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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thai Sweet Potato Stew

I am completely wiped out after this weekend.  Boyfriend and I spent the weekend moving into a new apartment.  That might not sound unusual or especially tiring, except for the fact that we moved from the second floor of our building up to the fourth floor.  We did this move over the course of three days.

Day One: Wait, before I get into the details of the moving process I should tell you this - I packed almost nothing prior to our move-in date of February 4th.  The morning of day one, we were scheduled to get the keys to our new "penthouse" apartment at 10 o'clock.  Not wanting to move on an empty stomach, we did what every moving day person does, we went to Dunkin' Donuts.  We filled up on egg and cheese sandwiches and hot beverages.  Movers need protein!

Upon receiving the keys, we signed our new lease and went up to our new place.  We knew we were moving into an apartment with a slightly different bed/bath layout, but we weren't quite ready for what we saw when we entered the room.  The main living area was the exact reverse of our apartment downstairs.  This is going to hurt my brain for weeks.

Moving day one was fine, with the exception of our harrowing journey with the couch into the elevator, everything went smoothly.  We moved our clothes from the old closet to the new, smaller closet.  The bedroom set went from our old, weirdly shaped bedroom to our new, normally laid out one.  The couch and TV did make it upstairs without being broken or leaving too many marks on the walls.  It was a good move.

We did not have that soup for dinner.  Oh no, no.  We had Chinese food from the take-out place down the street.  The Thai sweet potato soup that you see above was made last week and enjoyed by one and only one person in the apartment, me.  Someone doesn't like sweet potatoes.  Someone is a weirdo.

Thai Sweet Potato Stew
Adapted from The Vegetarean Times Cookbook

This soup is the perfect wintertime soup.  It's spicy and warming.  I'm glad that I didn't have to share any of it, because then I would have had fewer delicious lunches!  The only item you might have trouble finding in your regular grocery store is lemongrass.  I found a small package at Whole Foods, but try your local Asian foods market, or even the specialty section of your produce department.  If all else fails, Penzey's spices sells a dried version!

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp lemongrass, minced
1 tsp chili paste
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 large white onion, chopped
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
1 cup vegetable stock
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
dry roasted peanuts

In a mortar and pestle, combine garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chili paste and salt until it forms a paste (if you don't have a M&P, just mince it all together). 

Heat sesame oil in a large, deep saucepan (or dutch oven) over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned.  Add paste from mortar and pestle and stir to heat, about 30 seconds.  Add sweet potatoes, stock and coconut milk.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and put the lid on it.  Simmer for 25 minutes, or until your potatoes are fork tender. 

Ladle out into your serving bowls and sprinkle with a small handful of dry roasted peanuts.
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