Coconut Curry Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Shrimp

I made this soup several weeks ago, and completely forgot about it until a photo of it appeared on my memory card yesterday.  It was absolutely delicious, and beautiful – worth sharing – and makes good use of the vast quantities of sweet potatoes available these days (or so it seems in the Northeast).  If the title seems vague, it’s basically Tom Yum soup, and serves 6, which means I ate it for both lunch and dinner for 3 days and didn’t get tired of it.  I found the recipe here.  Enjoy!

1.5 lbs. medium or large shell-on shrimp, peeled, shells reserved (I made do with pre-cooked, frozen shrimp, but it would be much better with fresh ones)
4 c. water
1 can coconut milk
3 Tbsp. green Thai curry paste
2 tsp. curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
1 lime, grated zest and juice
1 bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled & diced
1/2 cup pea pods, sliced on the diagonal into 1/2-inch strips (allergic to peas, I omitted this part).
1/2 cup enoki mushrooms (or, in my case, a package of the cheapest mushrooms available)
4 scallions, sliced thin
Chopped cilantro for garnish

Put the shrimp shells in a large soup pot with four cups of water. Bring it to a boil, then remove from heat and let it sit for five minutes. Strain the broth into a bowl and throw away the shells. Set the pot back on the stove.

Open the can of coconut and milk and skim off the white coconut oil, transferring it to the soup pot as you go and reserving the coconut water at the bottom of the can. Place the pot over medium heat and when the oil is melted and hot, add the curry paste, curry powder, and garlic and stir until fragrant, about two minutes. Pour the coconut water and shrimp stock into the pan. Add the brown sugar, fish sauce, and lime zest and bring to a boil. Add the bell pepper and sweet potato. Turn the heat to low and simmer for ten minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.

Add the pea pods, mushrooms, and shrimp to the soup and heat until the shrimp is just done, about three or four minutes. Stir in the lime juice and scallions and taste the broth. Add more sugar, fish sauce (for salt), or lime juice to taste. Serve hot with chopped cilantro!

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