I love trying out new flavors and cooking from new books so I was super excited to try out “Almost Meatless.” A fantastic collection of recipes that are really very doable, it is no wonder this book has been getting some amazing and well-deserved press. I selected a Thai Coconut Curry soup – coconut, fresh basil, mint, and chicken – what is there not to like? The preparation of the soup was so simple that even my young son helped. The result was a filling soup full of luscious rice noodles in a gently spiced red curry coconut broth. I think this is going to become one of my Monday night specials as it took barely ten minutes hand on to prepare. As the soup was simmering, I kept thinking that this is what a Thai grandmother’s kitchen must smell like – sautéed ginger and garlic, steaming aromas of mint and basil from the soup and of course, the warmth from the red curry past. Lovely!
Thai Coconut-Curry Soup
To home cooks, restaurant favorites sometimes feel a bit out of reach. But those fragrant bowls
of soup at authentic Thai joints seem much harder to emulate than they actually are. The characteristic
mix of sour, sweet, and salty is easy to attain with a combination of supermarket shortcuts
(Thai red curry paste) and authentic ingredients—don’t even try to skip the lemongrass! Want a
vegetarian soup? Just omit the chicken and fish sauce. Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
8 cups chicken stock (page 131) or vegetable broth (page 137)
2 stalks lemongrass, rough tops trimmed and bulbs smashed
1 bone-in, skinless chicken breast (about 6 ounces)
8 ounces rice noodles
2 teaspoons fish sauce
5 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
5 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 lime, half juiced and half cut into Wedges
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for about 30 seconds, or just until fragrant. Stir in the curry paste. Sauté briefly, then add the stock, mixing to combine. Add the lemongrass and simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 160°F. Remove the chicken and let cool. Add the noodles, bring to a boil, and cook until the noodles are just tender.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into small pieces and add the meat back into the pot. Stir in the fish sauce, basil, mint, coconut milk, and scallions. Remove the lemongrass and squeeze the lime juice into the soup. Serve the lime wedges with each bowl of soup.