Add in the red curry paste and cook another minute or two.
4. Add in the vegetable stock, fish sauce, and lemon grass stalks and bring to a boil. The lemon grass should be tied together with kitchen string (or I’ll admit I use unflavored dental floss) so it can easily be removed once the flavor has been extracted. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes until carrots are tender.
5. Stir in the coconut milk and reheat to a boil. Remove from heat and add in the cilantro, lime juice, and cooked shitake mushrooms.
6. Serve by placing a scoop of rice into a bowl and ladling the soup around it.
When I was in college I was surprised by how many of my roommates had rice cookers. I started to worry that maybe cooking rice was harder than I thought and that I was doing something wrong. My mom assured me that you don’t need a rice cooker to cook rice. All you have to do is take 1 part rice to 2 parts water, cover, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes until all the water is soaked up.
Change up your rice by cooking it in other liquids instead of water. Try chicken broth or coconut milk.