Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thai Soup

This soup was so fun to make! It was different than most things I cook, and I loved the change of pace. Don't leave out the fish sauce; just plug your nose and add it in. It's worth it!

Ryan was not a huge fan. He's your typical "American meat-and-potatoes" kind-of guy, and I guess this was a little out of his comfort zone. Even so, I loved it and I know I'll be making it again!

Recipe courtesy of Cooks Illustrated via Brittany Ryan


6-8 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 stalks lemon grass , tough outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
3 large shallots , chopped
8 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves , chopped coarse
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 14-oz cans coconut milk , well-shaken
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 pound white mushrooms , cleaned, stems trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound chicken breasts (optional), halved lengthwise and sliced on bias into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 teaspoons red curry paste (Thai)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 Serrano chiles , sliced thin
2 scallions , sliced thin on bias
1 lime , cut into wedges

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add lemon grass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, 2 to 5 minutes (vegetables should not brown). Stir in chicken/vegetable broth and 1 can coconut milk; bring to simmer over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until flavors have blended, 10 minutes. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer and discard solids in strainer. Rinse saucepan and return broth mixture to pan.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Stir remaining can coconut milk and sugar into broth mixture and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken (if using) and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove soup from heat.

Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in small bowl; stir into soup. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, chiles, and scallions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

If you want a soup with less fat, it is possible to substitute light coconut milk for one or both cans of regular coconut milk.

For a more substantial meal, serve the soup over 2 to 3 cups of cooked jasmine rice.