Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Recipe: Thai Style Chicken Noodle Soup

I love soup. I could eat soup five nights out of seven. I also love noodles, all kinds of noodles: spaghetti, tagliatelle, noodle kugel, mac -n-cheese, rice noodles and on and on. In fact, I can't think of a noodle I don't like or a preparation of noodles I won't eat. As I have been traveling and working all weekend, what I want today is some comfort food, which is to say, noodle soup.

This is one of my favorite soups. It's hearty and warming and spicy. It's the perfect soup for a chilly day like today.

You will need:
1 bundle of bok choy (you can use napa cabbage or celery cabbage, which I am using today because the bok choy was kinda meh)
1 package of extra firm tofu
1 cup of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 shallots
3 cloves of garlic
3 scallions, sliced
1 hot chili pepper (use a thai chili if you can find it)
fresh ginger, about 1/2 teaspoon
hot sesame oil
soy sauce
roasted red curry paste
1 box of thin rice noodles. (These are easy to find, but you can use italian angel hair pasta if you prefer wheat noodles.)
4 chicken thighs (you can use breast meat, too, but I like thighs in soups)
4 cups of chicken stock

The Prep:
Drain the tofu. Dice into bite sized even cubes. Line a colander with paper towels and put the tofu cubes in there to continue to drain while you do the rest of the prep. The firmer, drier the tofu is, the better. I loathe mushy tofu.

Put the chicken into roasting dish. Finely chop 1 clove of garlic, dice hot pepper and grate a small amount of ginger. Add to the chicken with a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt. Cover and roast for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and roast for another 10 minutes. (You could cook the chicken in the soup, but I think it has a better flavor when it's roasted.)

Finely dice 2 cloves of garlic and 2 shallots. Sautee in soup pot with olive oil and a couple of drops of the hot sesame oil (use more or less depending on your taste for spicy; this stuff is hot.) Add the carrots and pinch of salt. Sautee until the carrots get soft. Add the tofu and crisp that up. Add the mushrooms and sautee that whole mix for just a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken stock, about 1/2 teaspoon of the roasted red curry paste, 1/2 teaspoon of sriracha and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Let simmer until the stock is good and hot. When it's hot, add the shredded chicken and let that cook for another 20 minutes.

Bring a separate pot of water to boil for the rice noodles. These only take a few minutes to cook. Salt the water when it's boiling. It's the only chance you have to season the noodles, so do it.

Add the scallions. Clean and coarsely chop the bok choy and add to the stock. Bring the heat up on the stock for a couple of minutes when you add the bok choy; it only takes a couple of minutes to cook, but you do want to wilt it. Add the cooked, drained noodles.

I like mine super spicy, so I usually add more sriracha when I sit down to eat, but not everybody likes to set their entire face on fire when they eat. If you like cilatro, garnish it with some fresh cilantro.

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