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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Food Blog: Spicy Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken and Sweet Potato

My boss came in to work the other day, and proceeded to tell me all about this killer soup. his son had called to say that he'd made it, and that dad should go right out and get all the stuff needed, and MAKE IT, dammit. boss bubba did, and couldn't wait to tell me about it. he's a foodie to, so we spend time talking about great restaurants we've found in the area, and recipes. so if he tells me it's good, i have to believe that it is. so i asked him to bring the magazine in, which he did the next day.

The source recipe was from the January 08 Bon Appetit recipe spicy curry noodle soup with chicken and sweet potato. the recipe originates from a local restaurant called Lemon Grass Restaurant in Sacramento. everyone i've asked in the area tells me this is one of the best asian style restaurants in the area, and if this recipe is any indication, i believe them. it is now on our list of places to try when up from vacaville visiting my daughter.

so on the way home, i stopped by an asian market for ingredients. nice thing about working in Sacramento. lots of asian markets, good ones with great selection.
the following is verbatim transcribed from the bon appetit magazine article, with my observations in bold, and my pictures.


Ingredients: i know this is going to seem like a lot of ingredients, but it is really well worth the effort, and it's not all that hard to do the prep work
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass* (from bottom 4 inches of about 3 stalks, tough outer leaves discarded) i've been told that you can get and use frozen minced lemon grass, and the taste is actually better than the dried out sorry excuses you find in the markets. i've found the best way to prep is to remove the outer two leaves, and trim the bottom inch or so off because that's where the roots were, and it's a little bitter. trim up an inch to where the stem bulges, then cut off the bottom 4 inches to mince. this is going to give you more than the recipe calls for, but the rest you can ziploc and freeze
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Thai yellow curry paste* if you are a do it yourselfer, or you can't find it locally and don't want to mail order it (amazon.com has it in convenient packets) follow this link to a whole bunch of curry paste recipes. me, i bought a tub of thai curry paste already made at the market
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)* i used my favorite vietnamese garlic chili paste
  • 2 13.5- to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk,* divided
  • 5 cups low-salt chicken broth 3 cans of broth was just right
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)*
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups snow peas, trimmed that's about 1/2 pound. don't forget to cut them into halves or thirds, because leaving them whole makes this a tough soup to eat without making a huge mess
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled red-skinned sweet potato (yam; from about 1 large)
  • 1 pound dried rice vermicelli noodles or rice stick noodles* definitely go with the rice stick noodles if you can find them.
  • 3/4 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 red Thai firebird chilies or 2 red jalapeño chilies, thinly sliced with seeds this is added at the end for a garnish, and not necessary if food induced pain is not your idea of a good time
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges


Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add next 4 ingredients; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3 and a half quart
i used a 3 1/2 quart pan, and it was exactly the right size. a little bigger would have probably been better, but nothing smaller or else you'll have a big mess on your hands. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in curry paste, curry powder, and chili paste. Add 1/2 cup coconut milk (scooped from thick liquid at top of can). Stir until thick and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
heavenly base
at this point you will be experiencing one of the most incredible smells you have ever generated on a stove. i can't tell you how absolutely amazing the steam rising up from that pan was. pure heaven Add remaining coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, and sugar; bring broth to boil. Keep warm. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep chilled.

Cook snow peas in large pot of boiling salted water until bright green, about 20 seconds. Using strainer, remove peas from pot; rinse under cold water to cool. Place peas in medium bowl. Bring water in same pot back to boil. Add sweet potato and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Using strainer, remove sweet potato from pot and rinse under cold water to cool. Place in small bowl. Bring water in same pot back to boil and cook noodles until just tender but still firm to bite, about 6 minutes. fresh rice stick noodles only took 10 seconds, so i waited until the soup was cooked before making them. once the soup was ready, i dropped the noodles into the boiling water the yams and peas were cooked in, and then almost immediately pulled them out with a spider. i skipped the drain and rinse step, because the next thing i did was fix a bowl and EAT! Drain; rinse under cold water to cool. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Bring broth to simmer. Add chicken; simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add sweet potato; stir to heat through, about 1 minute. Heat noodles in microwave in 30-second intervals to rewarm. Cut noodles with scissors if too long. Divide noodles among bowls. Divide snow peas and hot soup among bowls. Scatter red onion, green onions, cilantro, and chilies over soup. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.
if you watch the time, you can have everything come together at the same time, saving the reheat steps. i really hope someone out there tries this soup based on my recommendation, if for no other reason than knowing the heavenly smells rising out of the pot when the coconut milk will make someone's day.

*Available at some supermarkets, at specialty foods stores and Asian markets, and online from adrianascaravan.com.

here's what the finished product looked like. i'm really amazed i was able to wait long enough to take a picture before digging in.

heaven in a bowl

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

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Blogger reddog said...

Looks good. I'd triple up on the chili paste and fish sauce, cut the coconut milk in half and sub grilled egg plant for the yams.

Hey, I got a soup question for ya. I was making a pot of navy beans on a ham stock. The stock was simmering and it got late, so I let it simmer all night. I had the beans soaking, so I put them in the fridge.

The next day, after straining the stock, I dumped in the now very cold beans. They cooked tender in 20-30 minutes, much quicker than usual, especially considering the amount of sodium and solutes in the stock. Why do you think they cooked so quick?

I got no idea.

1/29/08, 5:08 AM  
Blogger bhd said...

Oh. My. God!

I'm on vacation in Canuckistan, or I'd be making this right now. Well, after scouring the area for ingredients.

Maybe I'll just come to your house.

2/21/08, 7:53 PM  
Blogger bothenook said...

hey C. you and the hobbit are invited anytime! dayam, imagine the mess you and i would make in the kitchen

2/21/08, 8:42 PM  
Anonymous dining table said...

Everything in here looks so delicious. The soup looks so nice and great.

2/10/11, 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's was awesome and super easy! I added a bunch of chopped kale to the soup and it was a success :)

2/13/13, 9:13 PM  

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