Soups are some of my favorite meals to make at home. I’ll whip some soup up on a weeknight by cooking some noodles, topping them with whatever leftover meat and veggies are in the fridge, and soaking the whole dish with chicken broth boosted with Asian flavors—most often soy sauce, grated ginger, and sriracha. Call it a glorified instant ramen of sorts.
Recently though, inspired by a Quebec City restaurant that specializes in meal soups infused with flavors from all around the world, I’ve been creating different types of soups—more “thought out” recipes, if you will. I make these soups when I have a little more time on my hands, such as on a weekend night. To bolster these soups, I’m striving to develop deeper flavors in the broth and to use ingredients with textures that complement one another.
I created this soup thinking of green curry dishes, but the biggest surprise is in the broth: I like to use unsweetened almond beverage instead of the traditional coconut milk. I like coconut milk, but let’s face it—it’s rich, and in this specific soup, I didn’t want its very present, bold flavor in the broth. Almond beverage gives the broth a delightfully silky feel without the added calories. I’m making a soup here, but you could, in fact, substitute unsweetened almond beverage in any curry to lighten the recipe in a flash.
The recipe may seem like it uses a lot of ingredients, but if you regularly cook Asian-inspired food, you probably have most of the staples in your pantry. Plus, the steps overlap, so the recipe isn’t very time consuming. The broth simmers while the vegetables roast and you sauté the shrimp. It all comes together in an extremely satisfying hot bowl of healthy stuff you’ll eat with a spoon—and probably chopsticks.
Serves 2 as a meal, or 4 as a first course
Preheat the oven to 425°F [210°C]. Set a rack to the middle position.
Make the curried almonds: Line a baking sheet with aluminum or parchment paper. In a small mixing bowl, add the sliced almonds and olive oil and mix so the almonds are completely coated (using the hands works best to do this task). In a tiny bowl, mix the cumin, turmeric, sea salt, and black pepper together. Sprinkle over the almonds and mix to distribute the spices. Spread over the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the almonds because they can burn easily. After 5 minutes, mix the almonds so they toast evenly, and return to the oven for 2 to 5 minutes, or until they’re golden and crisp. Let cool completely (keep the oven on).
You can make the curried almonds up to 3 days in advance: once cool, store the almonds in an airtight container at room temperature (be warned that it will be very tempting to eat them as a snack, though!)
Make the broth: In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and soften without browning, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and grated ginger, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the almond beverage, bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to a minimum, half-cover and keep at a low simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and sea salt, stir, and keep warm over the lowest heat setting.
Make the roasted veggies: While the broth is simmering, line a baking sheet with aluminum paper and grease with cooking spray. Place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle 1 tsp [5 ml] of the olive oil over, then mix to coat the sweet potato slices evenly (using the hands works best). Transfer to the baking sheet, setting the slices side by side without overlapping. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, add the cauliflower, bell pepper, and zucchini to the mixing bowl, and drizzle with the remaining 2 tsp [10 ml] olive oil. After the sweet potato slices have roasted for 10 minutes, take the baking sheet out, and turn the oven up to broil. Distribute the cauliflower, bell pepper, and zucchini on the baking sheet, in a single layer, then sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly charred and crisp tender.
Make the sautéed shrimp: While the vegetables are roasting, sprinkle the shelled shrimp with the turmeric, a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Set a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the shrimp and cook on one side, without disturbing them, for 2 minutes. Turn all the shrimp over, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until they are barely cooked through (they will cook some more in the hot broth). Set aside.
Assemble the soup: Set a bed of cooked rice noodles in the bottom of two large (or four regular) soup bowls. Divide the roasted vegetables over each portion, and then the shrimp. Pour some hot curried broth into each bowl, then top each portion with a generous sprinkling of curried almonds, as well as fresh coriander and basil leaves. Serve immediately with an additional slice of lime.
Green curry paste is fairly mild tasting, and it is key to building flavor in this soup, so I like to use a generous amount--I even sometimes add an additional teaspoon. If you’re unsure of the strength of the green curry paste you’re using, you can start by adding half the amount, and dissolve more into the soup later on if you want to deepen the taste.
Recipe Credit: Marie Asselin
This post was created in partnership with Almond Breeze. In this recipe, I used their Almond Breeze Refrigerated Original Unsweetened beverage. Whenever I use almond beverage in a recipe, sweet or savory, I use the unsweetened variety, which allows to me keep control over the seasoning or sweet level of the dishes I make. I also prefer using the refrigerated variety of almond beverages (as opposed to the shelf-stable variety) because I find it to have a fresher, creamier taste. You can find Almond Breeze’s excellent almond beverages in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. To discover more recipes that use almond beverages as an ingredient, follow Almond Breeze on Twitter and Instagram.
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