Paul and I are headed to Tofino on Sunday. It is our favourite place in the whole world, well not that we have seen the entire world or even close to it but Tofino just has this special place in our hearts that I think no matter where we venture it will always somehow trickle down to our favourite. It is on the West Coast of Canada at the west end of Vancouver Island, on the southern edge of Clayoquot Sound. Known for its amazing surfing, nature trails, camping, vast endless looking beaches, and home to some amazing restaurants. It is a hugely popular summer destination but there is just something about the winter that always calls us in to visit.
In the winter Tofino gets these incredible wind storms that we love to watch, the waves are big and beautiful and completely encapsulating. The beaches are mostly bare which means we get them pretty much to ourselves expect for the few brave surfers and wanders and the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet are not nearly as busy as when the summer time crowds and trailing through.
We found the most cozy of cabins on our first trip together a few years ago and now when we go, if it is available it is our choice spot. It is a bit of a splurge but completely worth it, if ever headed to Tofino look up Florencia Bay Hideaway and stay in the Copper Cabin it is divine.
It is on the Ucluelet side and it is a little piece of heaven. Tucked away in the beautiful and grand ever green trees, and just a 20 minute walk to the most gorgeous (almost seems private) beach bay, you get the best of both sides of what makes the west coast the west coast, deep forest trails and wide open ocean spaces.
The bed sucks you into the most comfortable vortex of love, the kitchen is dreamy for a foodie like myself with its old vintage stove and the copper tub, don't even get me started on that. Perfect for two people, I always make sure to bring extra bubbles and candles and Epsom salts and bottles of wine.
I am definitely on countdown mode, four more sleeps to go!
Anyways this really has nothing to do with this soup, I am just so excited to be going on this mini getaway with my love, I have been looking forward to it for months. I will make sure to write about it when we get back and share some pictures. But for now the soup, oh the soup is good, really good...
It is deliciously creamy and hits every taste sensation; sweet, spicy, salty, sour and savoury in short it is full of flavour. The perfect combination of spice mixed with the freshness of lime and lemon grass and exotic herbs that Asian cuisine is so famous for. It is actually what I love most about Asian cuisine, the use of fresh herbs, they truly make the biggest difference when cooking and add that flavour punch that hits your tongue and has you going back for another bowl.
In truth I don't even use dried herbs anymore, it is one thing always in my grocery cart each week, fresh herbs and in an abundant amount. I put them on and in everything. This one has your fair share of cilantro and mint, you could also add Thai basil if you really wanted to.
Just like any soup the longer you let the stock simmer the more the flavours will develop but even after 20 minutes this one is divinely delicious!
thai red curry coconut soup + brown rice
1 cup of brown rice
2 cups of water
pinch of salt
2-3 cans of full fat coconut milk (depending on how creamy you like it)
2 cups of veggie broth
3 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil
1 white onion
1 inch of fresh minced ginger
2 tbsp of red curry paste
1 bunch of cilantro + roots
1 long stalk of lemon grass (cut lengthwise and then cut in half)
3-4 lime leaves
1 tbsp of soy sauce
2-3 tbsp of fish sauce
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 large carrot (thinly sliced
1 head of broccoli
half a head of cauliflower
half a red pepper (thinly sliced)
3-4 heads of baby bok choy
½ cup snow peas
1 bunch of fresh mint
1-2 red chili peppers
granish - these really finish off the dish, especially the cashews, but are optional.
In a small pot add one cup of rice, two cups of water and pinch of salt, bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for 40 minutes.
Mince your onion and ginger; in a large pot on medium heat add the coconut oil then sauté the onion and ginger for 5 minutes. Once browned a little, make a well in the middle of the onion and add in the curry paste, cook for 2-3 minutes.
Next finely chop the cilantro roots (the leaves will go into the soup later) and add about ½ cups worth to the onion and curry paste mixture and sauté for another 3-5 minutes.
Next, add in the coconut milk, veggie broth, lime leaves, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime zest and juice and the lemon grass stalk (beat the stalk with the back of a wooden spoon and then cut length wise, this will help bring out the flavours).
Let the soup stock simmer for about 20-30 minutes (the longer it’s left the more the flavours will come out).
Cut the cauliflower and broccoli into bite size florets, thinly slice the carrot and red pepper and cut the butt end of the bok choy and then any large leaves in half, add to the stalk.
Finely chop the mint and cilantro (about 3 tbsp of each) and add into the stock as well. Simmer until the veggies are tender but still have a crunch (maybe 8-10 minutes). I like to add in the snow peas just before serving (cooking in the broth for only about 2 minutes).
Before serving, remove the lemon grass stalks and lime leaves. Season the soup with a little salt and lime juice as needed. Spoon the soup over the cooked brown rice and garnish with fresh cilantro, mint, roasted cashews and bean sprouts.