Just when Uncle Richard and I think our spice tolerance has reached new levels from living in Thailand, something happens to remind us we’re still pretty wimpy.
Last week we had dinner with some friends who were visiting and they warned us that one of the dipping sauces was really spicy. We tried it and it was not.
But then, today, I decided to make a version of a Northern Thai soup (Kaeng Awm Neua) that is described as aggressively herbaceous and spicy. I cut the amount of chilies in half but it still really packed a punch!
It was a good punch though. Very, very good! And, according to Uncle Richard, “spicy is good, it makes you wake up and think.”
In Thailand the soup is made with mostly beef and herbs and raw veggies are served on the side. I decided to put vegetables in the soup as well. Uncle Richard recommends more beef less vegetables.
Give it a try and then come visit us soon so we can go to Northern Thailand and get the real thing!
Auntie Krista’s Spicy Kaeng Awm style soup
1 Tablespoon sea salt
6 dried red chilies
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
6 cilantro roots/stems, cleaned and chopped
Zest of one kaffir lime
3 stalks lemongrass, peeled and chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
3 shallots, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon oil
1.5 pounds beef stew chunks
20 kaffir lime leaves, torn
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 cups chopped veggies (I like eggplant, tomatoes and green beans)
Cilantro, dill and green onions, chopped for garnish
Grind the salt, chilies and pepper corns in a mortar and pestle. Add cilantro, lime zest and lemongrass and grind into a coarse paste. Add ginger, shallots and garlic and grind into a smooth paste.
Heat a soup pot and add oil. Then add beef and curry paste. Fry until browned then add 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour until liquid is reduced. Add lime leaves, fish sauce and veggies and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve with herb garnish.