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When the weather is warm, I find myself gravitating toward lighter fare for our evening meal. And when the days and evenings take on a bit of a chill, I find myself longing for comfort food, which tend to be broth-y soups.
The problem is, my husband works long hours at a very physically demanding job and I'm breastfeeding – thus most “light” meals, such as soup, don't really cut it for us, as we both need much more protein than a typical broth-y soup provides in order to nourish ourselves properly.
This Coconut Fish Soup, however, fits the bill quite well, especially if I'm heavy handed with the amount of fish I add in.
Fish stock and fish sauce are both deeply nourishing elements of this dish. The fish stock contains gelatin, an essential ingredient for healing our guts and making nutrients more bio-available, and both the stock and the sauce are rich in dietary iodine, calcium, vitamins A, D, and B12, along with other trace minerals.
The coconut milk provides not only the expected creamy, coconut-ty sweetness, but also a silky texture, and a wallop of nourishment itself. Coconut contains various trace minerals, just the right amount of saturated fat, and is one of the few sources of lauric acid found outside of breastmilk, and lauric acid is a potent antiviral.
And best of all, it's delicious! The fish is lovely, but it's the broth that I especially love. I've been known to ladle extra into a mug to drink later while working at the computer….
Also, I have to confess – at times I've made this soup with vegetable broth when I've been in a hurry for a meal and haven't had fish stock on hand. It certainly lacks the full spectrum of nourishment and flavor that comes from the fish stock, but it's delicious nonetheless.
Coconut Fish Soup
adapted from Nourishing Traditions
makes approximately 2 quarts
4 cups fish stock
3 cups coconut milk
2 pounds white fish (sole, cod, etc), coarsely chopped
2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 small red Thai chile, finely diced (optional)
6 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade
1 teaspoon fish sauce or unrefined sea salt
green onions, chives, cilantro, or lemongrass, chopped for garnish
creamed coconut, to taste (optional)
Combine all ingredients except for the basil, bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat, and continue simmering for 15-20 minutes. Do not let it boil or the coconut milk will separate. Add the basil about 5 minutes before serving. Adjust seasoning to taste.
For a richer soup, add a few tablespoons of creamed coconut along with the coconut milk.