1.13.15 Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup
It’s been one cold week, and in addition to that, I’m facing that sort of scratchy throat feeling that pretty much always means a cold is on the way. In this sort of situation, one of the best things to be done, besides drinking a few too many of these (with or without a generous pour of brandy), is to cook up a big, warming pot of soup. We all know that when one isn’t feeling one’s best, chicken noodle is generally the soup of choice. And while I’ve got nothing against this old standby, sometimes it’s also nice to change things up a bit.
The inspiration for this particular soup is the Khao Soi I had at Sujeo last month. I ordered it on a whim, and shortly thereafter, found myself unable to stop thinking about it. The rich, spicy, coconut red curry broth, chicken, noodles, and loads of toppings (and we know how I feel about toppings) - it was basically perfection in a bowl. The more I thought about it and craved it, the more I knew I needed to try to recreate something similar at home. You know, so I could have some whenever I felt like it.
I did some research to find that Khao Soi is a dish from Northern Thailand, made by cooking a curry paste in coconut milk to form a broth, and then adding noodles (usually both boiled and fried noodles) and meat such as chicken. It seemed slightly complicated, and in the interest of getting said soup into my belly as quickly as possible, I devised a slightly less complicated version. Sure, you still need to make a curry paste, but it only takes about 20 seconds in the food processor. Also, I opted for light coconut milk instead of the full fat variety, simply because it made the dish seem less overly heavy (read - you can eat way more before being overpowered by the richness of the broth). And, well, who has time to fry noodles? I just went with regular boiled noodles, and saved myself the trouble. The result may not be exactly authentic, but it is one big bowl of pure deliciousness. Not to mention, it’s ready to eat in about 30 minutes. Sounds pretty good to me.
Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup
This soup is an easy way to use up any leftovers from that chicken you roasted last weekend. If you don’t have any leftover chicken on hand, simply roast a couple of chicken thighs, and you’re good to go. The noodles I used here are thin dried egg noodles you can easily find at any Asian market.
- ½ cup cilantro leaves with stems, loosely packed
- ¼ cup water
- 1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 ½ Tbsp ancho chile powder (or other milder chile powder)
- ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 thai chile, roughly chopped (optional)
- 1 Tbsp canola or peanut oil
- 1 14 oz can light coconut milk
- 1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- ¼ tsp salt (or more to taste)
- 1 cup cooked chicken (preferably dark meat), shredded
- 3-4 oz thin dried chinese egg noodles (or in a pinch, sub angel hair pasta)
- fresh cilantro, thai basil, thinly sliced shallot, sliced thai chile, chile oil, and lime wedges for serving
1. In a food processor, combine the cilantro, water, shallot, garlic, ginger, chile powder, cumin, turmeric, and thai chile (if using). Process until a paste is formed.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the paste you made in step one, and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, lime juice, fish sauce, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
4. Add the chicken and dried noodles, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are cooked.
5. Divide soup between bowls and top with fresh cilantro, thai basil, sliced shallot, sliced chiles, a drizzle of chile oil, and a lime wedge. Serve immediately.