On a backpacking trip across Southeast Asia in 2017, Liz Kenyon watched her homestay host in Myanmar’s hilly Shan State cook up warming turmeric soup over bare coals in a hole in the middle of their living space . Shortly after, on the streets of Mandalay, she and her husband noticed food carts setting up as the prayer went out. The cooks prepared chicken curry, dosas and this same turmeric soup.
Kenyon remembers being smitten with these flavorful bowls, rich in coconut milk and loaded with toppings. “It’s not spicy, some people eat it for breakfast. Many children eat it too.
Today, she’s the executive chef of Manolin, with its Latin-meets-Northwest menu. She also runs the in-house pandemic spinoff bagel shop, Old Salt. The culinary lessons from this backpacking trip proved surprisingly life-saving when her bosses also assigned her to run Rupee Bar, a jewel-toned dining room in Ballard inspired by the flavors of Sri Lanka. But this soup, she keeps it for herself.
For her weekly at-home meal prep, “I’ll prep my veggies on a griddle, roast a chicken, and prep my soup base,” Kenyon says. It can absorb just about any ingredient left in the fridge or in the garden. “And it takes, no kidding, like 10 minutes.”
- A splash neutral oil, such as avocado, coconut, or grapeseed
- Onionor 6 shallots
- Garlic6 cloves, thinly sliced
- Grated ginger1 teaspoon
- Cumin powder1 teaspoon
- Coriander1 teaspoon
- Turmeric (fresh or powdered), 2 tsp
- Cayenne (any chili powder works), 1 tsp
- Chicken or vegetable broth1 pint
- Any spicy or garlic sausage2 links, sliced into rings
- Coconut milk1 box
- Garnish(es)see below
Kenyon also likes to add fish, shrimp, silken tofu, shredded chicken (“Thanks, Costco!”), to crush, potatoes, ChickpeasWhere braise the greens. “Really, that’s all I have around.” Usually one cup is enough.
Serve it with:
RiceKenyon generally makes a medium grain pot, or Noodles: egg, wheat, even fresh udon
- If you are making riceprepare it first (if you go the noodle route, the preparation is done at the end).
- Julienne the onionor simply cut into thin strips.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot, such as a Staub or Le Creuset. Lower the heat and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes until they are “sweaty” but not browned.
- Add sausage slices, garlic and ginger. Increase the heat to medium and let them caramelize.
- Next, add all the spices. Let them grill on the surface of the pan for about 30 seconds. If you add other proteins, braise greens or produce, now is the time to add them.
- Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- To get it over with the cococonut milk. Stir it up saucepan until the ingredients are hot.
- Turn off the heat. If you are serving the soup with noodles, the soup base may remain while the noodles cook. When everything is ready, serve the soup over your cooked rice or noodles.
- Garnish with everything you want.
- something pickled
- chopped cashews (any nuts or seeds will do)
- Green vegetableslike cabbage or bibb lettuce
- Crunchy shallots (bought in store)
- Chilli crisp
- fresh herbssuch as cilantro, basil, parsley or chives
- Lime wedges
Kenyon’s husband Nathan owns a local sausage supplier Cascadia Meats. Which means a ready supply of chicken broth and links in his freezer. She loves the Cascadia French Garlic Sausage in this soup. Find them at Seattle farmers markets or on a bun at select Seahawks home games.