Thai Coconut Soup and Pecan Crusted Tilapia
After 3 full days of Thanksgiving and the leftovers, I was ready for something different. Don’t get me wrong. I love the fried turkey, smoked pork loin, ham, turkey dressing, cheesy carrot casserole, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, jam cake, cole slaw, rolls, and heavenly hash. Heavenly hash is what clouds in heaven taste like. And one mustn’t forget Mim’s english pea salad. It is probably my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Mim, Joe’s grandma, makes this delicacy. And I WILL find out the recipe.
But, alas, just as the 1500 piece puzzle was completed on Saturday morning amidst the “Chaka Khan!” exclamations of Aunt Joni and the “Go to hell, Mississippi State!” pontifications of Uncle James, Thanksgiving delicacies must come to an end. Oh, let me just take a minute to bless Uncle James’ heart–Ole Miss lost.
On the way home from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we stopped in Birmingham at Surin West, our favorite Thai restaurant of all time. It’s not too far off the interstate, and they have the most amazing coconut soup ever. They also have amazing Thai Barbecue Chicken, Spicy Eggplant Noodle bowl, and tofu creations. So I decided that I would finally try my hand at the coconut soup. I made mental notes of the flavors, and though mine did not turn out exactly like their version, it was still dang good. The fish part of this dish came as an afterthought when we stopped by Publix for basics on the way home Sunday. The tilapia just looked too good to pass up. I didn’t measure anything, so these are just approximations. Add more or less to your taste.
Thai Coconut Soup
3 tbsp EVOO
4 or 5 green onions, green and white parts chopped
2 one inch pieces of peeled ginger
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled but not chopped or minced
3 tsp red curry paste; start with 2 tsp paste and add more if you like it spicier
zest of one lime
2 or 3 tsp of lemongrass (I use this concoction that I found in a tube at Publix)
32 oz box of vegetable stock
3/4 can of coconut milk
3 or 4 white mushrooms, thinly sliced
some chopped up tofu of your choice–I used about 1 cup of it because I wanted more mushrooms and I had another protein in mind
2 or 3 splashes of lite or low sodium soy sauce to your taste
a few tbsp of sugar–this part really is up to you but I’m pretty sure I added a little under a 1/4 cup.
- In a medium to large pot, add the EVOO, half of the green onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute for a few minutes on lower medium heat. The larger pieces of garlic and ginger can be taken out when you’re done. Or you can just leave it in. Whatev. If you prefer chopped garlic and ginger, go ahead. I find that I get the same amount of flavor out of it if I just save my time and throw it in.
- Add a cup of the stock, lemongrass, curry, lime zest (I freaking love my microplane), and the tofu
- Simmer for about 10 minutes to let all those flavors seep in
- Add your coconut milk and the rest of the stock and simmer for another 15-20 minutes
- Splash in the soy sauce and sugar, stir around, and then taste it to make sure it fits you
- Right when you are about to serve, add a squeeze or two of that lime and the mushrooms and remaining green onions for a little crunch
Pecan Crusted Tilapia
I’m going to tell you the secret to Southern cooking: garlic salt and onion powder in the batter of anything you fry.
And if anything calls for mayonnaise, use Duke’s. Your potato salad will thank you.
2 tilapia filets, cut into 1 inch pieces or left whole
enough vegetable oil in your pan to fry the fish
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp milk
- combine the pecans, bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic salt, and ground black pepper in a large ziploc bag. I keep the panko bread crumbs on hand because they are just better than the regular bread crumbs.
- beat the egg and milk in a medium bowl
- throw in the fish pieces and make sure they’re coated
- transfer to baggy of bread crumbs and shake around to coat
- heat your oil in your pan
- get out your tongs and place 5 or 6 pieces in the pan of hot oil
- fry until golden brown
Coconut Dipping Sauce
Need to do something with that other 1/4 of a can of coconut milk?
Add these to it:
1.5 tsp chopped ginger
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp lime juice
And then blend or whisk all the above ingredients together. Taste it to make sure it fits your taste buds. Then you can pour over your fish or use as a dipping sauce. Joe added wasabi paste to it, and it was just not good to me. It made it kinda funky. He loved it, so do what you wish.