Monday, January 11, 2010
Thai Red Curry Soup
One of my favorite flavor combinations is coconut and curry. Recently, I was thinking about the red curry from Saladang in Pasadena and I went searching online for some similar recipe to make. The hardest part about making this soup was finding the red curry paste - my third stop at Whole Foods finally resulted in success. The rest of it is pretty normal stuff. While it was cooking, I kept thinking it smelled fishy and thought it was the fish sauce (only 1 tablespoon) but then I remembered that I had fish sticks in the oven for my daughter to eat. If you're averse to using fish sauce, substitute soy sauce.
The soup was rich and flavorful but a little heavy. I think light coconut milk (or less coconut milk) would make it not seem so heavy. The eggplant was my favorite part of it - delicious - and I picked the chicken out of the leftover soup for lunch the next day and it tasted really good.
A couple of cooking notes: I served it over bean thread (thin translucent "noodles" made from mung beans) that I bought awhile ago at Cost Plus World Market but you can serve it plain like the recipe calls for, over hot cooked rice, or rice noodles instead. The base is really versatile so I think substituting or adding vegetables would be fine with this recipe. Red curry paste varies in intensity and spiciness. I started with 1 tablespoon and by the end, had added some red chili flakes and about 2 more tablespoons of the curry paste. Green curry paste would give a different flavor but would probably be great in this soup.
Thai Red Curry Soup with Chicken serves 4
(adapted from Bon Appetit 9/97)
2 T vegetable oil
1-3 T Thai red curry paste (see note above)
1/2 onion, sliced (I used 1 shallot)
12 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
4 oz. green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 small Japanese eggplants, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3 c. unsweetened coconut milk
1 T fish sauce (nam pla)
1 cup chopped bok choy
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oill in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft (2-3 minutes). Add curry paste and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken; stir 2 minutes. Add green beans and eggplant pieces; stir 1 minutes. Add broth, coconut milk and fish sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. During the last five minutes, stir in the bok choy.
Taste and season with salt, pepper, red chili flakes and more curry paste, if desired. Sprinkle with basil and serve over noodles, rice or bean thread (or plain).