Soup Up My Soup

Food and Stuff

Leave a comment

Khao Soi Soup (Sans noodles)

Khao Soi is a popular dish in Thailand and Myanmar, although there are many variations and you won’t get a consistent recipe. However, they all start with creating a paste of some kind, and then use that as the basis for a soup. Most recipes that I come across for Khao Soi use both coconut milk and chicken stock. Hopefully you make your own stock, but use whatever you can.

The recipe below is basically the same one from the March 2013 issue of Bon Appetite, however I have made this noodle-free to make it friendly for a paleo or grain-free diet (not that I follow it that closely, but I cut it out where it’s easy.) The main differences compared to the magazine (aside from being sans noodles) are that I added a pound of tiger shrimps, and used more chicken than their recipe called for. I also used coconut oil to sauté the paste, you can substitute for vegetable oil if you want. Also, if you really have to eat gluten-free, make sure the fish sauce you use doesn’t have any wheat in it, or just cut it out entirely. The rest of the ingredients should be fine.

If you want to add noodles, no problem, just cook according to the packages instructions towards the end of the process. Egg noodles probably would work best here, but use whatever you like.

Chicken Khao Soi

(Serves about 6 as a meal, or more as an app)

Khao Soi Paste

  • Large dried Guajillo Chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded, 4
  • Medium shallots, halved, 2
  • Garlic cloves, 8
  • Ginger, peeled, sliced, 1 2” piece
  • Turmeric, ground, 1 tsp.
  • Coriander, ground, 1 tsp.
  • Curry Powder, 1 tsp.


  • Coconut oil, 2 tbsp.
  • Chicken thighs, skinless and boneless, 2 lbs.
  • Tiger shrimp, 1 lb.
  • Coconut milk, two cans (use light coconut milk if you want to cut the fat a bit)
  • Fish sauce, 3 tbsp.
  • Palm sugar, 1 tbsp. (can substitute brown sugar if you want)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, and lime wedges (all for serving with at the end, pick and choose the ones you want, they all work)

Making the Paste:

Put the chilis in a bowl of hot water and let sit for half an hour to reconstitute. Drain and put in a food processor (or mortar and pistol it all if you have the patience) along with the rest of the khao soi paste ingredients. Keep adding the reserved chilli water as needed until you get a consistent paste.

Making the soup:

Heat the coconut oil (or vegetable if you don’t have any, but you should!) and add the khao soi paste on medium heat. Cook the paste while stirring for about 5 minutes, until it starts to darken and become fragrant. Add the coconut milk and the chicken stock, and then bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and add the chicken, cook for about 25 minutes. With about 10 minutes left add the shrimps.

Remove the chicken and shred it, or slice it into thin pieces. Then add back to the soup, and add the fish sauce and the palm sugar. Add salt to taste (remember you can put it in but you can’t take it out!).

Serve, along with the added toppings you wish (lime wedges, sliced onion, bean sprouts, etc.).

IMG_0351 IMG_0352IMG_0357



1 Comment

Oh, Snap! – Red Snapper and Scallop-based Bouillabaisse

Dear Soup Development Team,

Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.

In theory, it’s a simple stew created by Marseille fisherman using fish that were too bony to serve in restaurants. In practice, it’s an expensive main course in most French Bistros, probably due to the level of complexity and cost in making it, especially in landlocked areas where fish is more expensive.

Although purists will claim that a true Bouillabaisse can’t be made too far from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and I’m using a fish from the Gulf of Mexico, this is a pretty faithful version of the classic fish stew.

You can put bouillabaisse versions into two buckets, one with a clear broth and one with a pureed  soup base. This is the latter. It tastes and looks better to do it this way in my opinion. Both are great though.

Oh, Snap! Bouillabaisse

Serves Four 


Red Snapper, 1
scallops, 1 pound

olive oil, 1.5 tablespoons
garlic, 4 cloves chopped
fennel Bulb, 1/2 chopped (or 1/2 tsp of fennel seed)
onion, 1 coarsely chopped
marjoram, 2/3 tsp dried or 4 fresh sprig
Orange Zest, from 1/2 orange
Fish bones

Soup Base
leeks, 2 finely chopped
Tomatoes, 5 peeled, seeded, and chopped
Pernod/Ricard liquor, 1/8 cup
saffron, a pinch

water, 3 tablespoons
coarse fresh bread crumbs (preferably from a baguette, crust removed), 3/4 cup
garlic cloves, 3
coarse sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon
cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon
extra-virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons


Preparing the fish and prepping the bones

Debone the fish (or if the fishmonger is kind enough to do it for you, ask him to put the bones and head in a bag and to save for you), cover them in cold water for 30-45 minutes, changing the water at least twice. This is an important step before making the broth.

