Sunday, February 3, 2013

Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

The East coast has been hit with a major cold spell over the past week, and it's had me craving hearty comfort food. After having beef stew last week, I really wanted to switch gears and try something on the more exotic side. I love Thai food and curries, so I thought a coconut curry soup would really hit the spot after the snowy weather we've been experiencing.
Although this soup requires a handful of ingredients you may not have sitting in your pantry, it's well worth it to run out to the store and stock up.  Most grocery stores these days carry a wide variety of international food items raning from Asian, Indian, Spanish, Middle Eastern and beyond.  I didn't have any trouble finding eveyrthing I needed at the local Giant and Whole Foods. Once you have all your ingredients laid out, the process of making the soup is really quite simple. First I cooked rice (I made 2 cups cooked rice but you only need one cup for the soup) and roasted chicken breast in the oven.  My mom taught me how to roast chicken from a recipe she has used from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Ina Garten has some of the best recipes, and she's pretty fabulous. If you don't believe me, then maybe you'll trust Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy in this 30 Rock clip:
Once you have the rice and chicken ready, you just chop up the onion, bell pepper and carrots ( I cheated and bought matchstick carrots) and sautee in a sauce pan.  I added two cloves minced garlic and a half tablespoon grated ginger. After sauteeing for 5 minutes, you add the chicken, rice, curry paste, sugar and fish sauce and stir for a few minutes until incorporated. Then you add the the chicken broth and coconut milk and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  I served the soup with cilantro, lime wedges and pineapple chunks (some family members may have opted for a pineapple free soup, so serving on the side made it easy to dress up the soup to individual's preferences).
If I were to personify this dish, it would be the Sofia Vergara of soups!  Spicy, sassy, bold, and gorgeous. The rich and creamy coconut milk marries beautifully with the heat of the red curry paste.  The fish sauce brings an added depth of that umami flavor. It's really doesn't have a 'fishy' taste, but rather a complexity of sweet, salty and sour.  The chicken and rice add heartiness, and the veggies add earthness and texture.  Cilantro, lime and pineapple bring a touch of brightness, tang and sweetness that contrasted with the spiciness of the curry paste. Pair this soup with a bright and slightly sweet riesling, (Kung Fu Girl Riesling is excellent) and you have a delicious and satisfying meal.

Chicken Coconut Curry Soup
(from the Savory Sweet Life Blog -

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (I used store bought matchstick carrots)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup cooked chicken meat (I used 1 package of chicken tenderloins which I drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 350 F for about 20 minutes or until cooked through)
1 cup cooked rice (I used Jasmine)
2 tablespoons red curry paste (use more or less depending on how spicy you'd like)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
13.5 oz can Asian coconut milk or cream - unsweetend (I used reduced fat and it didn't notice a difference)
21 oz chicken broth
Optional: 2 tablespoons fish sauce, cilantro
Reserve some coconut milk, carrots and bell pepper for garnish
(I added pineapple chunks and served lime wedges and cilantro on the side)

In medium sauce pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and cool chopped onions, carrots, and red bell pepper for approximately 5 minutes. Add curry paste, brown sugar, chicken, rice and fish sauce stirring and sauteing everything until curry paste is completely incorporated (approx 2-3 minutes). Pour chicken broth and cooconut milk into the pan and give it a good stir for a half minute. Reduce heat to a medium and allow the soup to cook for 15-20 minutes. Serve with a spoonful of coconut milk added on top with a few match stick carrots and slice of bell pepper for garnish or add pineapple and cilantro and lime wedges!

1 comment:

Ariel said...

Sounds delightful. "I'm like that woman on the food network who drinks and bakes with her gay friends and her husband only comes home on the weekend." Oh Liz Lemon!