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Curry paste seasons easy soup

Curries concocted from whole spices, as well as pastes and powders, seasoned this week’s food section.

Despite the large selection of spices I have on hand, curry pastes enjoy staple status in my pantry. Like so many cooks, I attest the results are almost as flavorful as compounding the whole ingredients — for virtually no investment of time.

For that and other reasons, cooks shouldn’t confine store-bought pastes to curries as such. Chicken fried rice with green curry paste numbered among the recipes with this week’s spread (see the e-edition).

In that vein, I’d advocate for this soup, courtesy of Tribune News Service. Thinner in body than actual curry, it’s meant to sip on its own, instead of serving over rice.

Green Curry Soup With Black Beans

Tribune News Service photo

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced

1 tablespoon peeled and finely minced, fresh ginger

1 cup small broccoli florets

1 cup yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup orange bell pepper, cored thinly sliced

1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

2 1/2 tablespoons green curry paste, store bought

Kosher salt, to taste

2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Cilantro for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Saute the garlic and ginger in oil until fragrant, for about 1 minute.

Add the broccoli, yellow and red pepper slices, the coconut milk, curry paste and 2 cups water. Add salt to taste. Stir together and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the black beans and let it all simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the lime juice, stir and turn off heat. Garnish with the cilantro, if desired.

Makes 5 servings.