Peanut butter soup is one of the best meals I remember my mom making when I was a kid. Now, I’ll admit that 9-year-old me was a bit skeptical at first, but it was delicious, and I can remember telling a kid who was deathly allergic to peanuts that he was really missing out (sorry, Felix). Anyhow, unfortunately for me, my mother completely forgot about that soup, and by the time I thought to ask for it again, she was certain it had never existed. Oh well.
Fast forward ten or so years, and I’m in university, in charge of keeping myself fed. Late one night, as I’m drifting off to sleep, I remember this soup, and my culinary wheels start churning away. It should be noted that I was on a massive make-everything-Thai-fusion kick at this time (I made a Thai inspired risotto, among other things), so I decided to take my resurrected peanut butter soup in a distinctly Thai direction.
Now, it’s been a few years since I first invented (sure, I’ll claim that) Thai peanut butter soup, so when I came home from work, hungry after my 25km of biking that day, and remembered its existence by chance, it sounded like a brilliant idea. I’ve tweaked my 18-year-old self’s original as I’ve learned a few things, but the idea is basically the same. The result is a rich, creamy soup, loaded with noodles, bamboo, and a few veggies (it’s also veg*n if you watch the ingredients in the chili paste!).
Thai Peanut Butter Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp ground lemongrass
1 tsp ground galangal
1½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground garlic
1 can coconut milk
½ cup natural peanut butter
1–2 tbsp brown or palm sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves
Vegetable stock, as needed
Soy sauce, to season
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
1 cup cubed sweet potato
1 cup cubed tofu
1 can baby corn, drained, rinsed, and chopped
½ package flat rice noodles, soaked and drained
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large wok. Add the curry paste, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, and garlic. Blend everything into the oil and cook until hot and fragrant, about three minutes.
Add the coconut milk and peanut butter, and heat through, stirring, to blend everything together. Add the sugar, kaffir lime leaves and veggie stock (enough to thin it so the base is more stock than sauce) and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with soy sauce before proceeding.
Add the bamboo, sweet potato, tofu, baby corn, and rice noodles. Simmer until warmed through.
Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and fresh Thai basil. Enjoy!