Lemongrass Coconut Soup

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If you’ve never used lemongrass in your food or drink at home I suggest you start.  Don’t let its long, yellow-green stalk and woody feel intimidate you.  Once broken with your hands or cut into with a sharp knife, the calming citrus scent is so inviting I’m sure it will become one of your go to herbs from that point.  My dad introduced me to lemongrass, for a long time he had a couple bushes growing in his backyard garden.  He grows everything back there.  From the kitchen window of his house you have a view of eight to ten halved oil drums filled with dark brown to black dirt nourishing a variety of plants.  The plants, all different heights and shades of green bearing glossy new fruits and vegetables.  From pommecythere (pomm-see-tey), aloe, bird and scotch bonnet peppers to spanish-thyme and lemongrass.  Most Trinbagonians are accustom to calling this herb fever grass, used in teas to lower high fevers.  My dad was the first person I knew to use lemongrass to season meat.  He’d hit the fragrant stalk with the back of his large chef’s knife to bruise and release the natural oils before cutting the entire stalk into 1/2 inch pieces to massage into meats like lamb and pork.

Like many, I buy lemongrass to add to green and white teas.  Served hot or cold with the added slice of ginger, dried orange peel or sprig of fresh thyme.  But today, I made a quick no fuss, vegan friendly soup for myself.  When thinking of lemongrass coconut soup, Thai lemongrass and coconut soup comes to mind naturally.  But I rarely have fish sauce, galangal and Thai chilies in my fridge.  A staple in a Trini household: scotch bonnet peppers, green onions, pimento peppers and fresh thyme were used to make the soup.  I ate the soup with cauliflower roasted for 30 minutes on 375 degress seasoned with salt, black pepper, garlic confit and a dusting of geera.  As yall know, I can always EAT but this light meal tasted delicious and was filling.

Notes:

– This soup can be a base and you can add noodles, other vegetables, shrimp or chicken.
– I used coconut yogurt (I’m on a restricted diet these days) but you can use plain Greek or regular yogurt to thicken the soup.
– I had no real reason for using the coconut oil but it enhanced the coconut flavor of the dish.
– You can use half the scotch bonnet pepper to cut down on the heat.
– Right after the soup cooled, I placed half in the freezer to be eaten at a later date.

Prep and cook time: 1 hr

2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can of organic coconut milk
2 cups of organic vegetable broth
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 green onions, small chop
½ large onion, small chop
1 pimento pepper, small chop
1 tsp of ginger, small chop
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
1 scotch bonnet pepper, whole
Coconut yogurt
1 Tbsp. of coconut oil

On high heat in a medium saucepan add the coconut oil.  To the hot oil, add the lemongrass, onions, green onions, ginger, garlic, bay leaves, both peppers and thyme.  Sweat for two minutes before adding the stock and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil, cover the pot and turn the heat low and allow to simmer for 40 minutes.  Strain and set the soup back on the fire.  Add 1 heaping Tbsp. of yogurt and taste for additional seasoning.

Serve hot

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