Date July 9, 2018
Edmonton, Alberta

This is my rhubarb plant. That’s it! The whole thing. One plant, tucked in the corner of my tiny garden. It provides me all the rhubarb I need, and sometimes more than I want. Easy to grow, prolific and tough, even in our northern climate. What to do with this plant (vegetable? fruit? weed?). There is only so much rhubarb pie, rhubarb relish, rhubarb muffins, and stewed rhubarb compote that we can or want to eat. Since this is a soup blog, the challenge was to make a soup out of this strange but familiar plant. My thinking is that rhubarb is tart, like lemons, and crisp, like celery, so it should be easy peasy to make something tasty. I found a recipe on line for a Thai Carrot Rhubarb Soup: http://www.laurieconstantino.com/recipe-index/thai-carrot-rhubarb-soup/ and I made a few changes to suit my taste and available ingredients. So here goes…..

Thai Rhubarb Soup
Ingredients:
2 cups diced onions, 1/2” dice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces carrots (1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed
2 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
¼ tsp. dried hot peppers
1 cup coarsely chopped rhubarb stalks (never eat the leaves!)
2 cups broth (I used turkey broth made post-Christmas from turkey scraps and bones)
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce or to taste
Garnish: fresh cilantro and  chopped sweet red pepper

Directions:
Sauté onions in olive oil until soft and golden. Stir in salt, carrots, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander and dried hot peppers until ingredients are coated with oil. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in rhubarb, broth, coconut milk, and lime juice. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Once cooled a bit, blend in batches in a blender until smooth. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro and chopped sweet pepper.

The soup definitely had a Thai flavor but the rhubarb was a bit lost in the strong flavors of cilantro, cumin and hot red peppers. I would have liked this better with a dollop of sour cream or mellowed out a bit with cream, but that wouldn’t be authentic Thai (no dairy products in Thai cuisine). I tried it cold a day later, with sour cream, and that was delicious! I suspect this soup would taste pretty much the same without the rhubarb. So I guess we are back to making the old standby pie, relish, muffins and compote with our rhubarb bounty!

Our personal rating of Thai Rhubarb Soup: B-

Atticus tentatively sampling a stalk of rhubarb (he didn’t like it).

Dave’s comments: Cilantro is highly overrated.
Marke gets the last word: Wha? Our next soup is going to be Cream of Cilantro!