This? This is amazing. Especially if you live near a high concentration of Asian groceries and can find a bunch of these ingredients for cheap, and salmon goes on sale for the right price. A nice Thai riff on the classic salmon chowder, and makes the apartment smell amazing. 

Thai Style Salmon Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced large
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, outer layers removed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves (you can get these for super cheap at Asian grocery stores, trust me)
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 13 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 lb salmon, skin removed and cut into .5 inch pieces (save the skin)
  • .25 c fish sauce
  • .25 c fresh lime juice

Heat a large pot over high heat. Add the olive oil, and once it starts to shimmer, add your sliced shiitake, and sautee until deeply bronzed (about 7 to 10 minutes). Then, stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant (a minute or so), followed by the tomato, bell pepper, lime leaves, and lemongrass, cooking until the tomatoes release juice and the bell pepper just barely starts to wilt. 

Add in the chicken stock and coconut milk and stir together, bringing to a simmer. Once steadily simmering, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 

While the soup simmers, heat a small pan with olive oil over medium high heat, add your salmon skin, and cook on each side for about three minutes, until crispy. (Mine didn’t quite work out that way due to the sheer amount, but I tried and got pretty close!  See pics 8 and 9). 

Once your salmon skin is ready, add the salmon chunks, fish sauce, and lime juice in, and cook another minute or two, until the salmon that you can see is cooked. (The residual heat will take care of cooking it the rest of the way.)

Taste and adjust to your tastes, add a bit of salmon skin for garnish to your bowl as you scoop it out, and enjoy your ridiculously good soup. 

I tried to make this a few years ago, either just before or right around the advent of this blog. It didn’t turn out so well, because I a) didn’t have a clue what I was doing with the pumpkin, b) was still figuring out my way around the kitchen, and c) this was an earlier recipe from Brokeass Gourmet, which wasn’t always fantastic on the directions in the early days.

Now, though? I know how to peel and dice a pumpkin properly, which is honestly the big part of the effort in this recipe. The pumpkin I got originally gave me about 10 cups worth of diced pumpkin (from about five pounds of pumpkin), which is definitely more than enough for this and another recipe I’ll be using it in soon.  And the rest came together with ingredients from a beef brussel sprouts stir fry from the Plated trial I mentioned in the last post, and with stuff I already had in my pantry. Honestly, the only thing you should need to buy for this should be the pumpkin, the ginger, the beef, the coconut milk, and maybe the peppers.

The result is an amazing fall curry that I can’t wait to make again. Plus, it’s cheap!

Thai Pumpkin Beef Curry
Lasts 5 to 6 lunches as a main

Ingredients

  • 6 c peeled and cubed fresh pumpkin
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped (adjustable to taste)
  • 1 1" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced (I used a shallot from the Plated trial)
  • .5 lb beef stew meat (I increased it to 2 lbs because I remember it not being that much, I had an additional flatiron steak from the Plated trial that I cut up and added, and I like beef besides)
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 t Thai red curry paste (I ended up increasing this to 1 T)
  • 1 T soy sauce (was probably closer to 2 T for me)
  • 2 t honey (accidentally used 2 T, whoops)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1" pieces
  • jalapeño, seeded and chopped

Preheat your oven to 375, take your pumpkin pieces and lay them out on a foil lined baking sheet, and roast them for 45 minutes, until the pumpkin is fork tender.

Twenty five minutes into the pumpkin roasting, heat your olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add your garlic, ginger, and onion, and cook for two minutes, stirring once or twice. Then, add your beef and brown lightly on all sides. 

Add in your coconut milk, curry paste, soy sauce, and honey, and stir well. You should have a red-brownish creamy sauce (mine tended a bit more towards brown). Add in your bell pepper and jalapeño, stir well, and then cover. Cook for the remaining 15 minutes or so that the pumpkin will roast, stirring here and there, as otherwise the honey will stick to the bottom of the pot. 

Once the pumpkin is done roasting, add it directly to the pot. Give the pot another good stir and then cover again, cooking for another fifteen minutes, until the beef is very, very tender.

And then, enjoy your fantastic curry!