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1 large banana shallot
60 g / 2 oz fresh ginger, peeled
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 sliced red hot red chilli or chilli flakes, to taste
1 lemongrass stalk, rough leaves discarded
2 tbsp oil (I used rice bran), (optional but recommended)
2 tsp ground turmeric
3 black peppercorns
1.25 L / 5 cups water or veggie stock
1 vegan stock cube (unless using stock)
1½ tsp salt (less if using salted stock or stock cube)
juice of 1 lime
240 ml / 1 cup full fat coconut milk OR 120 ml / ½ cup coconut cream
Chop all your aromatics (shallot, ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass) finely. Alternatively, you could slice them roughly and then put them in a herb chopper or food processor and mince them.
Heat up 2 tbsp of oil (I used rice bran) in a heavy-bottomed pot. Once the oil gets hot, throw all the aromatics in. Sautee them on a low heat, stirring very frequently, until they have softened and released their aroma (about 5 minutes). Now, add in the powdered turmeric and peppercorns. Stir turmeric into the aromatics, allowing the spice to toast gently before adding more moisture to the pan. Stir the whole time and make sure your flame is on low as ground spices burn easily.
Add about 5 cups / 1.25 L of water and a veggie stock cube or vegetable stock. If you don’t have any stock handy, but happen to have random unused vegetables in the fridge, put them in to create a stock on the go. I used 1 carrot, ½ small fennel bulb, a small wedge of cabbage, 2 celery sticks and a dried (shiitake) mushroom to impart more flavour to the soup. This is totally optional, but a good way to use up all these unwanted bits and pieces.
Bring the soup to the boil and simmer gently for about 45 minutes.
Season with salt (or soy sauce / tamari) and lime juice.
If you want the soup to have a little more body, thicken it with coconut cream or coconut milk.
Put the bowls into a warm oven (100 °C / 210 °F) to heat them up for serving.
Serve hot soup over cooked noodles, bok choi and fried or baked tofu (see this recipe for details). Garnish with fresh coriander, sliced chilli and spring onions.
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