red curry noodle soup
It's getting chilly here and I personally love it. I was born in Houston, Texas and although I have traveled quite extensively, my favorite places are those in which we have actual seasons. Houston was pretty much hot and humid year round with very short bursts of semi-cold weather for the winters. While some people would say that living in Chicago, especially in the winter, is intolerable...I tend to not agree. I love that first snow where everything in the world slows down and the world just looks super bright. Curling up in my chair by the fireplace and looking out the window watching the snow come in - to me, nothing gets better than that.
Granted, when it stops snowing and the freshly fallen snow turns into brown mush, it isn't as much of a winter wonderland. But then it snows again and it starts all over again. That's just me but I also love jackets and coats and layers of clothes so Chicago weather was really made for me. Plus you really can't beat the weather here during spring and even summer. It does get really hot but it doesn't last that long and everyone here appreciates it so much that there are so many outdoor events, dining and festivals all spring/summer long which I love.
One of my other favorite things about fall/winter are warm soups. If that soup is spicy? Even better! When I was in my Thai reminiscing phase, I made this red curry noodle soup and it really just hit the spot. Flavorful, spicy and hearty - all the things a soup should be. This soup is even better given that it comes together super quick and can be customized in several ways. If you're vegan, no problem - the soup base is made with coconut milk so completely dairy free. Eliminate the shrimp and add in a ton more veggies. You can also easily use vegetable broth. Don't like seafood? Substitute with any protein that you like! Don't like things too spicy? Then use a milder chili and don't garnish your soup with sriracha. I actually had leftover noodles from my Hakka Noodle recipe but you can really use what you have. In my opinion, versatile recipes like this one are the best sorts of recipes. Give it a try and see what you think.
Red Curry Noodle Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 shallots, diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Thai green chili, split in half
3 Tbsp red curry paste
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 (13.5 oz) cans coconut milk, full fat
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 (8 oz) package rice noodles
1/4 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (regular basil would work), julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional garnishes include: fresh cilantro leaves, fried crispy shallots, fresh basil, green onions, sriracha, red chili slices, lime wedges.
Heat olive oil in a large deep pan, wok or dutch oven over medium heat.
Add the shallots, garlic, ginger and Thai chili. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in red curry paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in broth, coconut milk, fish sauce and soy sauce. Salt and pepper to taste and add in the lime juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced slightly.
Add in the bell pepper and shrimp and let them slowly poach in the liquid.
Stir in noodles until tender, about 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat; stir in the basil.
Garnish how you want. I drizzled mine with a squeeze of lime juice and topped it with some cilantro leaves, basil and some crispy fried shallots with a generous drizzle of sriracha!
You want to serve this immediately while it's steaming. I usually eat this with a spoon and some chopsticks to get to the noodles. Reminds me of my days of eating Ramen in Japan. Delicious!