There are about 50 asian soups in my epicurious queue (most of them with coconut milk). They are fun to make, because they involve lots of preparation but are very difficult to mess up, so I get to really enjoy the cooking and not freak out that I'm going to have spent all that time on an inedible dish. Plus, I love me some asian flavors (you could say I am "Cravin' Asian), and I essentially cannot obtain them in champaign. Tonight's feature was Vietnamese Chicken and Pineapple Soup:
I'm half-spoon deep into my second bowl right now, and let me tell you, this is the kind of soup that makes your nose run and your whole body explode into condensation from the 4 jalepeno peppers (seeds included.) Apparently jalapenos are a less spicy alternative to the thai chiles this soup would properly be made with in Vietnam, but I'm glad I didn't go out of my way to obtain them; I'd be in agony now.
This is also the kind of soup that serves as a good reminder that really well flavored, but nutritious, food can be just as delectable as the bland, over-salted fat-fests that populate our American "cuisine." There are 4 tblspns of oil in the whole pot of this soup, which serves six. Other than that, its ingredients are all pretty good-for-you: fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and some skinless chicken breast.
The taste is phenomenal; good enough for me to eat two bowls even though I usually steer away from spicy food. I think it's the broth that really makes this soup fantastic: It's a pineapple broth with fish sauce, so you get sweet and salty right there together. Then you got all kinds of nice chunks of pineapple, chicken, and vegetables (shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, tomatoes) to enjoy like the treats in the crackerjack box (in this metaphor, the broth is the cracker jack, which is possibly a poor similitude because cracker jack is nasty and this broth is awesome) and fill you up while you're gulping down the broth.
I almost never make soups twice, because there are so many great ones to try, but I will be looking forward to the 3.5 portions of this I am going to freeze.