Belize is my kind of place: White sand, blue water, rum punch, lime soup.
Have you been? I went with my best friend Elissa and our mutual friend Rob back in 2007. We left a few days after Christmas and stayed through the New Year.
This was back when John and I had just started dating. I remember he put a bunch of songs on my iPod before the trip (basically the 2007 equivalent of a mix tape – so sweet!). Now every time I hear Phantom Limb by The Shins I think of John and Belize and flaming Dr. Peppers.
Flaming Dr. Peppers?! I know what you’re thinking: Does anyone who is not a freshman in college even drink those? Usually, no. But it was New Years in Belize, and so Elissa and I ordered a round.
Apparently they do things differently in Belize, because instead of handing us a shot on fire and a half-mug of beer, the bartenders just handed us two shots on fire.
Next thing I knew my fingers were burning.
And then my skirt was smoking.
We stuck to rum punch after that :)
One of my favorite things to order in Belize was the lime soup. Although it was a little different every time I ordered it, it was always a brothy soup with chicken and vegetables. And a lot of lime, of course. The strong lime flavor reminded me of my favorite Thai Soup, Tom Yum.
So this soup is a riff on both of those. You start with ginger, garlic, Serrano pepper and shallots and then add tomatoes, chicken stock, mushrooms and lime juice. Then yellow curry and coconut milk. Instead of chicken as in Belize, I use shrimp and scallops, and finish with cilantro. You can serve it as is, or with rice noodles.
This soup is easy enough to make any night of the week. It’s also perfect — spicy, soothing and warm — if you happen to have a cold, as Jack and I have had this week. Guaranteed: This Lime Soup with a Thai Twist will cure whatever ails ya! Hangover included :)
Lime Soup with a Thai Twist
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (use a microplane for best results)
2 shallots, sliced into thin rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Serrano pepper, sliced thin
1/2 box (about 13 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Juice of 6 limes (about 1/2 cup)
8 cups chicken stock, homemade if possible
1 box (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk (regular or lite)
Salt, for seasoning
1 lb. medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 lb. scallops
Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the ginger, shallots, garlic, and Serrano. Start with just 1/2 of the Serrano — the whole thing may be too spicy.
Cook everything for about 3 or 4 minutes, just until barely golden. Your house will start to smell wonderful!
For the tomatoes, I use Pomi boxed chopped tomatoes — to avoid the BPA in the liner of metal cans. Pour in the tomatoes, and stir.
Then add the lime juice, chicken stock, mushrooms, curry and coconut milk. Season with salt; the amount you use will depend on the amount of salt, if any, already in your chicken stock and tomatoes. Give everything a stir and then simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
Add shrimp and scallops. Cook over low heat until shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes. Add cilantro, and serve.
Garnish with additional lime and cilantro, if desired. Add rice noodles (cooked al dente) in individual bowls just before serving.