Hunter Gather in the Ice Age: Spicy Thai Fish Soup

| February 10, 2010

This is out of control.

For the past 6 days, I have been confined to a 1000 square foot apartment with a dazed and confused 3 year old, a 1 year old trapeze artists (she has been doing flips off of my couch) and my visiting mother.

With the exception of a few trips to the trash shoot down the hall and a very desperate/treacherous car ride to the nearby grocery store, I have seriously been limited to traipsing within the four walls of my apartment, thanks to the unprecedented snow storm/greatest example of climate change.


The grocery story was completely barren.  Or rather, the shelves at the grocery store were empty.  The store was swarming with other distressed, cabin-fevered human beings who simultaneously went into survival mode, hunting for limited packages of tightly saran wrapped meats, gathering for terribly wilted produce and scavenging for anything with alcohol in it.

I did manage to find some dried beans, jarred tomatoes a few, almost expired onions and the last 2 packets of frozen wild halibut.  Combined with a couple of staples from my pantry, I was able to make one of my mom’s favorite, winter soups.  A spicy, succulent Thai Fish Soup that can transport anyone (with a tolerance for hot peppers and garlic) from our snow globe-like existence to the humid and lush green jungles of Thailand.  This soup has a flavor base full of red hot peppers, cumin, garlic, ginger and onions.  I used chicken stock to compliment the coconut milk and subtle halibut, but if I had some fish stock on hand, I would have most definitely used that instead.

With our noses running and sweat beads forming around our forehead, my mom and I slurped down our super spicy soup and chunks of flaky, yet juicy halibut filets as we stared at the winter wonderland that enveloped our surroundings.   Strangely, while we all feel like punching each other in the faces (the little 1 year old included), we couldn’t help but feel extraordinarily grateful for the each other, our hot soup and the roof over our heads.  Life could be infinitely worse for all of us and we couldn’t be more thankful for all our blessings.

P.S!!!  And a bit THANK YOU to Kristy at My Little Space for the Happy 101 award!!!!  You are the best, Kristy!!


Spicy Fish Thai Soup

Spicy Thai Fish Soup
Servings (2 for a meal or 4 as a small appetizer)

½ inch grated ginger
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 onion, sliced thinly in shape of half moons
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1 whole red pepper, sliced
1 long green chili, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon of Thai red curry paste
2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons of fish sauce (may need more to taste)
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 cup of coconut milk
2 .3-ounce halibut filets


Pre-heat a large wok or deep soup pot.  Once hot (not screaming hot, but hot), add oil and drop heat to medium-low.  Than add the onions, garlic and grated ginger.  After 2 minutes, add the red pepper and chili.  Stir/cook until onions are translucent.

Add the Thai red curry paste and mix well with onions/peppers.  Then add chicken stock (or fish stock if you have it), fish sauce and granulated sugar.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Add 1 cup of coconut milk (I actually use a creamed coconut that comes in a box and add water – Let’s Do…Organic makes this product).  Do not boil!  Otherwise, milk might curdle.  After 3 minutes, add the fish filets and do not move!  Make sure the filets are covered with liquid and let cook for 7-9 minutes, depending on size of your filet.

Serve hot in large bowls with or without rice!

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Category: Asia Pacific, Featured Articles: Travel & Culture, Recipe Vault, Soups, Travel & Culture

About the Author (Author Profile)

We all have a friend in our lives who is smart, witty, intelligent: you give her cold pasta and chicken and she will whip out a gourmet meal in 15 minutes, she makes chicken soup from scratch for her sick neighborhood even though she is nursing a cold herself… you know that friend who will always be there to drive common sense into you, but doesn’t realize that she is as perfect as they come as a mother, wife and friend. That is our Patty….

Comments (10)

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  1. The soup sounds warming and spicy, just perfect on this crazy snow day!

  2. Angie says:

    Ain’t it a great soup for keeping the cold out!?

  3. I will be equally happy to have this flavorful soup served with rice or rice noodle.

  4. Jeanne says:

    Looks delicious! I am amazed at your resourcefulness in creating such a beautiful meal during a blizzard! Hope you defrost soon 🙂

  5. Yum! This is a great concoction:) Sorry to hear about the snow storm. But you managed to get through it. Great job on making a meal for what’s left on the grocery store shelves. Runny nose and sweaty forehead are good indication of good Thai food:)

  6. MaryMoh says:

    Looks warming and welcoming in this cold weather. Thai food is my favourite….delicious…yum!

  7. Kat says:

    oh bless you Patty! it has been nuts!!! My food escapades were much simpler, but I got some great snow shots. Will put up a post today 🙂

  8. Christine says:

    This looks like such a wonderfully savory fish soup.

  9. Tsering says:

    I would forget all about a cold snowstorm if I can get to eat such an delicious dish at home!

  10. Simply Life says:

    Wow that looks deeelicious!