I’ve been thinking about Thai food for weeks – ever since I had a bowl of relatively mediocre soup on my lunch break at work. For some reason, Thai soup has never really been on my radar. I’m more of a spicy green curry or peanut sauce girl. But even through the blasé of my work break soup, purchased from one of Berlin’s ubiquitous pan-Asian fast food chains, I could taste the intriguing combination of sweet and sour, creamy coconut and spice. It got me thinking. Or rather, it got me craving – and craving got me cooking.
Even at the most worldly (read: expensive) grocery stores here, non-standard ingredients are hard to come by. There are no corn tortillas, for instance. And good luck getting your hands on a bag of brown sugar. (Also, there’s no corn syrup, which is not exotic and probably better for your body, but hey, when you’re trying to bake like an American, it can be a bummer.) So gathering the ingredients for this simple soup was a bit more time consuming than I’d imagined.
I went to a Turkish shop for dried lemon leaves (forget fresh), spent a fortune on lime (one lime is a fortune here – oh, how I miss the ten-limes-for-a-dollar days in Brooklyn), and had to traipse into the high-end market for Thai chiles and lemongrass. It took three separate trips to the grocery store before they’d re-stocked the cilantro.
I made the soup after a long day at work, which was both good and bad. Good, because I enjoy a multi-process cooking session to unwind after a long day, and bad, because it had been a long day, and I was hungry.
It’s beautiful to build something cohesive out of so many different parts. With one hand, you’re making a chicken stock and tearing shreds of meat from the bone. » Continue reading this post…