Making the rouille

Use this downtime to make rouille. Pour water over bread crumbs in a bowl. Mash garlic to a paste with sea salt and cayenne using a mortar and pestle or a small food chopper. Add moistened bread crumbs and mash into garlic paste. Add oil in a slow stream, mixing until combined well.

Making the Stock

Put 1.5 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot on low heat, add the fish stock ingredients except for bones and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

Add the bones, cook for another 10 minutes, then add enough water to cover, approximately 4 cups. cook for about half an hour

Strain product through a medium strainer and reserve the liquid. This is the stock.

Making the Soup Base

Add another 1.5 tablespoons of oil, and cook the leeks for about 10 minutes on low heat

Add the rest of the soup base ingredients, cook for another 10 minutes

Puree the product in a blender, adding salt and pepper to taste

Cooking the fish and scallops 

Lay out the fillets of Red Snapper and about 1/2 pound of scallops in a pan on low heat

Ladle enough of the soup base over the fish and scallops until they are covered, cook for 5 minutes. You can just pan fry the fish and scallops by themselves  as well without cooking in the soup base.


Put the cooked fish and scallops into bowls. Ladle the soup mixture over top, and then spoon out a few tablespoons of the rouille on top of the soup, after you’ve put a bit of the soup mixture in to thin it out a little. Serve immediately with a baguette.

Leave a comment

DJ Jayro Soup Development Team: Week Twenty-one – Sim Simma (Whose got Tomatoes and some Ginga?)

Dear Soup Development Team,

After twenty-one weeks, I have decided to hang up the proverbial soup pan, expand my horizons and move past this wonderful appetizer. Therefore, “soup up my soup” will serve as the predecessor for a new, more diverse discourse on the world of gastronomy. For those of you who actually read through these musings, you’ll notice that my notorious topic drift eventually led to the blog losing the focus of being simply about soup, and was begging to move beyond these borders and become more free-form in nature. So, watch out for something new in the next few weeks. It will be better, I promise.

The ginger plant, or Zingiber officinale, has a long history of cultivation, originating in Asia, then travelling to India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. Culinary uses are many and varied, ranging from being the main ingredient of ginger ale, to being used in a variety of Indian and Chinese dishes. Ginger also has many medicinal uses, having evidence of blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties, as well as being frequently used to treat dyspepsia and colic.

Although outrageously overpriced in shi-shi grocery stores like Loblaws and Sobeys, you can get ginger route in a bag for cheap at most Asian grocery stores. It is a staple in all of my Asian cooking, most frequently as part of marinades. You can peel the root and then use a cheese grater, or just smash it down on the cooking board if you have a cleaver. I like smashing things with the flat side of a cleaver, which is probably testament to my impatience when I have too much food prep to do for a meal.

Sim Simma (Whose got Tomatoes and some Ginga?)

Serves four-ish

Anyone who talks to me regularly knows of my obsession with Sandwich Box, a gourmet sandwich joint on Richmond St. across the street from my office building. Last Thursday the soup was Tomato and Ginger, and it was the best soup I’ve had there in a while. So, here is a solid version of it.

Cut up and then Puree the following:

2 yellow onions
4 ounces of ginger root

Melt in a soup pan over medium heat:

1/2 cup butter

add and cook for 4 minutes and stirring frequently:

Onion puree that you just made

Puree and add to the saucepan:

2 pounds of hot house tomatoes

Add, bring to a boil, then sim simma on medium low heat for 30 minutes:

1 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 tbsp of white sugar
sea salt and pepper
to taste
2 cups of heavy cream (whipping cream)

In a separate bowl, beat:

2 egg yolks

Add a small portion of the soup into the yolks, and then pour mixture back into the saucepan

Garnish with:

chives, cut into lengths


Track of the week:

Track this week is Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits, because it’s a way better song than anything by Beenie Man.

Adios for now,
“made from scratch”

Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment

DJ Jayro Soup Development Team: Week Twenty – I’m not a Player, I just Schuck a lot (Oyster Saffron Soup)

I'm not a Player, I just Schuck a lot (Oyster and Safron Soup)Dear Soup Development Team,

Substantial controversy enshrouds the months in which oysters should be consumed. One of the oldest rules states that they should only be eaten in months that contain the letter R. This adage came into prominence during a time when there was inadequate refrigeration during transport. From a health perspective, it is now safe to eat oysters year round.

