Monday, January 30, 2012

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

I have been blessed (and cursed) to live a block away from a Thai food restaurant. I have them plugged into my phone and I've been known to call on my way home from a late night at the office so that the order is ready to pick up by the time I reach my condo. I have visions of me being like Cynthia Nixon's character on Sex in the City who orders Asian food and is on a first name basis with the person answering the phone.

Thai food is a cuisine I really enjoy and haven't really explored cooking until recently. Fortunately I had all the spices readily available in my pantry for this recipe and since it involved a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, this was a pretty simple dish to make. And my condo smelled like I was moonlighting for the Thai restaurant for a good day or two afterward. This makes a lot of soup but unlike a lot of recipes, not one that is easily cut in half. I opted to freeze a bunch of it, something I'm hoping was a good idea.

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup (serves 7)

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves 
  • 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 (5 3/4-ounce) package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
  • 1 TB canola oil 
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound) 
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 2 TB fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 4 small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add spinach and peas to pan; cook for 30 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add noodles to pan; cook 3 minutes. Drain; add noodles to spinach mixture in bowl.

Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Stir in cilantro and chiles.

    My only improvement to this would be a little more spice, perhaps more red pepper flake towards the end. Otherwise, extremely flavorful and pretty healthy to boot!

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