Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Light Coconut Curry Cod Soup with Jalapeño Garlic Rice

I'd call this Triple-C Soup, but that sounds overwhelmingly Fierian. Why did you have to take triple letters from us, Guy?!? Maybe I could get away with "C-Cubed"? Curried Captain Hook? C&C Cod Factory? CC Cool S? Okay, we'll stick with the more informative post title.

As you can tell from the above photo, by the time this soup was complete we were much too deep in conversation to properly stage it. But at least this gives you a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Where My Dishtowel Was. Congrats on your all-access pass to my pathological inability to clean as I go. [Note to self: Write a one-woman stage play entitled Where My Dishtowel Was. Subtitle to follow.]

Another behind-the-scenes look: As evidenced by legs/torsos - we were all taking the same picture at the same time. This soup is heavily documented, if poorly so. I mean, how else do you kill time while the scents of curry and ginger waft gently toward your nose and I'm playing interference with my iPhone like "not yet!"?

There's something I love so much about looking at a jumble of ingredients and considering what it could turn into. Every soup lately has started like my own personal Mystery Box Challenge, and I'm dangerously into it. In this case, I wasn't the most stoked I've ever been when sussing out what I had to work with, but that makes it even more rewarding when I'm happy with the results.

In this case, I'd originally thought I wanted to use potatoes rather than rice, making a sort of chowder (I would have used a larger can of coconut milk and less broth). I also wanted prawns in it, as I'm afraid I formed a slight shrimp dependence during my recent foray in Africa (sorry or whatever, Cholesterol). Here's the thing: I stayed at work later than I'd thought I would, so those ideas turned into nopes. But with rice taken from bland to bright enough to be in the Miss Universe National Costumes parade combined with cod so supple you'd swear it was fed only whatever Gwyneth Paltrow is currently putting on her preternaturally young skin, I was happy to have worked with what I had. Welcome to 2017: a kinder, gentler Soupruary.

Did you see those golden, crispy-fried jalapeño slices on top of the soup? I was informed they were dope, and I'm inclined to corroborate said dopeness. This pepper had clearly been putting in some gym time to increase its Scoville rating (the little 'peño that could), but adding some cumin and cayenne to its dusting of rice flour before popping it into hot coconut oil was not the worst idea I had today.

If you're curious what the worst idea I had today was, it was typing the word "could" in the above paragraph as "cood." Is 6:31pm bedtime? Asking for a me.

This is definitely a soup that works as a full meal, with lots of chunky vegetables and a hearty dose of flavor-packed brown rice. With the cod, heated by the soup until just cooked through and tender like a kiss on your gramma's forehead, you'll have everything you need in one bowl - as demonstrated by the snacktermath still on the table.

Just a few snacks leftover.

Okay, side note: IT'S A VERY EXCITING DAY TODAY! All hail Greta Gerwig, mumblecore is finally a word! It and more than 1,000 other words were birthed into the world of official American English via the social media masterminds lexicographers over at Merriam-Webster (but seriously, follow them on Twitter). They put out a very helpful official release, but my coworker Molly sent over this also informative Buzzfeed article with 100% more gifs. 

And a final note on the soup because this is definitely a blog about soup for sure: This is gluten-free, if that’s a thing that your body vibes on, and if you wanted it to be vegan all you’d have to do would be not use the cod and it would still be mighty satisfying. Tofu would taste quite proper here, if you want some pro- to the -tein. (What? I’m going to bed.)

Light Coconut Curry Cod Soup with Jalapeño Garlic Rice

Serves 4

For rice:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ of a jalapeño, diced
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon (or more!) chopped cilantro
Zest of one lemon (or lime!)

For soup:
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1” knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 small can of coconut milk (mine was a little under 6 oz. – you could use more if you want the soup to be thicker though)
3 cups vegetable broth
2 medium zucchini, halved and cut into ¼” thick slices
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
12 oz. cod, cut into bite-size pieces

For garnish:
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ jalapeño, sliced thin
¼ of a small red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
½ cup rice flower
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne (or less/none if you don’t want to add heat or have a particularly spicy pepper)
Cilantro leaves

Make the rice:

Heat oil over medium in a small pot and add garlic and jalapeño and cook for about 60 seconds, stirring to make sure garlic doesn’t burn. Add rice and cook for another minute or so, stirring to toast up a bit. Add broth and water along with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down to simmer, then let it cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes (or more depending on your particular rice – probably easiest to check cooking instructions on package).

Make the soup:

Heat oil in a pot over medium, add onions and ginger and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent but not browning. Stir in curry powder and cook about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, stirring to dissolve all the thick white cream. Add broth and zucchini and bring to a low boil. Cook until zucchini is soft, about 7 minutes. Add peas and cod and cook until peas are heated and cod is cooked through – which only takes 2 or 3 minutes.

Make the garnish and finish the rice:

On a small plate, mix up rice flour, cumin, cayenne (if using) and a good pinch of salt. Heat coconut oil over medium high in a small pan. Toss jalapeño slices with flour mixture and throw into the oil. Fry until golden and crispy on one side, then flip and do the same on the other. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and repeat process with red onion.

Just before serving, add cilantro and citrus zest to rice and stir with a fork. Place about half a cup of rice in each bowl and top or surround with soup. Top with cilantro leaves, fried jalapeño and red onion. Serve with a wedge of lemon or lime if you feel like it.

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