Thursday, February 05, 2009

Soup for Sunday Supper Club

Spicy Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken
A few weeks ago, I hosted our monthly Supper Club on a Sunday evening with the theme "Soup and Salad." It was one of my favorite supper club meals in recent memory, with three soups, a mussel stew, two salads, and three desserts - all absolutely delicious. I made this soup after seeing the recipe in the NY Times. It just really appealed to me - spicy, warming, and rich with the coconut milk - but with that spark of fresh herbs on the top. It's also easy, and fairly quick - fast enough to make on a weeknight assuming you have all the ingredients.
Supper Club
As I was making it, I realized it's very close to a Curried Mushroom Soup that I used to make a long time ago. That got me thinking about other things that used to be in my repertoire that I never make anymore - some of them with good reason - but others have been neglected unfairly. Like the handmade Caesar salad I used to make by mashing the anchovies and whisking them with garlic, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, olive oil and mustard, and the slow cooked caramelized onions I used to make as a side dish. I really need to dig those out. I don't think I'll be forgetting this soup again anytime soon though.
Spicy Curry Noodle Soup
Spicy Curry Mee (Noodle Soup)
adapted from the New York Times

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems or lemongrass
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons red chili paste, such as sambal, more for serving
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast meat, thinly sliced and cut into bite-size pieces (I used cooked chicken and added it last minute)
4 1/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder, preferably Malaysian, Thai or Vietnamese
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cans (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk (light is fine)
3/4 cup half-and-half
8-10 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar, more to taste (or agave nectar)
12 ounces dried thin rice noodles (bun or vermicelli)
Salt to taste
2 cups bean sprouts
8 tablespoons chopped cilantro
8 tablespoons torn mint sprigs
4-6 scallions, cut into thin rings
4-6 shallots, thinly sliced and deep fried in vegetable oil until brown (optional)*
Quartered limes for serving.

1. Heat oil and a little broth in a large (8 qt) stock 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 stirfry until coated and fragrant. Raise heat, add chicken and stir-fry one minute. (I skipped this b/c my chicken was already cooked.) Add curry powder and paprika and stir to coat. Then add coconut milk, half-and-half, chicken stock, turmeric, fish sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook rice noodles in boiling water according to package directions (about 4 minutes). Rinse and drain.
3. Taste broth and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar. Divide noodles into large soup bowls. Bring broth to a boil, then ladle over noodles. Garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, scallions and fried shallots. Pass limes and sambal at the table.

*You might be tempted to skip the fried shallots because they're a hassle, but they're really, really good. They took a little longer than I thought they would - so I'd suggest making them a little ahead of time.

Yield: 4 main-course servings.

More soup recipes coming up!

Special thanks to my friend and guest photographer Angie!


  1. That soup was really, really good. Wish I had a bowl right now.

  2. that soup lives amazing -- i love i wish i was your neighbor.

  3. curry soup is to die for and this one looks like it wouldn't disappoint. there is a great ethnic marketplace in st paul, MN that serves wonderful curry soup. must go back soon...



  4. Great recipe + picture.
    PPQ on Irving in the Inner Sunset serves the best curry noodle.

    Great for foggy days.
    The trick is not to overpower with too much pungent fish sauce.

    Keep writing!

  5. I can't wait to try this!

  6. I absolutely love curry in soup - so delicious. Another one of my personal favorite curry soup recipes is this Red Pepper and Coconut Soup. It's incredibly simple and can be served either hot or cold. Enjoy!

  7. I made this soup for sunday dimmer a few weeks ago. It was delicious. It was even better the next day after the flavours had time to mellow and marry. Wonderful!