Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Cold and rainy March nights require something hot for dinner to shake off that winter chill, so tonight I made Thai Chicken Noodle Soup.  It has the comfort factor of traditional chicken noodle soup, but the addition of peanut butter and coconut milk makes it soft and silky, and cayenne pepper adds palatable warmth.  Incredibly rich and soothing, this recipe is the food equivalent of a cozy blanket.

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 can coconut milk (about a cup)
48oz chicken broth (6 cups)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups thin egg noodles
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided in half
S&P to taste

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and saute the chicken, mixing in the garlic, turmeric, and cayenne, until no more pink is visible. The dusty turmeric will turn the chicken bright yellow:

Add the coconut milk, chicken broth and lemon juice to the pot.  Bring to a boil.
Add the peanut butter, stirring and breaking it up with a spoon until it is incorporated.
Add the noodles and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.
In the meantime, take 1/4 cup of the coconut and put it in a dry cold saute pan.  Turn the burner on medium-high and stir the coconut constantly until it toasts.  This takes some time to get going, but once it starts turning brown, all of the coconut becomes brown quickly.  Take it off the heat and remove the coconut from the pan once it has reached the desired darkness.  Set aside to use as a garnish.

Once the soup has started to thicken, add the scallions and remaining untoasted 1/4 cup of coconut to the soup.
Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with red pepper flakes (if desired) and the toasted coconut.

Only 18 more days until Spring!