Simple Saturdays - One Pot Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

10:37 AM

I am no chef but I do like to cook and pretend I could compete on an episode of Top Chef or Chopped. I love looking at recipes, but I don't like to follow directions (I wonder where Jax gets that from!). So, when I cook, it's usually something that just comes to me and make things up as I go along. If I have a few ingredients and can't decide on what to make, I'll scan for a recipe that maybe has those ingredients and use it as a guide and go from there. If we haven't gone grocery shopping in awhile, I just "shop" our pantry to see what I can come up with and 9 times out of 10, what I come up with is surprisingly good!

With all that in mind I want to say that I also give bad directions. So, if you do follow this recipe - I suggest, and will always suggest, to flavor, season or add (or take out) ingredients to your taste & liking. Please use these only as a guide and maybe come up with your own special little dish! This recipe was just something I threw together one night, for similar recipes and with better directions go here and here.

One Pot Recipe - Coconut Curry Noddle Soup 

I used only regular (yellow) curry powder as opposed to a paste or a red (spicy - uses red chilies) or green (spicy as well - uses green chilies) curry paste because of my kids. If you are not making this with the intention of sharing it with kids, or if your kids are much more adventurous in their tastes and spices - then it's best to use a paste (start off with a little at a time and add on. Pastes are very concentrated)

Ingredients: Serves 4 bowls (so, since I don't follow directions and make things up as I go along - these measurements were made up after the fact..I didn't measure when I was making this. sorry!)

  • 2 lg cloves of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp of finely diced ginger (or 2-3 tbsp of ginger powder) - or if you don't like eating bits of ginger, what I like to do is cut up big slices of ginger and then remove them when I serve the dish. That way it still gets the ginger flavor it needs but you don't risk accidentally eating the ginger (unless you leave them, which I have done - sorry Charlie).
  • 1-2 stalks of lemongrass (it's ok if you don't have this because I didn't have one on hand either. If you do use the stalk, check out this video. I usually don't cut it up this small, I leave it whole/smashed and remove or avoid it when I serve the soup.)
  • 4-6 leaves of basil (Thai basil would be best, but if you don't have any - then regular basil will suit it just fine) 
  • 1 can of coconut milk 
  • 1 box pkg of vegetable broth or chicken broth or vegetarian chicken broth (yes! it does exist!)
  • 1 pack of dry or already cooked & packed thin rice noodle (if you don't have any on hand, you can also use egg noodles,  ramen noodles or even pasta like spaghetti or angel hair)
  • 1-2 tbsp oil (I used olive oil, some people would use peanut or even a touch of sesame)
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste - this is a key ingredient that offers that "authentic" Thai curry flavor)

Spices: (please use as much or as little. First put a little at a time, then taste test)
  • 1 - 3 tbsp of curry powder (yellow or madras) I ran out of curry powder in the middle of this!
  • 1 tsp tumeric - this will add some flavor as well as color - add more if you wish
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cumin - I love cumin and usually use it with everything!

Garnish (not necessary but adds to the look & taste, especially since you eat with your eyes first):
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (or basil)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 lime cut into wedges (lemon is ok too)

Veggies to add:
  • 1-1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms (we had a bunch of crimini mushrooms left over from a mushroom grab bag)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup sliced cabbage (I had left over savoy cabbage)

can add the following "meats":

  • sliced tofu, 1/2 -1 package firm tofu
  • sliced chicken, 2 breast cutlets
  • sliced fish, 2 fillets
  • 2 cups of shrimp

Directions (sort of):

1. In a large bowl filled with really hot water, enough to fully submerge the noodles into the hot water, let stand & soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Set aside, and check periodically for softness and water temp - try and keep it hot.

2. In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat (I, um usually just start cooking on high heat and then check the levels after I've tossed in the fragrant items - like garlic, onions etc). Saute the chopped yellow onion, diced garlic, ginger and lemongrass, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Throw in the veggies and saute together. If you will be using tofu or meat - like chicken, beef or pork, saute those before the veggies, 5- 8 minutes then throw in the veggies. Season with the curry powder (remember, if using a paste, use a little at a time and just add more if desired), turmeric, cumin and basil. Stir in some of the broth, enough to cover some of the veggies/meat but not completely, which will bring it down to a simmer. It should smell like curry and look yellowish. If it lacks the yellow color, add more curry, turmeric and or cumin. Add one tbsp of the fish sauce and continue to stir. Give it a taste, and if it seems a bit bland. Add more fish sauce.

4. Slowly stir in the can of coconut milk. Using the rest of the broth, fill the empty can of coconut milk up to get more of the "milk" out and pour it into the pot. Stir in the rest of the broth. Raise heat slightly and bring to a medium simmer, almost a boil. If you were going to put in shrimp or fish, you can put these in now and fold it in.Add the rest of the fish sauce. Let it simmer until meats are fully cooked and no longer pink (the shrimp should be a bright color). 5-8 minutes.

5. Check on the noodles. If they have soften enough to be al dente, put the amount of noodles you'll want to eat in an individual bowl and the broth will cook the rest. Let it soak for longer to be infused with the flavors of the soup. If the noodles have not softened up, replace the water with more hot (real hot) water and allow to soften some more.

6. Garnish with a few bits of cilantro and green onions and a squeeze of a lime wedge. Eat & enjoy.

When I made this, I added more fish sauce to my individual bowls - since it's a really strong flavor for some, but it's something I grew up with so it's just like salt to me...

All in all, this took me about 20-30 mins to make including prep & cooking time. I had both kids by myself and had to start and stop - especially since I was trying to take photos too (not very good ones either). You can easily prep ahead by chopping up all the veggies and essentials (onions, garlic, ginger)  and soaking the noodles. Since I didn't use lemongrass, I would just omit that, but it is an essential ingredient in Thai cooking. If you don't have fish sauce, you can use salt for the pot and use soy sauce sparingly but only with your individual bowls and not the whole pot as it would give it a different color.

I hope you'll try it, it was a super easy one pot meal. If you didn't want to put the noodles in the individual bowls to soak - just put them in the pot, all together. If you find that you have too much stuff and not enough broth, simply add more broth and taste it - add more curry paste/powder etc..if you leave the noodles in the soup too long - it will become "fat". I had a bowl the next day and so there wasn't much soup left but it still tasted good - better actually since it got to sit in the broth and soak up all the goodness.

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