Do you ever get into intense food moods where you crave the same meal over and over and over again? That was me with Apple Cinnamon Cheerios back when I was pregnant with Stella, and it has also been my relationship with this Thai curry noodle soup for about two weeks now – it’s still as delicious as ever. It’s my love for all foods that are perfectly sweet/sour/salty/spicy/umami that has taught me to proudly slurp up any leftover broth, whilst teaching Alfie to do the same. Yes! The kids like this meal too, making this supper a double win in our home because when we all enjoy a healthy, wholesome meal you better believe it goes into my meal plan rotation.
This soup is particularly wonderful because it lends itself well to my style of cooking, which is to focus more on balancing bold flavors and tasting often instead of following instructions to a T. I am not much of a measurer, per se. And even when recipes tell me to do things a certain way I cannot help myself by changing this or that to however I see fit. Food rules are meant to be bent, no? Which is why baking and I aren’t always friends, but soups and curries and stews…we get along rather well. When I am in the kitchen chopping and stirring I am in my happy place, and I try not to let the stress of a complicated recipe suck the joy out of making something out of several ingredients, which by themselves, aren’t particularly good. It’s this kind of magical kitchen alchemy that makes suppertime meditative for me, and why I gravitate towards a more intuitive approach to meal making in general.
This soup takes about twenty-ish minutes from start to finish to prepare, and it can be varied in dozens of ways. Theodore loves green beans, so in they go. You could also add butternut squash or sweet potato to change things up in a seasonal fashion, or omit many of the vegetables entirely. You could go the chicken route, the vegetarian route, or even pescatarian route and add white fish or shrimp. What you cannot skirt around, however, is the ethereal combination curry goodness which is: sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. You need fish sauce for this, red curry paste, limes, ginger, brown sugar, and chilis. Otherwise you will not have a Thai curry, but something else entirely. I make most of our spicier dishes mild for the kids, then add extra spice at the end for Andrew and I because we like to feel the burn when a bowl of brothy noodles are on the table. Prepare yourself to make this over and over again, and don’t be afraid to tweak things to your liking!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks (omit if vegetarian)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste (all)
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (heat)
- 6 cups bone or vegetable broth (savory)
- 1 14 oz. can coconut milk (sweet)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (salt)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (salt)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (sweet)
- Juice of one lime (sour)
- 1 cup fresh green beans
- 3-4 carrots, finely diced
- 1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
- Thai chilis, diced (heat)
- 1/2 (8-ounce) package rice noodles
- Garnish: green onions, fresh cilantro leaves, fresh basil leaves, bean sprouts, and freshly squeezed lime juice
To prepare, heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add room temperature chicken that has been generously seasoned with salt to the stockpot and brown for several minutes. Remove the chicken thighs and add the onion, red pepper, and garlic, stirring until tender. Stir in ginger and red curry paste until fragrant, for about a minute. Add broth and coconut milk stir and bring to a boil. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and the rest of the vegetables (green beans, shredded carrot, mushrooms). Lower heat to simmer, and return chicken to pot. Once chicken is cooked through, add rice noodles and cook until tender, for about 5 minutes. Taste the curry and see if it needs more salt. Adjust accordingly, and ladle into deep bowls. Serve immediately with lots of fresh herbs, chilis, and lime juice.
How much do you love Thai food? Let me know if you end up making this recipe and how you varied yours. Bon appétite!