The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 01.29.03


Simple Thai soup for cold weather fueling

Cold weather makes me hungry -- very hungry. I'm not sure why this phenomenon plagues me but I am sure I am not alone.

This week's chills have done nothing to curb my appetite and by ten o'clock every morning I am famished. Fortunately for most Canadians, there is no shortage of good tummy warming solutions to this by-product of our unfortunate climate

I believe that Pascal had it right when he when he deduced that fuel can and does produce heat. His formula is simple. Food is fuel, fuel produces energy, and energy produces heat. This simple theory evolved to produce measurement and we can now be thankful for the ability to count what are known as calories. (Dr. Joe Schwarcz, if you are reading this forgive me for any incomplete or misinformation)

So…want to keep warm? Load up on the calories. I know that nutritionists are quite correct, as they will tell you that it's the right kind of calories that we require to keep warm and I'll succumb to their expertise.

However, have you ever seen a skinny polar bear or whale?

What Canadians are really, really proud of is our ability to discuss matters of great importance around the water cooler at work. In my experience, the two most common office discussions are weather and food. (OK, raises are in there, too.)

Conversations generally go like this:

' "How's it going eh?"


"Some cold today, what you havin' for dinner tonight?"

You get the picture

In an effort to warm you up, I'll share a recipe for a steamy Thai soup that I made at home this week as the outside temperature hovered at minus thirty. It took me all of twenty minutes to prepare as I made use of ingredients available at any local grocery store. Thankfully, chain food retailers have come of age and most have a decent ethnic food section


I small can Thai curry paste (green or red)
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth
I can coconut milk (not sweetened!)
I whole boneless and skinless chicken breast - cubed
1/2 pound of fresh or frozen shrimp
3 green onions chopped
1 handful of fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)- rinsed and chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen oriental stir-fry vegetables (available in freezer section)

Heat a wok or soup pot with a little oil over medium and brown chicken slightly. Add curry paste to coat chicken.

Add coconut milk, broth and simmer three minutes. Add vegetables, shrimp and cook until shrimp and veggies are just cooked through.

Stir in cilantro and green onion just prior to serving.

Serves four easily.