thai one on

Time to go a little exotic. Thai cuisine is all about the perfect balance of sour, spicy, salty, and sweet–flavors that are very satisfying in this very chilly weather. This recipe is a combination of soup and salad: you start with a fragrant broth that’s composed of many elements and then layer in the vegetables and protein. Though it has a lot of ingredients, this dish is really simple to prepare–your best strategy is to prep everything first and then go to it. Shrimp, scallops, squid are cooked gently in the soup and then it’s served over a bed of rice noodles. Dole the hot pot out in large bowls with extra garnishes of cucumbers, scallions, fresh herbs, salted peanuts, and lots of fresh lime juice for everyone to customize their own dish…

Thai Seafood Hot Pot

Start building the flavor base of the broth by sautéing thinly sliced shallots and smashed garlic cloves in a neutral vegetable oil until translucent. Add chicken stock: in this case, I used my own homemade, but low sodium store-bought works well too.

Pour in lite coconut milk for richness, sliced chiles for heat (adjust to your taste), rice vinegar and fish sauce to add an acid/sour component, bunches of cilantro and basil leaves, and a bit of sugar to round out the sweetness.

To that, I add chunks of peeled ginger and lemongrass stalks that I’ve gently bruised with the side of my chef knife, and kaffir lime leaves that have been torn to release their essence. If you can’t find kaffir lime leaves, lime zest will do. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavors together.

Using a strainer, remove the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and herbs.

Add diced plum tomatoes and, instead of using the usual can of straw mushrooms this time, I opted for small, fresh shiitake mushrooms that I stemmed and quartered.

Before you begin to add the seafood to the broth, be sure to have a pot of boiling water ready for the rice noodles. They only take a couple of minutes to cook–I was able to find fresh rice noodles at my local Asian market today, which actually cook in a matter of seconds. But if you can’t find these, dried rice sticks will work well too. Cook them and drain right away.


The seafood also only takes a couple of minutes to cook–be careful not to overdo it. Add the shrimp and sea scallops; cook for two minutes. Add the squid rings and the juice of large lime; cook for one more minute then remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning: add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and more lime juice, if necessary.

Ladle the steaming soup over the rice noodles in big bowls to serve–put out bowls of julienned cucumber, sliced scallions, cilantro, basil and mint leaves, chopped salted peanuts, and lime wedges as accompaniments. Mmmm, warms your soul…

Serves 4:

1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
6 cups chicken stock, homemade or low sodium store-bought
1 cup lite coconut milk
2-3 long red hot chile peppers, sliced thinly
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons asian fish sauce
handful each of cilantro and basil leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
2-1 inch pieces of ginger, peeled and bruised
2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 1 inch lengths, bruised
6 kaffir lime leaves, torn; or the zest from 2 limes
4 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 pound shiitake mushroom caps, quartered
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled
1/2 pound sea scallops, halved crosswise
1/2 pound cleaned squid, cut into rings
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

8 ounces rice stick noodles

1/2 seedless cucumber, julienned
4 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
cilantro leaves
basil leaves
mint leaves
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges


2 thoughts on “thai one on

  1. Pennie

    Thanks Eden! Actually got the Kaffir lime leaves at Whole Foods–they don’t always have them, but I grab them when I see them because they can last for a while in my fridge…