Thai Noodle Soup

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I love making food that I would happily pay tons of money for in a restaurant, and this fits that bill: flavorful, gorgeous, seems complicated (but isn’t). One day I’ll graduate to making my own curry paste, but for now, I just use store bought curry paste and it works like a dream. I use way more curry paste than some recipes call for, because I like a balance where the curry is stronger than the coconut milk flavor. If that’s not you, or you’re shocked and appalled by the idea of using the entire 4oz container of curry paste for one meal, then go with roughly 3 tablespoons of curry paste and I’m sure it would still be good………..maybe……….can’t vouch for you.

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

  • 4 oz Thai red curry paste (usually the whole container)
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemongrass paste (optional)
  • 3 thai chili peppers, diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk
  • 8-10oz Vermicelli or Japanese somen noodles*
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Fresh basil, torn (for garnish)
  • Fresh cilantro, torn (for garnish)
  • Green onions, chopped (for garnish)

Preparation:

First, cook your chicken. I like to boil the chicken breasts (submerge in a pot with water) till they are almost cooked. This usually takes about 15ish minutes at a low simmer. I do this so I can shred the chicken into the soup, but if you prefer just chunks of chicken, you do you and cook in the skillet before you start your soup. If you want to go the shred route, cook according to instructions above while you get started on everything else. Set aside till cool enough to handle. Chicken dries out once shredded if not immediately submerged back into liquid, so I recommend timing this so that your broth is coming along by the time you add your shredded chicken into the pot.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3-4 minutes or until the onion starts to turn translucent. Careful not to burn the garlic.

Stir in ginger, chili peppers, lemongrass (if using), and red curry paste – be bold! Use that whole container! Allow to cook until fragrant, roughly 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth, and coconut milk, stir to combine. Add the shredded chicken and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for another 10 minutes.

Separately, in a different pot, cook your rice or wheat noodles according to the package instructions (usually 3 minutes in boiling water) and then drain and rinse with cold water to stop their cooking. I do *not* recommend you add the noodles directly to the broth to cook, because they will absolutely overcook. Instead, by cooking separately and setting aside, you can add noodles to each bowl individually and then ladle hot soup on top. The hot soup will reheat the noodles instantly and your noodles will be exactly the right amount of done every time, for every person, including for any leftovers the next day.

When your noodles are ready, stir the fish sauce and brown sugar into the soup broth and allow to cook for a final 5 minutes to let the flavors meld. Taste, and add any salt/pepper to bring to your perfect level of seasoning.

Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice. Serve in bowls with noodles, broth, and fresh basil, cilantro, and green onions for garnish.

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*Regarding noodles: this recipe would be ideal with any kind of really thin rice or wheat flour noodle. Rice noodles like vermicelli would be fitting, or a Japanese thin noodle like somen noodles. In a pinch, you could use ramen noodles. I do not recommend wide cut rice noodles or fatter noodles like udon. I also don’t recommend buckwheat noodles like soba, though I’m sure it wouldn’t be BAD. I went with somen noodles because the store was out of rice noodles, but I think you can’t go wrong as long as you cook them separately so they don’t get super soggy and overcooked in the broth.

This recipe adapted from Damn Delicious’ Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup.

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