In the first few days of summer I know it seems inappropriate to make a steamy bowl of broth but it was pouring with rain today and the only thing summery about the weather right now is the calendar reading end of June. Don’t let the number of chilies fool you, this is quite a mild dish, you would need to double the number of chilies to bring the heat up to a medium curry level. To get a really nice flavorful broth it needs to simmer for at least 2 hours and use premium coconut milk it has more coconut cream to make the broth naturally sweeter. If you opt for cheaper, thinner, regular coconut milk you will probably want to add a table spoon of brown sugar. When I tested this recipe I left the garlic scapes whole(pictured) but when I prepared it for my family I sliced the scapes into bite sized pieces it was much easier to eat. I served with black quinoa and jasmine rice, I personally love quinoa but nobody else in my house will eat it, hence the “and” jasmine rice.
1 TBL Veggie oil or other neutral tasting oil
1 Shallot chopped
1 Can premium coconut milk (400 mls)
½ Cup stock (veggie, chicken or fish) or water
4 TBL Fresh Ginger root peeled and chopped
4 Fresh Kefir lime leaves
1 Bunch fresh cilantro including the roots, stems and leaves (that’s about 4 mature plants out of the garden)
2 Stalks lemon grass quartered
6 to 10 Fresh Thai bird chilies. left whole stems removed
20 Garlic scapes, buds and tips removed
2 Cups Mild tasting greens; spinach, pea leaves, fava greens/leaves or baby chard all work
Sea salt to taste
Method: You really do need the white fibrous cilantro roots to flavor the broth, if you don’t grow your own, sometimes you can find cilantro with the root still attached at farm markets or Asian produce stores. Wash the cilantro really well and make sure to scrub all the dirt off the roots they should be bright white after they are fully clean. You don’t have to mince the cilantro root but you should be able to estimate that you have a least 1 tablespoon of cilantro root, if it were minced. Now to start cooking. In a heavy bottom sauce pan that has a good fitting lid, over low/med heat, sauté shallot in the oil. When the shallots are cooked through and turn translucent add in the coconut milk, and everything else except the scapes, greens and salt. Add salt to taste at the end because the broth will condense a lot and salting at this point could result in an over salty disaster. Turn the heat up to medium until the broth starts to simmer, put the lid on and reduce heat to low, check on it and stir it occasionally but it should cook away covered for about 2 to 3 hours, then uncover, turn up the heat to low/med and let the broth simmer uncovered until it is reduces by about half. You should now have a rich, thick, creamy broth filled with chucks of soggy ingredients, strain out the solids and return to the same sauce pan. Add in the garlic scapes let them simmer a few minutes until the colour brightens and they become tender, then add in the greens keep the heat on until the greens wilt. Now salt to taste and serve it up garnished with a few cilantro leaves.