As a kid, I caught everything, chicken pox twice, but as an adult I am rarely sick. When I do catch a cold, however, I am miserable. I don’t want anyone around me. Everything tastes wrong or bland because I am so congested and all I want to do is eat comfort food in the form of carbs and spicy stuff. Preferably spicy soup. I don’t even care what ethnicity it is. Sometimes it is as simple as adding a spicy condiment to something “normal” to jazz it up.
A few of my faves are Wonton Soup with hot Chinese mustard, Vietnamese Pho, Menudo (but I don’t eat the tripe most of the time – I just like the broth), and Gumbo. The first three soups I go out to find or order in, but the last one, I make myself (thank you Janna for teaching me how). But yesterday I wanted something specific.
In Flagstaff there is a brewery restaurant called Beaver Street Brewing. The food and beer are both decent (not outstanding, but reliably good), but they make this one soup as a special that wowed me the first time I had it. It’s a Thai flavored Red Coconut Curry Chicken Soup. Yeah, seriously. I know. Right now, you are trying wrap your head around that one. I wasn’t about to drive to Flagstaff, so I had to work on getting it done for myself. Trust me, worth it. This version is not exactly like the one in Flagstaff. It is more “inspired by”. Mine is creamier and theirs doesn’t have any noodles, but all in all I am really happy with the results. (Moment of Truth – I love a good balance of sweet to spicy to salty – maybe that is why Asian foods make me so happy).
Not too many pics, but here is the recipe. At the end I have included a few times savers if you are in a hurry. I hope you enjoy it, because it will be the last one for a while. Tomorrow begins my kitchen renovation, and before you ask, YES I will be posting about it, complete with before, during and after pictures.
Red Curry Coconut Chicken Soup
Prep – 15 minutes
Active time – 45 minutes
*A quick word about the ingredients: Palm sugar, curry paste, fish sauce, bean thread, coconut milk will all be available in any well stocked Asian market. If you are lucky you may even find the straw mushrooms.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 – 3 inch pieces of lemon grass, pounded with a mallet (the smashing helps release the flavor)
- 1-1/2 qts. chicken stock (preferably homemade) – divided
- 3Tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
- 3 chiles (I used serrano) split in half lengthwise, leaving the stem end intact (see photo)
- Chili oil (Optional)
- ½ medium onion – finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
- 2 tsp palm sugar
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- Thai red curry paste (I use Mae Ploy) to taste – at least 2 Tbsp
- 2 cans coconut milk (I used Aroy D in the green can)
- 1 head broccoli cut into small florets
- 2 C thickly sliced mushrooms (or whole straw mushrooms if you can find them)
Cooked rice or soaked bean thread (glass noodles)
- Chiffonade Basil (Please note – never cut green herbs, especially basil, when it is wet. It will taste bitter).
- Cilantro leaves
- Sliced green onion
- Lime wedges
- Cha!™ sauce by Texas Pete®
Step One: In a 4 qt saucepan bring 2 C of chicken stock to a simmer, add the lemon grass and let it steep for at least 5 minutes. Add the chicken and poach until cooked through. Remove chicken from the pan and reserve the stock in a separate bowl. When chicken has cooled somewhat, shred with your hands into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Step Two: Reheat the pot on medium heat. Add the oil. Once the oil shimmers, toss in the peppers and allow them to blister slightly on one side. Flip them over and add the onions to the oil. Cook until onions start to brown and peppers are well blistered. If you are using chili oil for added heat, add that now. Continue cooking, stirring often, until onions are golden in color with little brown flecks, about 10 minutes. Add sliced garlic and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add reserved poaching liquid, remaining stock, palm sugar, curry paste and fish sauce. Simmer 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Using tongs, fish out the lemongrass and the peppers (you don’t want to strain it because you want to leave the onion and garlic in the soup).
Step Three: Add shredded chicken, coconut milk, broccoli and ‘shrooms and cook until broccoli is crisp tender and everything is heated through.
To serve: place desired amount of rice or bean thread in the bottom of the bowl, ladle hot soup over the top and garnish as desired.
- Use leftover cooked chicken, shredded in place of poached or meat from a rotisserie chicken
- Use canned chicken stock
- Buy broccoli florets and pre-sliced ‘shrooms
- While chicken is poaching, prep onions, garlic, and chiles. While onions are cooking, prep broccoli and ‘shrooms
- While the soup is simmering, prep the garnishes.