Warm Curry & Winter Sangria

by Chef Golda Ewalt

This spicy and fragrant soup is a favorite of mine! Many of the ingredients—such as fish sauce, red curry paste and lemongrass—can be found at the Asian Market on University Street in Peoria. Fish sauce has an overpowering aroma, but when used judiciously, adds a massive burst of umami flavor to dishes like this curry soup. (If you are unfamiliar with fish sauce, Red Boat is my favorite brand.)

Thai Massaman Curry

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, sliced into thin coin shapes
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
cup red curry paste
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick 
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 5 pieces
1 can (14oz) coconut milk
3 cups water
1 pound chicken, boneless and skinless, diced or extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Cooked rice for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, celery and red pepper and sweat until aromatic and softened, about 10 minutes. Add the curry paste and turmeric and stir to coat the vegetables in the paste. Once incorporated, toss in the star anise, cinnamon and lemongrass. Stir in the coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. 
  2.  Add the chicken or tofu. Salt and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes longer.
  3. Remove the star anise, cinnamon stick and lemongrass and discard. Stir the fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar into the curry, then adjust the seasoning with salt and more lime juice to suit your taste. Serve with rice.

Winter Fruit Sangria
This sangria is great for a crowd and can be made ahead of time to make any party or celebration special. Any citrus fruits, such as grapefruit and lemons, can also be added to this festive sangria. 

1 cup brandy
½ cup sugar
1 cup seedless red or green grapes, sliced in half
1 orange, ends cut off, thinly sliced
1 apple, halved and thinly sliced
2 bottles well-chilled dry red wine
1 cup club soda
¾ cup fresh orange juice


  1. In a punch bowl or large pitcher, stir together the brandy, sugar, grapes, orange and apple slices. Let stand 15 minutes. 
  2. Add wine, club soda and orange juice. Serve over ice. Be sure to include some fruit in each glass. a&s