Thai Vegetable Soup

1 Tablespoon Peanut or Sesame Oil

1 Tablespoon Finely Minced Jalapeno

1 Tablespoon Finely Minced Garlic

1 Tablespoon Finely Minced Ginger

1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, Sliced into 1-Inch Batons

1/4 Cup Jicama, Peeled and Sliced into 1-Inch Batons

1/4 Cup Carrot, Peeled and Sliced into 1-Inch Batons

1/2 Cup Sliced Button Mushrooms

1 14-Ounce Cans Diced Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Lemongrass, Finely Chopped and Bruised

3 - 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves (Optional)

1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

3 - 4 Cups Vegetable Stock

1/2 Cup Snow Peas

1/2 Cup String Beans, Cut into 1-Inch Pieces

1/2 Cup Frozen Peas

1/2 Cup Asparagus, Cut into 1-Inch Pieces

Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to Taste

2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint, Roughly Torn or Chopped

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat before adding in the jalapeno, ginger, and garlic. Saute for 4 - 5 minutes, until highly aromatic. Add in the sliced pepper, jicama, carrot, and mushrooms, and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes until very lightly browned. Pour in the can of tomatoes, liquid and all, and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze the delicious brown bits that may be sticking.

Bundle up the bashed lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, if using, in a tea bag. Drop it into the stock pot along with the lime juice and 3 cups of the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the soup simmer gently for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender but still crisp. Toss in the snow peas, string beans, frozen peas (no need to thaw) and asparagus, stirring to incorporate. Cook for just 2 minutes, until the newest vegetable additions are bright green.

Give the soup a taste, and add the final cup of stock if desired, and salt and pepper as needed. Remove and discard the tea bag full of aromatics. Top off with fresh mint and serve immediately.

Makes 3 - 4 Servings

©Hannah Kaminsky