Sayur Bening Bayam (Indonesian Spinach, Carrot, and Tomato Soup)
1 tbsp coconut oil 2 shallots, chopped 1.5 cups chicken broth 1.5 cups beef broth 3 cups water, more if needed 2” galangal or ginger, peeled, sliced and crushed, wrapped in cheesecloth or put in a tea ball 1 lb carrots, coarsely chopped 1 lb tomatoes, coarsely chopped 1 lb spinach, washed and coarsely chopped 2 tsp fish sauce salt and white pepper to taste
1. In a stockpot or saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat, then add the shallots. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the broth, water, and galangal. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer until fragrant, about 6 minutes.
2. Add the carrots and cook until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the galangal. Add the tomatoes and return to a simmer, then add the spinach; remove from heat once the spinach is bright green. Add the fish sauce and season with salt and white pepper to taste, then serve.
** The more common variation of this dish includes sweet corn, and is called Sayur Bening Bayam Jagung; since we don’t eat corn very often in our house, we opted to leave it out. If you’d like to try it with corn, break 2 ears of corn into 4 parts each, then add them to soup when you add the carrots.
** Traditionally, this dish uses fingerroot, a root similar to ginger but hard to find outside of Asia. Fresh galangal or ginger are fair substitutes, and if you don’t have fresh roots to work with, 1/2 tsp ground ginger will work in a pinch.
** For some extra protein, you can turn this into an egg drop soup. To do so, beat 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk together, then add them as you add the spinach. They will be fully cooked at about the same time it takes to cook the spinach.