However, there is another reason to eat oysters only in the Rs; the warm months are spawning season and the texture can becomes quite unappealing. I was in this camp for a while, until I ordered some oysters last summer at the Starfish Oyster Bed and Grill in Toronto during the Summerlicious festival and thought they were delicious. The warmer months can make for some interesting variations in flavour; since oysters are basically filters, the different currents can bring different, and enjoyable flavors, to the same oyster from the same oyster bed depending on climate. These days, however, the vast majority of oysters are cultivated and a high proportion of these are sterile and unable to spawn, making the argument moot.

Utimately oysters are a matter of taste, and if you actually cook or poach them, it doesn’t really matter when they are eaten. So even if you don’t rush to make this recipe in the next short while, save it for the summer and it will be equallly delicious.

I’m Not a Player, I just Schuck A Lot (Oyster Saffron Soup)

Shuck about 24 oysters and reserve their liquor (the liquid) A pretty good tutorial here on how (

In a pan on medium-low head, add:

1 tbps butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Add and cook for about three minutes:

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup celery, fine dice
1 cup leeks, finely sliced and only the white part

Add to pot and poach for about two minutes:

oyster liquid


1/2 cup white wine (optional)
1 cup heavy cream (table cream may be substituted, but don’t try using milk)

Add, bring to just under a boil and then simmer:

a pinch of saffron
pepper to taste

Add and serve

parsley to taste

Track of the Week

This week’s track is Small Axe by Bob Marley, a man who certainly did a lot of schucking in his lifetime.


“made from scratch”

Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment

DJ Jayro Soup Development Team: Week Nineteen – 99 Problems (But a Bisque Ain’t One)

Dear Soup Development Team,

During the Roman Empire, the emperor Claudius II held the conviction that married men made for poor soldiers and had decided to outlaw the marrying of young men. Upon discovering that Saint Valentine had defied his orders and secretly encouraged young lovers to get married, Claudius ordered his swift execution. Thus, around A.D 270 on the fourteenth day of February, Saint Valentine was put to death. Some maintain that Valentine himself initiated the concept of sending love message in which he had ended the note by writing ‘from your valentine’. People say during imprisonment he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and he had expressed his deep feelings for her by writing letters.

So this Valentine’s Day, while your wining and dining your better half in a haze of wine and chocolate, think of the reason why you’re there in the first place. On the other hand, if you’re having girl problems then I feel bad for you son, I got….

99 Problems (But a Bisque Ain’t One)

Heat the following in a soup pan over medium heat:

2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Saute in the butter/olive oil for about three minutes

1 large (or 2 small) shallots, minced
1 large leek, thinly sliced diagonally

Add the following, cook for another minute:

8 ounces of crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces of shiitake muchrooms, sliced
6 ounces of portobello mushrooms, sliced (about 3 smaller ones)

Add 1/4 cup of flour and incorporate into the vegetables

Add 3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes

Add, simmer for 10 more minutes:

1 cup of cream (35% is best, you could also use milk)
thyme to taste
ground nutmeg to taste


1/4 cup sherry
lemon juice from 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Track of the Week:

Track this week is “Fair Weather Friends” by Daedelus, because inside we’re all the same.

“made from scratch”

Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment

DJ Jayro Soup Development Team: Week Eighteen – Single Ladies (Put a Carrot in it)

Dear Soup Development Team:

New York Times food critic Mark Bittman was at the University of Toronto last week promoting his new book “Food Matters – A Guide to Conscious Eating”, and I was lucky enough to get a seat in the packed audience. He was on stage with CBC’s Matt Galloway for an hour-long discussion, with topics ranging from eco-eating to our overconsumption of meat. I know most of you are desensitized to the piles of statistics on the Western diet, however one crazy stat worth mentioning is that 7% of American’s calories come from soda (although, 7% of my diet probably comes from Canadian Club, and another 7% comes from red wine, so I can’t say much here).

One interesting take-away I got from the talk was his argument that you should really only be shopping around the perimeter of the supermarket, as the stuff in the middle is basically processed derivatives of the outside. This would follow that you should only really be buying about 10% of what a supermarket sells.

Below is a simple vegetable soup with some pearled barley in it. You can add whatever vegetables and spices you want, but the below can serve as a simple framework for timing and ingredients.

