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Monday, October 05, 2009

Wild Rice Soup

easy recipe wild rice soup

Wild rice, which is not really a commercial rice variety, is a grain native to North America that grows wild and hence is harder to harvest. But, with the outer husk left on, it has such a rich nutty flavor and texture that I find it incredibly delicious - in stew, or pilaf, and sometimes in soup.

As a short-cut, I prefer to cook the wild rice in rice cooker before adding to the soup. Per measure of wild rice, I use 3 cups of stock or water. I like to start the rice cooker on my way out to work in the morning, so that, when I get back in the evening, I just have to chop up the veggies, get the soup base ready and throw them all together in a pot, allow to simmer till ready, and serve hot.

The soup base is almost like the vegetarian Tom Yum Goong I like to make. But, I add a bunch of seasonal vegetable to the wild rice soup to make it feel like a whole meal, especially for a cold weeknight.

2 cups cooked wild rice
veggies used here: Brussel sprouts, zucchini, tomatoes, Kabocha squash, leeks, green beans, corn, bell peppers - these are the usual autumn harvest vegetables fresh from the farm.
3 cups stock or water (more or less)
½ can coconut milk - about 1 cup (more, if preferred)
salt to taste
1 Tbsp soybean oil or hazelnut oil or canola oil (Oregon is famous for its hazelnuts)

for the soup base:
1 Tbsp lemongrass powder OR 2 Tbsp finely chopped inner stalks of fresh lemon grass
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
¼ medium onion, diced (or equivalent shallots, if handy)
2-4 serrano chilies (or any kind whose heat you prefer and can enjoy)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Nam Prik Pow paste or Sambal Oelek (optional)
1 Tbsp soybean oil or canola oil

  1. Combine the soup base ingredients and grind to a fine paste
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the soup base and sauté a bit till aromatic and rawness fades
  3. Add the vegetables, sauté a bit more; then add the wild rice, stock or water, cover and allow to simmer together till vegetables are cooked through but not mushy
  4. Stir in the coconut milk, turn down the heat, garnish with spring onions or cilantro if preferred, serve warm

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