Choosing the right flavors and replacing the regular milk with coconut milk helps turn a traditional wet weather chowder into a Coconut and Asian-Spiced Fish Chowder.
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil (may substitute vegetable oil)
- 1 yellow onion (peeled, halved, and thinly sliced)
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- kosher salt (as needed for seasoning)
- 3 cup fish stock (may substitute clam juice)
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves (may substitute 2 teaspoon lime zest)
- 1 (1‑inch) piece fresh ginger (peeled and julienned)
- 6 ounce baby potatoes (cut into ½‑inch pieces)
- 2 celery ribs (thinly sliced on the bias)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ pound green beans (trimmed and cut into bite size pieces)
- 1 pound firm white fish (such as halibut or cod, cut into 1‑inch chunks)
- 2 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- cilantro (as needed for garnish)
- shredded unsweetened dried coconut flakes (as needed for garnish)
- thinly sliced Thai bird chile (as needed for garnish, optional)
Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and a big pinch salt; cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add fish stock, kaffir leaves (or zest), and ginger. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes.
Add baby potatoes, celery, and bay leaf to the simmering stock and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk. Bring the broth back to a simmer then add green beans and cook 1 to 2 minutes (depending on how crisp you like them). Add the fish, continue to simmer without stirring until the fish is just cooked through and the green beans are tender-crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes depending on thickness.
Stir in fish sauce and sugar. Discard the kaffir and bay leaves. Ladle the soup into bowls; garnish with cilantro, shredded coconut and chile slices (if using).