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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Banana Lemongrass Soup

One of my favorite parts of eating out is trying to figure out how to make the recipes at home. Not in that weird kind of secret restaurant recipes kind of way where you make Taco Bell Bean Burritos, because I don't really get that at all. Mine is more like I am only going to get to eat at this restaurant once this year, so I better figure this out if I ever want to eat it again. I admit it is a lot easier now that every recipe you can imagine is posted on the internet.
As soon as I saw Banana Lemongrass Soup on the menu at Ginger in Anchorage I knew it was one I was going  to want to make myself. You don't often see banana in savory dishes, and lemongrass is one of those ingredients I can't readily get my hands on, so I always appreciate it when I have access.
Both at Ginger and in this recipe I loved the depth of flavor in this soup. At Ginger they serve it with little bits of crab and eggplant to give it some texture. I just made mine a simple puree. If I wasgoing to have it as  a meal type soup, I might finely dice a little tofu and add it in. I rarely make soups that require straining and I was hoping I would have to strain this one, but the lemongrass just made the texture too stringy. If you have more experience with lemongrass than I do I would love to hear your suggestions for getting it a little more smooth.

Banana Lemongrass Soup
Inspired by Ginger in Anchorage and adapted from here

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup very ripe bananas, diced
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
1 cup leeks, white and pale green parts, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoon fresh lemongrass, inside white part chopped and pureed in a food processor
1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek, or other hot chili sauce
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 cup fresh squeezedorange juice
3 1/2 cups  vegetable stock
1 (14 ounce) can  unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add bananas and saute about 4 minutes or until starting to brown.
Next add the onion, leeks, celery, carrots, garlic, lemongrass, and chili paste. Saute another 10 minutes or until vegetables start to brown.
Add the cumin powder and reduce heat to medium, sauteing the mixture another 2 minutes. Now add the orange juice, reduce heat to low and simmer 2 minutes.
Add stock, still simmering until the vegetables are tender, about 10 more minutes.
Using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk, and strain through a fine mesh seive. Return to saucepan simmering over medium heat until heated through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with chopped cilantro.


  1. As an aside, not only is your writing and recipes fabulous enough on their own, these pictures are always sooo wonderful: almost enough to make me want to lick the new monitor. (Eww.)
    Forget 3D, what we need here is scratch & sniff technology!

  2. The last time you commented you were drooling on your I-Phone. Sounds like my blog is causing some serious abuse to your electronics. Maybe I should add a disclaimer!

  3. I think I ought to know are friends with Christie Shell and she is one of my most favorite people in the whole world. Do I already know you? My husband and I run a small CSA called DogWood Gardens. Nice to meet you and thanks for the beautiful banana soup. I'm supposed to be in the Philippines right now and we had to cancel/postone our trip and I'm really bummed to be stuck in Fairbanks right now. Anyway, I will visit your blog more often!

  4. I'm not sure if we already know each other. I used to work at the Alaska Bird Observatory and met Christie through Tricia who also worked there. I also had a CSA with Calypso for a while and have done some volunteer work with them as well. Christie is always super friendly when I see her, so I feel like I know her better than I actually do.
    Did you make the banana soup? If so, where did you find lemongrass in Fairbanks? I picked mine up at New Sagaya in Anchorage. I'm sorry you had to cancel your trip. It sure has been a hard winter here. Glad you stopped by the blog. I'd love to hear how things turn out if you make something.

  5. Fred's has a large assortment of organic herbs. It was nice soup and I took it to our home church group tonight and many people loved it too! I didn't strain it but I like the little bits and fiber. I did change up a few things in the recipe. I added sweet chili sauce as my fam doesn't like hot spicy food like I do. I also used chicken broth rather than veggie broth. Anyway, again thanks and I look forward to meeting you soon...

  6. This sounds like a lovely flavour combination, and I love your photos!

  7. So much better than I expected! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Strikingly similar to this:

    1. Yes, under the recipe title you will find this link. It is indeed where the recipe came from. I made some small changes to the technique to produce a smoother soup more like the one at Ginger in Anchorage.

  9. You can't or at least shouldn't blend lemongrass, pull it out just prior to blending. We just went to ginger & had their is it delish! We just PCS'd so I'm glad you adapted the recipe


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