A few weekends ago, my parents were out of town, and I saw it as a golden opportunity to spend some time alone in the kitchen. I was planning to cook something straight from the random assortment of ingredients in the kitchen, a la Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off. Side note: I was a vegetarian by the time this movie came out and even so, that cereal-encrusted chicken that Eddie creates looked bomb. Anyway, it was supposed to be Hurricane Joaquin and I was in no mind to go to the grocery store for figs or chipotle peppers. Instead, I headed for the fridge.
I saw salad mix, grapes, creamer, tofu, milk, and some mystery lentils. Tofu sounded good. I considered Tom Kha Hedd, that delicious Thai mushroom coconut soup with added tofu. But I had no mushroom or lemongrass. I did, however, have coconut milk. Tofu, coconut, and what else? I checked the freezer. Raspberry? Maybe not. Corn? Maybe yes.
This pantry deliberation took me around forty minutes. It was now 8:30 PM. I was starving, chilly, and ready for soup. I also didn’t have the energy to go in blind. I googled corn coconut soup and found a great Sweet Corn and Coconut Milk Chowder recipe on ohmyveggies.com. It was a great jumping off point, and though my soup evolved into something quite strange, I’m glad I had it to reference.
Coconut Corn 10PM Soup
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 medium jalapeno
1/2 block tofu, cubed
3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups water
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
2 tablepoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup boiled pasta, any variety
Heat coconut oil in large stock pot and add onions once hot. Saute onions until brown and add jalapenos and corn. Add garlic salt. Cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
Add coconut milk and water. Bring to boil, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
In batches, transfer soup into blender and blend on high, until smooth.
Return soup to pot and add tofu and pasta. Stir in lime zest and juice. Add pepper to taste.
If you do get in the mood for a nutty, creamy, corny, soup, chowder thing, do make this soup. It’s actually pretty tasty, with lemon-y and spicy notes. I just went through so much trouble to make it (I didn’t blend it in batches, I poured all the boiling hot soup into the blender at once and pressed “go”) that by the time it was ready, it had turned into a science experiment more than a dinner. Once I was finished wiping down the counters after the blender incident, however, I was pleased with my pot. It was thick and comforting, exactly what I’ll be looking for in the frigid New York winter.
Post and Photo by Nandini Ahuja. Recipe adapted from ohmyveggies.com.