Single Ladies (Put a Carrot in it)

Start by making a simple vegetable broth:

Put in a soup pan, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes:

3 litres of ice cold water (or however big your pot is)
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 dried clove

remove all vegetables, bay leaf and clove and discard. Then add and cook on medium for 20 minutes:

2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups of celery, diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup pearled barley

Add, cook for another 5 minutes:

1/2 cup roughly chopped or crushed canned tomatoes

Sea salt and pepper to taste


You could also add some small pasta the same time you add the veggies and barley

Bittman in the News

A good book review of Bittmans book is here.

Track of the Week

This weeks track is “Vegetables” by The Beach Boys. You know you love it.


“made from scratch”

Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment

DJ Jayro Soup Development Team: Week Seventeen – Bisque Markie

Dear Soup Development Team,

Barack Obama isn’t the first president to take over in a time of crisis. In January of 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt assumed the President’s office in the midst of The Great Depression. Due to the circumstances, most of the ceremonies for Inauguration Day where canceled, save for a simple buffet for family and a few friends, and a reception in the early evening, which FDR didn’t even attend.

Although not considered a picky eater, FDR quickly grew tired of the meals that were prepared by Mrs. Henry Nesbitt, the White House housekeeper at the time, who believed in plain food plainly cooked, and apparently was very difficult to get along with. FDR is reported to have said, “my stomach positively rebels and this does not help my relations with foreign powers. I bit two of them yesterday.”

Because of his disability, FDR seldom ate out. Fed up with Mrs. Henry’s cooking, he eventually brought in his former personal cook and had a kitchen installed on the third floor, where she cooked two meals for him daily. This was successful right up until when America was put on an austerity program shortly after World War 2, and the White House needed to follow it like everyone else. During this time, the diet consisted of an egg, one slice of toast, one slice of bacon, and coffee for breakfast, and simple lunches and dinners. Staff were even required to bring their own sugar to work if they wanted to use it in their cooking.

FDR is the only president to have presided over the country for more than two terms, serving from 1933 until his death in 1945, eventually being succeeded by Harry Truman. His plan for tackling The Great Depression, called The New Deal, is largely considered to have been a success, as well as his leadership throughout World War II. There’s little doubt Obama and his team will be closely studying the policies of FDR’s administration as to figure out how to steer the US through the next couple of years.

FDR’s favourite soup was Martha Washington’s Crab Soup. I’ve taken the gist of this soup and updated it a little. So this is for those who didn’t want to spend $50 making A Tribe Called Bisque a few months back, but want to enjoy the deliciousness of a good bisque.

Bisque Markie (Just a Friend)

Serves four or five

For delicate soups like this (as well as for things like melting chocolate) try to use a double boiler, however you can make a makeshift one with a large sauce pan, a smaller sauce pan, and a strainer (see picture at the bottom). The idea is that you want to cook the thing in the inside pot, using the heat from the boiling water of the outside pot. The inside pot should be just sitting on top of the water level of the bigger pot.

In the top of a double boiler (or the inside sauce pan if you have a makeshift one), add:

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp all purpose flour

When mixed well together, add:

2 hard boiled eggs, mashed
zest of one lemon (or one lemon peel grated if you don’t have a zester, which is just a very fine grater)

Stir in and cook on medium heat, until thickened up a bit, about 10 minutes:

4 cups of milk, or light cream (the heavier the milk/cream the better the taste)
1/4 cup of pureed rice (cook whatever rice you like to use and then puree it in a blender with some of the milk

Add and cook for another 5 minutes:

1.5 pounds of crab meat, I used soft shell because it’s much easier to get the meat out, but you can use whatever kind you want

You can also add some shrimp in there as well, or shallots, or any other seafood


1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of sherry (used Orion 2001 Chardonnay Sherry, was the only bottle they had at The Wine Rack and I wasn’t driving all the way to the LCBO)
paprika to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Cook for another 5 minutes or so and then serve.

Jayro in the News

If you’re looking for something to do next weekend, I’ll be giving a cooking demonstration on Saturday in Markham, Ontario, showcasing a few of Susur’s French Chinese fusion recipies. Starts at 1, see attached poster.

Track of the Week

Yip Harburg’s “Life is a Bowl of Cherries” was one of the defining songs of the Great Depression. Although Judy Garland’s career came a bit later, her version is still my favorite. Give it a listen and get some perspective yo.


“made from scratch”

Bookmark and Share