It was a cold January in Southern California and I was glad to have my Soup repertoire ready, starting with our January Soups, Stews & Bread class held earlier in the month. I know. I know. I grew up in Minneapolis, so I know what cold is and the chilly 30-some degrees, which it has been here, is considered warm there. Nevertheless, I’m guessing that a lot of soup is being made across the country right now.
I featured a variety of soups in our Soup class. We learned to make fresh made vegetable stock which was the basis for our soups. We made a pureed Carrot Ginger Soup, which is one of my all-time favorites. Then I had to feature my Minnesota Wild Rice Soup with a lowfat milk base, which nearly every household in Minnesota makes with their leftover turkey. The Corn Chowder is also another winner. I’ve made it for 100 people at one of our Holy Nativity fundraisers.
So I was pleasantly pleased with the newest addition to my repertoire, the Asian Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Soup…Curry Mee. This has 22 ingredients (four are garnishes that could be left out) on the list, so get ready to have an Asian ingredient learning experience. Most ingredients can be found in a Minnesota grocery store, but you might have to search or substitute for the others. But I am telling you, if you are an adventurous eater and love Asian food, it is worth it…and believe it or not, it is fast and easy to make. Just make sure you have prepped and measured all your ingredients before turning on the heat, because it will go super fast and you will not have time to catch up.
The flavors from the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves married with the curry, and the coconut milk will give your taste buds a ride. Add the hominess of the chicken and soba noodles and you have a new level of comfort food.
If you live in Minnesota and can’t find all the ingredients, here is my substitution list:
Ginger Root – do not substitute. Keep looking. Could use galangal root, but that is even harder to find.
Lemon Grass – use lemon zest.
Sambal – use any red hot chili product like Sriracha Rooster sauce.
Coconut Milk – this is a savory coconut milk, which you can find at Trader Joe’s. Do not use Coco Lopez, which is used in Pina Coladas.
Fish Sauce – This product adds salt. Use Soy Sauce, but less of it, to taste.
Kaffir Lime Leaves – I buy these fresh and them dry them out on my counter. Then I put them in my spice cabinet and use like a bay leaf. If you can’t find, use lime zest and add lime juice once the soup is made.
Asian noodles – I used udon noodles, which is a thick wheat noodle. Use a thick spaghetti noodle.
Bean Sprouts – This has been a staple at every grocery store, but I’ve had a hard time finding them lately. I couldn’t believe that my Ralph’s didn’t have it today and they said they weren’t carrying it anymore. I scolded them. If you can’t find them, you will have to live without them I’m afraid. it is more of a garnish. Oh, well!
Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Soup (Curry Mee)
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 Tbs ginger root, minced
- 1 Tbs lemon grass, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Sambal (dark red chili paste)
- 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 Tbs curry powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 can (11 oz) coconut milk
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or light cream (optional)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 2 Tbs fish sauce
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 12 kaffir lime leaves
- 12 ounces Asian udon noodles
- Salt, (optional), to taste
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 3 Tbs chopped cilantro
- 2 scallions, sliced thin crosswise
- 1 quartered lime
1. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and lemon grass and cook, stirring until softened, about 10 minutes. Do not brown; reduce heat if necessary. Add garlic and chili paste and stir until fragrant. Raise heat, add chicken and stir-fry one minute. Add curry powder and paprika and stir to coat. Then add coconut milk, half-and-half, chicken stock, turmeric, fish sauce, sugar and kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil, add noodles, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and noodles are soft, about 7 minutes.
2. Taste broth and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar. Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions. Pass limes and chili paste at the table.
Servings: 6 Calories per serving: 579
Preparation Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes