This is a very elegant soup that is prepared with fresh coconut milk. Coconut milk is quite simple to make and a welcomed addition to a particularly fragrant soup. When you smell the broth cooking you will be very glad it doesn't take long to cook.
Coconut Soup with Mushrooms
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut
5 cups of boiling water
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
2 trimmed pieces of lemon grass
2 - 3 tablespoons of tamari sauce
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1/2 cup - 2/3 cup of dried wild mushrooms
2/3 cup of button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh oyster mushrooms, chopped
juice from one small lemon
fresh coriander or parsley for garnishing
Soak the dried mushrooms in a small bowl of hot water for 15 - 20 minutes. Reserve the soaking liquid, squeeze out excess liquid from the soaked mushrooms and chop. Set aside.
Place the coconut in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave to cool. You can puree the mixture with a hand mixer or blender if desired. Press the coconut through a sieve, taking care to extract as much coconut milk as possible. You should have roughly 4 cups of coconut milk.
In a large saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a boil along with the lemon grass stalks, minced ginger, sugar and tamari sauce. Reduce the heat, simmer, and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Now add the mushrooms, along with a few tablespoons of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, bring to a boil and then simmer for a few more minutes. Remove the lemon grass stalks, add the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. Garnish with coriander or parsley leaves.