Written by Vaishali Chandrashekar
Asparagus: The Gift of Spring
I wait eagerly for Spring, not just for the warmer temperatures, singing birds and color all around, but also because it is asparagus season! Yay!
I had never tasted asparagus while I was growing up in India. But once I did, it was love at first bite. Its unique nutty taste, bright green color, and crunchy texture are some of the reasons why I absolutely love it. The fact that it is full of health boosting vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber is just the icing on the cake.
I find many ways to include it in my daily diet. I grill it and add to salads and pasta dishes, roast it with other veggies, stir fry it with ginger garlic and spring onions, steam it just a little bit and eat with a dip.
One of my favorite things to cook with it is the Chopped Asparagus Coconut Soup. This light and wonderful soup has been one of the student favorites from my cooking classes. I absolutely love it and my mouth is already watering as I share this recipe with you.
Chopped Asparagus Coconut Soup (Serves 6)
- 1 lb asparagus, washed and trimmed to remove the hard bottoms: about 2 inch and then chopped in ½ inch pieces. Keep the top spears whole.
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 1 lemongrass stalk, cut in small pieces
- 1 hot Thai green chili, optional for heat
- 3 cups frozen shredded coconut – available at Indian stores in many brands. I like “Daily delight”. You can substitute this with 1 cup of coconut milk.
- 5 cups hot water
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a blender, add ginger, lemon grass, chili, coconut and hot water. Blend on high speed till everything is pureed. Now, strain out the mixture using a strainer. Make sure you squeeze all the liquid out by pressing with the back of a ladle. Keep this aside.*
In a soup pot, add chopped asparagus, ¼ cup of water and some salt . Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until the asparagus is cooked but still has a bite. Reduce the heat to low and add the extracted coconut/lemongrass liquid. Heat the soup through on low heat. Taste and some salt and pepper if required. Shut the heat off and add the lime juice. Serve immediately in soup bowls.
*Note: If using coconut milk, just blend well lemongrass stalk and ginger with 2 cups of water. Then strain the liquid out and add coconut milk and 2 more cups of water to make the soup base.
Vaishali Chandrashekar is a former architect, spiritual advisor, holistic health coach and founder of Cook Consciously with Vaishali, a cooking school in Short Hills, New Jersey, where she shares globally- inspired, creative and healthy recipes, teaches clever techniques that will make cooking easy and stress-free, and most importantly, helps her clients cultivate a true passion for health and cooking.