Thai Shrimp Bisque

The bitter cold Winter continues, making most nights perfect soup nights.  Yesterday I bought twice the shrimp I needed so some kind of shrimp soup was a foregone conclusion.  And what’s better than bisque?  Not much.  Throw in some lime juice and cilantro and you’ve got a winner.

Only a couple of notes on this.  If you use regular coconut milk instead of lite you can cut the flour by half to two-thirds.  I used a little too much flour and the texture is more like chowder than bisque.  Be sure to limit the marinating time to the 30 minutes in the directions.  Lime juice “cooks” the seafood so if you leave it longer than that your shrimp may be rubbery by the end.  Also, I recommend cutting the shrimp into bite sized pieces.  Expecting that you’ll be able to use a spoon to cut a shrimp in a bowl of bisque is just asking for disaster.  The only thing more irritating to me as a diner is when someone leaves the tail on the shrimp in a soup bowl as well.  Maybe it’s just me.

Don’t be intimidated by the recipe.  The list of ingredients looks long, but it’s mostly standard stuff and there are a lot of repeats.  If you like a little more kick add a diced chile to the onions and celery when you saute them or just add more red pepper.

This is a rich soup so it would be good in small portions as a first course.  It’s also great as an entrée with crusty bread. If you want to bulk it up some leave out the flour entirely for a thinner broth and add some cooked rice noodles instead.

Good? Definitely.
Easy? Let’s go with intermediate.
Good for company? Definitely.
Special shopping? Just the coconut milk.

Thai Shrimp Bisque



  • 1 1/2  pounds  medium shrimp
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  grated lime rind
  • 1/3  cup  fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  ground coriander
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh cilantro
  • 1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, crushed
  • Shrimp stock:

  • 2  cups  water
  • 1/4  cup  dry white wine
  • 1  tablespoon  tomato paste
  • Soup:

  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1/2  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/3  cup  chopped celery
  • 1  (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1  tablespoon  tomato paste
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1  cup  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1  tablespoon  grated lime rind
  • 1  tablespoon  minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • Preparation

    To prepare marinade, peel shrimp, reserving shells. Combine shrimp and next 8 ingredients (shrimp though garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

    To prepare the shrimp stock, combine the reserved shrimp shells, water, wine and 1 tablespoon tomato paste in a large Dutch oven. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup (about 10 minutes). Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, and discard solids.

    To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Add 1 cup shrimp stock, coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and reduced-fat milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to pan; reduce heat, and simmer until thick (about 5 minutes). Add shrimp and marinade, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime rind, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and salt.


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