Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I have been making a lot of soup lately. It happens to be a great thing to blog, because the light in my kitchen cooperates better in the early afternoon.
I love having dinner done by midday...reheating it for dinner...and being done.
All the components of this soup can be done ahead of time...up to a couple of days ahead of time. So, it makes it a perfect thing for the nights when you know you can't cook. Like, the ones when you're at hockey practice until 7pm.
I was inspired to make this because of some fond memories I have of eating "Malaysian Curried Noodle Soup with Chicken" at Kelley & Ping, on Greene St, in NYC.
DH & I had many a bowl of this delicious soup during our years living in Brooklyn. When I saw this recipe & the picture that accompanied it, I immediately thought of that soup & wanted to try it. It is not exactly the same thing, but it does have the essence of what I remembered.
You'll need some exotic ingredients for it. But, other than that, it's super easy.
Begin by chopping a large shallot.
Put it in a bowl,
add 3 cloves of chopped garlic,
& 2 tablespoons of peeled & minced ginger.
Next, you'll need 3 stalks of lemongrass.
Cut the bottom 4" off & peel off the outer leaves.
Chop it finely & add it to the bowl.
This was my first time cooking with lemongrass. After tasting the results, I would recommend processing it into a finer paste before cooking. Either by using a food processor, or a mortar & pestle. It is very tough & fibrous otherwise. Some of the pieces never softened enough. Try this link for more tips on preparing it!
In a separate bowl, add 2 tablespoons of yellow curry. You can find this in an Asian grocery store.
To that, add 2 tablespoons of curry powder. I used sweet curry, because I love it.
Any curry powder will do though.
Now, you have the option to add 2 teaspoons of hot chili paste (or sambal oelek).
Curry paste is spicy on it's own. It all depends on how much spice you can handle. It can easily be omitted.
If you decide to add it, this can be found in an Asian grocery as well.
Open 2 cans of coconut milk. I used *light*...(health kick).
Now, you are ready to start the broth.
Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil, over medium heat, in a large heavy soup pot.
Add the garlic, shallot, ginger & lemongrass. Saute for a few minutes, until they soften & become fragrant.
Add the curry/chili mixture & stir to combine.
Measure out a 1/2 cup of the coconut milk. Scoop the thick stuff off the top & use that, if possible.
Mix it up with the ingredients in the pot & heat for about 2 minutes, or until all the spices appear smooth.
Next add 2 tablespoons of fish sauce,
5 cups of low-sodium chicken broth,
2 teaspoons of sugar & the rest of the coconut milk.
Simmer the ingredients on low, partially covered, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Trim 3 cups of snow peas.
Boil the snow peas for about 20 seconds & strain into a large bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking.
Bring the water back up to a boil. Cut a large sweet potato into 1/2" chunks (about 2 cups) & boil for 7 minutes.
Drain & add to the ice water.
Once cooled, drain the veggies & place in separate bowls.
Bring the water to a boil once again & cook 1 pound of rice vermicelli noodles.
Follow the package instructions for cooking times.
and place in a microwave save bowl.
When ready to serve, bring the broth to a boil.
Add 1 pound of thinly sliced chicken thighs. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the sweet potatoes & cook a few more minutes.
Put some noodles & snow peas in a soup bowl. If you cooked the noodles ahead of time, then microwave them before hand to warm.
Ladle some of the soup over them & garnish with thinly sliced red onion, sliced scallion & cilantro. It's worth the extra effort for the garnish. The flavors are amazing!