Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spicy Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken and Sweet Potato

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On a cold winter day, there is nothing I crave more than a warm bowl of soup. Of course I love the classics, like tomato soup and lentil soup, but sometimes I want to mix it up and try something completely different. I found this recipe over the summer, and the sweet potato curry reminded of the pumpkin curry at Thai X-ing in DC. Have you guys tried it? Out.Of.This.World. I could not wait for the cold winter months so I'd have an excuse to slurp noodles and sweet potatoes from a warm, rich, curry broth. I know the list of ingredients is a little intimidating, but I promise the process is very simple and totally worth the shopping trip. 

To make the soup, you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 stalks of fresh lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger - my grocery store was out so I used dried galangal ginger and it was great 
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red or yellow curry paste - I used red because I already had it in my pantry
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder 
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili paste - such as sambal oelek 
  • 2 cans of light unsweetened coconut milk,
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (vegetarians could use vegetable broth)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce - should find it in the Asian aisle of your grocery store
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups of green beans
  • 2 sweet potatoes - peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 pound dried rice vermicelli noodles or rice stick noodles - I used fresh rice noodles from Trader Joes and they were a little sticky
  • 3/4 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion - for serving 
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions - for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for serving - I hate cilantro, so I omitted this ingredient
  • 3 red Thai bird chiles or 2 red jalapeño chiles for serving. I used serrano chiles because that is what I found easily
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges - for serving

  • I love the bright purple color of shallots. They taste like a hybrid between garlic and onions. 
    Once you've familiarized yourself with all of the ingredients, start out by prepping all of your vegetables. First, mince the shallots, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. For the lemongrass, remove the tough outer leaves and then only use the bottom 4 inches of the stalk. 

    Set aside the minced shallots, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. While you're still at your cutting board, peel your sweet potatoes and then cut them into 1/2 inch cubes. Then, trim the tough ends off of your green beans. Set the green beans and sweet potatoes aside in separate bowls. Then, take your raw chicken breasts and cut them into 1 inch pieces. 

    Once you're done prepping your vegetables and meat, its time to start making the broth.

    In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Then add the garlic, shallots, ginger, and lemongrass into the pot and heat for about 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant. Stir in curry paste, curry powder, and chili paste. Then add 1/2 can of coconut milk and stir for 2 minutes. Then add the remaining coconut milk, 2 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce, all of the chicken broth, and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Bring the broth to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside. 

    Fill a separate pot with salted water and bring to a boil. First, add the green beans to the pot and boil for 30 seconds - make sure they keep their bright green color. Using a small strainer or slated spoon, scoop the green beans out and place in a separate bowl. 

    Next, add the sweet potatoes into the same pot of boiling water and cook until soft - approximately 7 minutes. Then, scoop the sweet potatoes out of the water and set aside with the green beans.

    Then, add the rice noodles to the same pot of boiling water, and follow directions on the package for cooking time. They should be al dente - softened but not mushy. Drain the noodles and set aside.

    Finally, bring the pot of broth back up to a simmer. Once the soup is simmering, add the diced chicken to the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked through, add the sweet potatoes, green beans, and noodles back into the pot. 

    Ladle the soup into individual bowls to serve! 

    You can top the soup with any combination of the fresh cilantro, scallions, red onions, lime, and chills. I used finely diced red onion, scallions, and a little bit of Serrano chile. I garnished my whole bowl with fresh squeezed lime. 

    Had to give you a shot with the noodles! 

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