28 October 2012

Shrimp, chard, and noodle soup with coconut milk

Here's a good way to use fresh chard. We have an abundant crop of it right now. You can do the same thing with spinach. We also picked the last of our red bell peppers and few days ago, and they went into the soup too.

Here's the setup: chard, rice noodles, cayenne peppers, coconut milk,
ginger, bell pepper, onions, and garlic.

If you can get fresh shrimp, that would be ideal. Here in France, I have to buy frozen shrimp, and it's not that easy to find uncooked shrimp. I get them at Asian shops and supermarkets (in Blois or Tours, in this region.) One way to get good flavor is to peel the shrimps and then boil the shells for five minutes in the broth you are going to make the soup with. Strain the shells out when you add the broth to the cooked vegetables.

Let the greens cook down with onions, garlic, ginger, and bell pepper.

Just writing about it at 7:00 a.m., and seeing the pictures, is making me really hungry. If you can get some fresh basil to flavor the soup with, well... tant mieux !

Shrimp and vegetable soup with coconut milk

12 oz. fresh spinach or chard leaves
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, diced or pressed
2 Tbsp. chopped ginger root
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
fresh basil, thyme, and/or rosemary
4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1½ cups coconut milk (a 400 ml can)
1 dozen medium-large shrimp (about 10 oz.)
2 cayenne peppers, chopped
4 oz. rice or wheat noodles
salt and black pepper to taste
lime juice

Wash the spinach or chard leaves and cut them into strips. (I had three large chard leaves and used the ribs as well as the green parts.)

Heat the vegetable oil in a big pot and sweat the onion and garlic on low heat for four or five minutes. Add the red bell pepper, ginger, and greens and let all cook down on low heat for another four or five minutes.

Pour in the broth and the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles until they are just done and reserve them in a bowl of hot water. (You can use spaghetti or other pasta, or you can use Asian rice or wheat noodles.)

Add the shrimp and chopped cayenne peppers to the soup. (You can seed the peppers before chopping them, or chop them seeds and all if you like spicy food. You could even use Tabasco, harissa, or dried cayenne pepper instead of fresh peppers.) Bring the soup back to the boil. Lower the heat and let it cook at a gentle simmer for another five minutes, until the shrimp are just done. Drain the warm noodles, add them to the soup, and serve. Squeeze in some fresh lime juice at the table.


  1. That is a great soup for the first cold weekend here in the Charente.

    Add to that the time change I was unprepared for....I want soup now.

  2. This looks wonderful! And with all the rain and cold from Hurricane Sandy, I want to eat soup!

  3. So colorful and I bet really delicious! Easy enough to make. It could become a staple. Thanks Ken! (I love thai /Pacific rim food).

  4. Oh this looks good! I'm going to show it to my sister-in-law immediately.
    We're heading back up to Nogent from Six-Fours tomorrow and still have no idea which way we'll go. Will call if it looks like we'll be coming through your vicinity and want to stop. I have a hunch we'll be coming in from the east instead. I heard mention at the table of perhaps going through the Vercors...

  5. Anything with coconut milk is a winner for me. :)

  6. You do such a super job of enticing me with your cooking projects, Ken! Even the set-up is attractive and colorful. Since my cupboard has nearly everything but the fresh herbs and shrimp and my weather outside is VERY RAINY, those missing items will very likely be added to my grocery list and thank goodness I checked your blog before leaving the house! Thanks for the very hearty suggestion.

  7. You are welcome, Mary. Hope you enjoy the soup.

    It's cold here but dry. We changed our clocks ("fall back") this morning and I'm suffering from some kind of lag. Bedtime at 8:35 p.m. and up before dawn. Oh well, I guess I'll get used to it one more time.


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