4 - 5 servings
Hot, slightly sweet, slightly sour, this is about as refreshing as a hot soup can be. It’s a good last-minute-ish dish that can be made in less than an hour, requiring very little simmering beyond the initial sweating of the onion, garlic, and chili paste.
• For the chili paste, I use Lee Kum Kee Chili Black Bean Sauce. You can use any Chinese type; there are many to choose from.
• The fresh pineapple needs to be cut ahead of time so it can express its wonderful juices (all of which will become part of the soup). One medium pineapple should yield the 2 cups you’ll need for this recipe. Be sure to remove all the skin, so there will be nothing sharp remaining on the fruit . In a pinch, you could just open a can of pineapple chunks (packed in juice, not syrup). No need to drain – just dump in the entire contents.
• Don’t cook the vegetables all-the-way soft. Retaining a slight crunch makes all the difference.
• Thai basil is ideal, but regular basil works just fine. Since bunches of Thai basil tend to be smaller than those of regular basil, you can increase to two bunches if using Thai.