Thai Noodle Soup

Story and photos by Karyl Henry, KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

I’ve always loved Asian cuisine, but I only started making it at home a couple of years ago. I had this irrational fear that it was difficult to make, so I only ate it at restaurants or tried simple recipes at home using bottled sauces. The same was the case with soup. On cold, dreary days when I was a kid my mom almost always made a big pot of soup. I’ve never been a big fan of leftovers, but my mom’s chicken and dumpling soup was one of a very few exceptions. As an adult, I stuck with the canned soups because it was easier than making my own.

So it’s actually kind of funny that my very first soup recipe–and one of my first Asian recipes–on KarylsKulinarlyKrusade.com was Thai Shrimp Soup. It conquered many of my fears in one big bowl of delicious goodness. Since then I’ve added quite a few of both types of recipes to the blog.

My only other soup recipe featured in Stillwater Living Magazine is Chicken Tortilla Soup, so I figured it was time to change that. I went back and forth on a few different kinds, and we decided on Thai Noodle Soup.

I love this Thai Noodle Soup! It has a bold kick of spice from the red curry paste, a nice creaminess from the coconut milk, and lots of bite from the vegetables and chicken. And while the coconut milk is creamy, it’s not heavy at all.

INGREDIENTS FOR THAI NOODLE SOUP

  • Rice Noodles
  • Fresh ginger
  • Raw garlic
  • Red Curry Paste
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Coconut Milk
  • Chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • Red bell pepper
  • Baby bok choy
  • Red onion
  • Garnish: fresh lime juice, cilantro, fresh basil, spring onion, roasted and salted Peanuts

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT THAI NOODLE SOUP

  • Prep all produce before you start. This will make your life easier because, once you begin, the process goes pretty quickly.
  • Allow each layer of flavor to develop before adding the next layer. That’s really the key to most soups and sauces.
  • I prefer full fat coconut milk in soup, because it thickens better than lite. But the choice is yours.
  • Don’t add the dark green bok choy leaves until the last couple of minutes, because they are delicate like baby spinach. The ends are more sturdy, and can handle longer cooking.
  • Serve the garnish on the side, and let people choose what they like.

A DUTCH OVEN (OR HEAVY BOTTOMED POT) MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE

I highly recommend a heavy-bottomed pot for Thai Noodle Soup…really, for all soups and stews. I never understood the appeal of paying a lot of money for a dutch oven, and the only ones I ever saw in the store or on the Food Network were huge and therefore not for me. Then a couple of months ago I was house sitting, and they have pretty much every size Le Creuset. I made rice in the smallest pot one night…then used different pieces every night I was there. I’m now obsessed and want the entire collection! My bank account doesn’t agree with that idea, so I started small with a 2-qt Martha Stewart dutch oven that was on sale at Christmas.

A dutch oven cooks more evenly than a regular saucepan. Even a regular heavy-bottomed pot is better than a lightweight saucepan. In a dutch oven everything cooks on low or medium, and it holds in heat really well when covered. Dutch ovens can go straight from the stovetop to the oven and, depending on brand, can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees.

OPTIONS FOR THAI NOODLE SOUP

  • Make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken. If you do that, use vegetable broth. I would substitute diced sweet potato for the chicken, and add it in at the time you would have added chicken.
  • Mix up the vegetables! I love using baby bok choy, but I can’t always find it in the grocery store. You can substitute baby spinach, zucchini, or another green vegetable. If you use a vegetable that cooks quickly, add it in the last couple of minutes so that it doesn’t turn to mush.
  • I used Pad Thai rice noodles because that’s what I typically have on hand. Substitute vermicelli rice noodles or even ramen noodles.

Thai Noodle Soup is definitely a keeper. With my dutch oven, I can make a big portion and have leftovers for a couple of days. It’s perfect for cold weather days, but also light enough that you can enjoy it all year long.

Thai Noodle Soup from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces rice noodles
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons red curry paste
  • 10 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 2 baby bok choy
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (13oz) coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

GARNISH

  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, diced

Instructions

  1. Cut white bulb end off bok choy. This is much too hard to eat. Cut remaining white ends off, and dice into bite-sized pieces. Rinse well. Chop green tops, rinse well, and set aside.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add rice noodles, turn off heat, and let soak for about 10 minutes to soften. Do not drain until ready to serve, or noodles will stick together and to the saucepan
  3. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat avocado oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add red curry paste and cook for 4 minutes. Stir regularly, to prevent curry paste from burning.
  4. Add chicken pieces, stir to coat well, and cook for 5 minutes. The chicken will not be done, but it will finish while the rest of the soup cooks. Add white bok choy ends, and stir well to combine. Cook for 3 minutes. 
  5. Add chicken or vegetable broth, and bring to a low boil. Add coconut milk and red bell peppers. Stir well, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add green bok choy leaves, and cook for 2 minutes, or until leaves are wilted.
  7. Drain rice noodles and portion into bowls. Pour soup over noodles. Garnish with onion, cilantro, basil, red onion, and crushed peanuts. Squeeze fresh lime juice.

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