When I’m cooking, often what I start out intending to make is not what ends up on the plates. I’ll get a bright idea that inspires me or decide what I really want to eat part way through the cooking process. There are times when this distraction is detrimental, and other times when the result is great. This chicken curry noodle soup turned out to be one of the tastier results.
I really couldn’t think of what to cook, so I settled on an easy default of Thai chicken curry and rice. I was just going to make it a little different than usual with a bit of peanut butter, but then I remembered that I had some rice noodles, and it suddenly became a great idea to make a noodle soup. Bear in mind, the rice was cooking, the curry paste was toasting, and I was using the wrong size pan for a soup. But I went through with the change anyway.
Now, I am a wuss when it comes to spice hot dishes. I don’t use nearly as much curry paste as H would prefer I do. In my defense, I find the heat totally wipes out the other flavors, and I intend to taste my food! So I don’t go through curry paste that quickly. But if you go to an Asian food store (best place for rice, coconut milk, and curry paste), you get more that I will use in a year. Or two. So I freeze it. It’s great, I just have a tube in the freezer of red curry paste that I don’t even need to defrost to get what I want out of it. No worrying about whether my curry paste has gone bad or trying to make it from scratch each time (more power to you if you feel confident doing that).
We served the soup with a side of cucumber salad to cut any lingering heat and offer a nice sharp complement. I was pretty proud of myself, I managed to go from “I don’t know what I want for dinner” to a brand new dish on the table in 40 minutes. Of course I made a mess, but cleanup is H’s job. And Dyson didn’t mind snuffling up a bit of fallen squash.
And never fear, the rice became fried rice with spring rolls a couple days later.
- 1 c assorted cucumber sliced thinly*
- 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Mix all ingredients and allow to rest together in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (while you make the curry).
- *For cucumbers, I always prefer varieties that you eat with skin on, it gives the food a lot more flavor. Here I used a combination of Armenian and Japanese cucumbers. If you haven’t tried Armenian cucumbers you should, they look cool and are mild without being watery.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp red curry paste (1 tsp more if you like things spicy)
- 1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
- 5 tbsp creamy unsalted peanut butter, divided
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, sliced in ½” thick pieces
- ½ medium white onion, cubed in ¾”-1” pieces
- ¾ lb assorted summer squash cut in 2” x 1” pieces
- ½ lb red bell pepper (1 medium), cubed in ¾”-1” pieces
- 1 ½ c chicken broth
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 oz dry rice noodles
- Thai basil leaves, sliced*
- Cherry tomatoes cut in ½’s or ¼’s
- Melt butter in large pot on med-high.
- Add curry paste and stir, toasting the paste for about 30 seconds.
- Add 3 tbsp peanut butter, ½ of coconut milk, and chicken broth, stirring to combine.
- Add chicken pieces, turn temp to med-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through.
- Add remaining coconut milk, 2 tbsp peanut butter, fish sauce, sugar, and onion.
- Cook for 3 minutes, add squash and red pepper. Cook 1 more minute. Add rice noodles and make sure they are submerged. Turn off heat. And allow to soften for another 2 minutes or so.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Dish out, garnishing with basil and tomatoes.
- *The pictures show regular Italian basil because that is what I grow in the garden, but I really would recommend Thai basil if you can get it.
- And H says I need to tell people to mix in the garnishes for the full taste.