This past New Year’s Eve at the Firefly Grill the #1 fan favorite on the tasting menu was the Red Curry Soup. It’s so good! This soup has a deep heat that warms you up (without setting your brain on fire), soothing hints of coconut and meaty bits of shiitake mushrooms. Oh man, it is crazy good! The gang over at the Firefly graciously shared their recipe so I could pass it on to you. Makes me wonder what the fan favorite is going to be on their Valentine’s Day tasting menu. Hmmmm….
I cut the Firefly’s recipe down a bit since I normally don’t make soup in batches of 22 gallons. The recipe below makes about 16 cups, a good soup pot quantity for chilly day. Soups like this one are best made on a Saturday morning.
That way you’ve got something warm and tasty to dip into all weekend long. Plus, it just gets better and better over the weekend.
How to Make Firefly Grill’s Red Curry Soup
- In a large soup pot, cook 4 cups diced onion and 8 oz. chopped lemongrass* with 4 tablespoons butter until soft and translucent.
- Add another 4 tablespoons butter and 2 pounds sliced shiitake mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms release their liquid about 10 minutes.
- Stir in 4 tablespoons red curry paste, 2 tablespoons curry powder and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Pour 3 tablespoons fish sauce and 3 tablespoons Mirin over vegetables, deglaze bottom of pan if necessary.
- Open 8 (12 oz) cans of full fat unsweetened coconut milk, add to soup pot, stir well and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons salt and stir well.
- Taste soup and add more curry powder, salt, or pepper flakes to suit your taste.
A Note about Fish Sauce…
If you’ve never used fish sauce, don’t worry it’s pretty easy to find. I included it in the Hard to Find Items, just to show it to you. There’s a million brands and I can’t recommend one over another. What you need to know about fish sauce is this: a little goes a long way and on it’s own it smells horrible, I mean it. Don’t smell it, but it really adds amazing flavor!
Links to Hard to Find Items
Depending on where you live, these key ingredients may or may not be challenging to find. Mirin, for instance, is an Asian slightly sweet tangy rice wine that can be found near where you would find soy sauce, an international section or near the vinegar. If you live in my neck of the woods, rural central Illinois, head to a larger city (Indy, Champaign, or St. Louis) to find it on a shelf, or … Amazon is only a click away!
*Cooking with Lemongrass
When cooking with fresh lemon grass, use the white part near the root. Discard the green leaf part. Pound the whites with a mallet or frying pan and chop into small pieces. After you cook it with the onions, taste them. If they’re not soft and they’re like eating wood chips, DON’T PANIC! After adding the coconut milk, simmer the soup for at least an hour, strain the soup, then add the mushrooms. If you use dried lemongrass from the get go, tie it into a cheese cloth “purse” with kitchen twine. You’ll get all the flavor this way without having to strain the soup.
If you enjoy Asian flavors (Thai in particular), I would highly recommend finding a spot in your yard, garden or patio and plant it. It’s super easy to grow and it’s best to cook with fresh tender lemongrass. You can find little starters at most garden centers where fresh herbs are sold.
Red Curry Soup Variations
If you’ve been hanging out with me here at Lakeside Table for any length of time, you know my absolute favorite recipes of all time are ones that can be eaten several different ways like Pork Chili Verde. Red Curry Soup is just like that one! Here are some ways that you can cook this dish once and have several different meals ready to go.
- Red Curry Soup – pour it in a bowl and kick your heels up!
- Red Curry Chicken and Rice – add 1/2 cup cooked chicken to 1 cup soup and pour over a generous helping of rice.
- Add ins – not only is chicken a tasty addition, but so are scallops, shrimp, any firm white fish like cod or halibut, pork and beef.
- Veggie add ins – soften diced carrots with the onions or simmer peas and broccoli for the last 1/2 hour before serving.
- Vegetarian – serve soup over soba or rice noodles.
- Toppings – cilantro, lime, red bell peppers, bean sprouts and/or scallions.
- Turn up the flame! – add even more heat by adding chili peppers of your choice
Does Red Curry Soup Freeze Well?
You betcha! In the refrigerator, it will keep for 5-6 days. Or you can freeze it in Tupperware, a Ziplock or vacuum seal it and it will keep for up to 3-4 months. Make sure it is room temperature or cool before freezing. Putting hot items in the freezer can lower your freezer’s temperature into a danger zone that will spoil all of its contents.
$10 Lunch Special
One of the best things about cooking for yourself is putting just the right amount of spicy heat you most enjoy. On a side note, the Firefly has got a Chicken Curry $10 lunch special right now that is Too Die For!!! That dish is beautifully seasoned with enough heat to warm your mouth and belly without ripping your face off. The chicken has got a great char on it and it comes over a bed of wild rice. Pure soul food! Nom… nom…nom But I digress…
What to Serve with Red Curry Soup
Normally I might offer up some ideas for side dishes, but this is really a meal all on it’s own. But if you decide to serve it with sides try it with Turmeric Honey Glazed Carrots and maybe some buttered peas. Since Red Curry can be spicy, the sweetness of the carrots and peas will balance out the meal nicely. Same goes for what to drink with it too: a sweeten tea, lemonade, or a crisp white wine like a Trefethen dry riesling.
Red Curry Soup
Red Curry Soup - this is a warm and tasty soup to dip into all weekend long. It's easy and fast to make with exotic spicy Thai flavors. YUM! | www.lakesidetable.com
- 1 stick unsalted butter halved
- 4 cups onions diced
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh lemongrass* white part only
- 2 pounds shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 4 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 8 12 oz. cans coconut milk full fat, unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon salt
Sweat onions and lemongrass in 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter in a large soup pot over medium low heat.
Add other 1/2 stick of butter and sliced shiitake mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms release their liquid, about 10 minutes.
Stir in red curry paste, curry powder, salt and chili flakes and cook for 3 minutes.
Pour in fish sauce and mirin. Use a wooden spoon to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Stir in entire contents of the cans of coconut milk. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Taste and add additional curry powder, salt or pepper flakes if needed.
*Cooking with Lemongrass: Use the white part near the root. Discard the green leaf part. Pound the whites with a mallet or frying pan and chop into small pieces. After you cook it with the onions, taste them. If they're not soft and they're like eating wood chips, DON'T PANIC! After adding the coconut milk, simmer the soup for at least an hour, strain the soup, then add the mushrooms. If you use dried lemongrass from the get go, tie it into a cheese cloth "purse" with kitchen twine. You'll get all the flavor this way without having to strain the soup.
- Red Curry Chicken and Rice - add 1/2 cup cooked chicken to 1 cup soup and pour over a generous helping of rice.
- Add ins - not only is chicken a tasty addition, but so are scallops, shrimp, any firm white fish like cod or halibut, pork and beef.
- Veggie add ins - soften diced carrots with the onions or simmer peas and broccoli for the last 1/2 hour before serving.
- Vegetarian - serve soup over soba or rice noodles.
- Toppings - cilantro, lime, red bell peppers, bean sprouts and/or scallions.