Sweet (Potato) Thai

10 Mar
Sawadeekah. Alayna had a hankering for tom kha gai soup. But since we made a similar soup in the past we decided to do something wild and add scallops, sweet potatoes and carrots! Alayna’s creative twist resulted in a genius outcome. The broth is really, really good. Really good. PJ, our new soup buddy for the week, thought so too. Thanks for coming PJ!

The big coconut milk cans were on sale so I bought two of them instead of three smaller cans. Alayna poured in one big can and then asked for the other as I skimmed the Nutrition Information. I paused to consider how one cup of coconut milk had 254% of my daily intake of saturated fat. And thus began The Coconut Milk Mystery.

I am one of those sorts who believe that any fruit or vegetable or natural, minimally processed grain is probably pretty good for you and pretty much eat all of that stuff blindly. So I was very confused how the natural milk of a coconut had the nutritional value of a Big Mac. Twist! Coconut Milk has no cholesterol, which adds to the mystery as saturated fat and cholesterol go hand in hand. BUT obviously this isn’t an animal product.

Let me share with you an article I found brilliantly titled: “Coconut Nutrition… Controversy Abounds”

Some scientists argue that it is high in cholesterol, whereas others argue that because of the combination of fats contained in coconut milk, it reduces rather than raises cholesterol in the human body. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are both necessary to good body function, and the balance between them is key in determining whether we have high or low cholesterol. Coconut oil is a saturated fat. Saturated fat is one of the bad fats known to raise LDL levels and consequently cholesterol levels. However saturated fat is now being disputed in the medical and scientific communities as more cultural diets are studied. As an example, Polynesians, who consume a diet rich in coconut milk, a rich source of saturated fat, do not suffer widely from high cholesterol. Scientists do not understand why that is so.

You know why I think that is so? Because plants are always good for you. I mean, I’m not going go guzzling coconut milk, and I am going to say, Alayna, I think one giant can of coconut milk is fine for tonight, but I’m not going to avoid our big-ball hairy coconut friends either.

This brings me to my last piece of news. I joined a CSA. My dream of all dreams. I can already visualize the soup blog post of me visiting my farmer friend upstate. As if this farmer is one of those children in India you give money to and put their picture on your refrigerator. I want to put a picture of my farmer on my fridge. And I want to be his penpal. And I want to eat his turnips. Well, thankfully the latter I am guaranteed to do.

Sweet Potato Thai
  • roughly dice about 8 cloves of garlic (maybe less if you’re not sick and/or trying to keep away vampires) and saute in olive oil with some dried red pepper
  • once garlic is fragrant, add one chopped yellow onion and about 3 inches of peeled and chopped fresh ginger and cook covered for about 5 more minutes until fragrant
  • add 4-5 chopped smallish sweet potatoes and two large chopped carrots
  • Add a 25.5 ounce can of coconut milk, about two can-fulls more of chicken broth and the juice of five limes
  • Bring the heat up and cook for about 20-30 minutes until the carrots and potatoes are soft enough to put a fork through, but not too mushy
  • in a separate pan, lightly saute about 3/4 lb of bay scallops in olive oil until they look opaque
  • add the scallops to the soup (with the heat off) and let sit for a few minutes to cook the rest of the way, topping off the pot with a handful of roughly chopped cilantro

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