Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

January 28 2009 - 6:17 PM

With the cutting winds and single-digit temperatures of Chicago’s winter, I find that making soup is a wonderful line of defense: warm, fast and comforting.
Having made at least a pot every week since October, I was starting to run out of soup ideas when I came across this article on chicken noodle soups with a Southeast Asian twist. In particular, the curry coconut soup caught my eye, with its keen array of spices and aromatics. Suffice it to say, this is not your grandmother’s chicken noodle soup. And though some of the ingredients are a little esoteric, it’s well-worth a trip to your nearest Asian market to procure them. The recipe is as follows:

Adapted from the NYT (1.7.09)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1-inch ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lemongrass, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 pound chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar, more to taste
Salt to taste

8 ounces dried rice noodles (pho or vermicelli)
1 cup bean sprouts
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 scallions, finely sliced
Fried onions (can be bought in Asian groceries, or you can slice shallots and fry until brown)
Lime wedges for garnish

  1. Heat oil in a pan and saute onion, ginger, lemongrass and garlic over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add chicken, curry powder and paprika and cook for 2 minutes, so that the chicken is bit undercooked.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk and broth in a pot. Add turmeric, fish sauce and sugar. When the soup comes to a boil, add the onion and chicken mixture to the pot. Bring the soup back to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Soak the rice noodles in hot water beforehand to speed the cooking process. After cooking (about 4 min), rinse the noodles in a colander with cold water to prevent sticking.
  4. Place noodles in large bowls and ladle soup over them. Top each bowl with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, fried onions and a wedge of lime.

Bingo, I might have a contender for next week’s Souper Bowl party.