I have a friend who was recently in Bangkok. While away, he texted a photo of the most delicious looking Tom Ka Kai, Thai chicken soup. This got my tastebuds going and I decided to make a soup with ingredients I had on hand. Without coconut milk on my shelf, (EGHAD! I know!) I came up with this cashew creamy zucchini soup that ticked the Thai flavour boxes due to my additions of lemongrass and kefir lime leaves…which I DID happen to have on hand 🙂
The soup starts off in the traditional way with onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Zucchini shows up as the main veg, and the flavours of lemongrass and kefir lime bump up the soup to introduce Asian tones of freshness. The manganese in zucchini means this soup is good for your heart, while helping keep cholesterol levels in check. Cashew cream means it’s full of healthy fats along with calming magnesium.
Good and good for you, the soup is vegan-friendly. While some are not able to have coconut milk in their diet, this soup’s lemon, lime, and creamy texture will address this rather tastily!
- 2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, bashed
- 5 or 6 kefir lime leaves
- 2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
- 3 cups vegetable stock, or water
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in another cup of hot, boiled water, for a minimum of 1 hour, and then drained
- 250 ml water, to make the cashew cream
- a few sprigs of fresh coriander, and some lime wedges for garnish, if you wish
- Salt and pepper to taste
On a medium flame, heat the oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot and gently sweat the onions, celery and carrot for 4 – 5 minutes. Add the garlic and give it a stir for another minute. Place the whole lemongrass stalks, along with the kefir lime leaves, into the pot and cover with three cups of veg stock (or water, or a combination of both.) Allow this to bubble away on medium low, for about 15 minutes.
Next, add half of the grated zucchini, lower the heat, and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes. While this is cooking, make the cashew cream.
Drain the cashews and give them a quick rinse. Place the cashews in your blender and add one cup of water. Blend this to form a smooth and creamy texture, and leave it in the blender.
By now, the vegetables should have softened. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Remove and discard the lemongrass and kefir lime leaves. Very carefully, add one ladle of the soup base to the cashew cream in the blender and whiz around until fully incorporated. Carefully ladle in the rest of the soup, and blend on high to bring it to the state of a creamy soup (about 45 seconds or so of blending.)
Pour this mixture back into the pot, add the remaining grated zucchini, and re-heat the soup. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fresh coriander leaves, a squeeze of lime, and salt and pepper to taste. If you’ve got more zucchini, grate this over top for an additional garnish.