Hopefully by the time you are reading this, the weather will have warmed up again here in the Northeast. We had a brief flash of summer weather recently which had some turning on their AC to cool down, almost unheard of in April during my lifetime. I took all my winter coats and gave them a good wash and stored them away. But Mother Nature was back in control and brought April to its senses as the temperatures dropped once again in recent days.
So when a delicious sounding (and looking) soup showed up on my Instagram feed, I was quick to assemble the ingredients to make the recipe for a light dinner this past Monday. Imagine the peanut dipping sauce you would use for a traditional chicken satay, but in a soup form with vegetables and rice noodles. That is this soup in a nutshell.
The ingredients in the soup can largely be found in a regular supermarket with the exception of a few, although I’ve provided substitutes where possible. I actually did venture to our local HMart which is always so fun, with the intention of not only getting a few of the necessary ingredients, but also to purchase those deep, white spoons you often find in Asian restaurants. Well, I proceeded to get my ingredients and forgot the spoons which made eating the soup a little more challenging but not impossible using our largest soup spoons and chopsticks to pick up any little bits.
The main ingredients you need are rice noodles, preferably ones that are about the size of linguine. You can definitely find them at your local supermarket, but the ones I found at the Asian market look like this…
Ideally, you will garnish the soup with Thai basil which does not have the same flavor profile as Italian basil and is shown below. If you can’t find it, best to make a mix of basil, mint and cilantro to achieve something similar. Or just basil and mint will do…
Also to finish the soup, you will want to add some chili sauce of some kind which is all the rage right now. Trader Joe’s has a version, but this one below that I found at Whole Foods is my favorite. You can drizzle it on almost anything and this one is particularly spicy which we like…
The recipe as written calls to hydrate the rice noodles in some boiling hot water. They will need to soak for about 20 minutes or so while you prepare the rest of the soup. Next, saute some oyster mushrooms (you can swap out whatever you can find but a wild mushroom is nice here), and some shallots which you set aside.
On to the soup base which is ginger, garlic, peanut butter and mild curry powder, mixed with vegetable broth and coconut cream. Coconut cream is not the same as coconut milk and comes in a can the size of tomato paste and is easily found at most supermarkets, next to the coconut milk. It adds a thickness to the soup broth and complements the mild curry and peanut flavors really well. The broth is enhanced by soy sauce, fish sauce, and my addition of black vinegar which is one of my favorite ingredients to add to any kind of dipping sauce for Asian food, especially dumplings. This is a brand I have used in the past, although the bottle in my pantry right now is from Kong Yen. The black vinegar adds a zip to the soup and brightens up the flavors which I thought was nice for cutting through the richness of the broth.
The noodles are added into the broth (I like to cut mine so they are easier to eat) and warmed through before serving.
Here is the finished dish, plated and garnished with the mushrooms and shallots,sliced scallions, slivered Thai basil, some chopped roasted unsalted peanuts and a good drizzle of the chili sauce. Yum. Oh and my leading indicator of a good recipe is always when the hubs goes back for seconds which he did!
The recipe makes enough soup for 2-3 people, and you can scale it for a bigger crowd. I hope you make it and if you do please come back and let me know what you think!
One Year Ago: Pomegranate, Chicken and Farro Salad
Two Years Ago: Pasta with Asparagus and Arugula-Pistachio Pesto
Three Years Ago: Thoughts from Quarantine
Lots of recipes in this post and a fun re-read (for me anyway!)
Four Years Ago: Super Seed Bars with Goji Berry
Five Years Ago: Mexican Street Corn Salad
Six Years Ago: Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Seven Years Ago: Orange Sesame Chicken
Eight Years Ago: Armenian Rice Pilaf
Nine Years Ago: Truffled Ricotta Dip
This recipe is great for a night when you want a light, vegetarian meal. The soup has the flavors of the peanut satay dipping sauce you use for chicken, which pairs nicely as a soup base for noodles. Recipe is adapted from Foodie Takes Flight. I added black vinegar to the soup base which gives it a nice (and I thought necessary) bite.
The recipe serves 2-3 depending on your appetite. Feel free to use whatever mushrooms you have. Enjoy!
- 6 ounces dry rice noodles (size large, about 5mm thick)
- 7 ounces fresh oyster mushrooms (can be swapped for other varieties), chopped
- 2 shallots, peeled and sliced into thin rings
- 3 Tablespoons neutral oil such as sunflower or canola
- 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced ginger
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (I used a chunky variety, see note)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (see note)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari, plus more to taste
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons black vinegar, more to taste
- 1, 5.4 ounce can coconut cream (not milk)
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- Salt to taste
- Chopped Scallions
- Fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped (or a combo of basil and mint)
- Roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
- Fresh Lime juice
- Chili sauce such as Fly by Jing's or Trader Joe's
- Place the noodles in a large, heat proof bowl. Pour boiling water to cover and the mix the noodles around a bit to make sure they are fully submerged. Leave to soak for 15 to 20 or until the noodles are pliable. Drain.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 Tablespoon of the neutral oil and the mushrooms plus a sprinkling of salt. Stir the mushrooms until they have softened and turned a little golden brown. Add a splash of soy sauce to encourage the cooking process once they've begun to soften. Remove to a bowl.
- In the same pan, warm another tablespoon of the oil and add the shallots and another sprinkling of salt. Saute until the shallots are a nice golden brown. This will go quickly and try to stir them constantly to avoid burning. If the pan gets dry, add another splash of the oil. Remove to a bowl and keep uncovered.
- To make the soup base, add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan over medium heat. If your pan has become super hot, you may want to wait a few minutes to allow it to cool down so you don't burn your garlic in the next step.
- Add the minced ginger and garlic to the pan and saute for just a minute, stirring constantly. Add the peanut butter, curry powder and sugar if using and stir until the peanut butter has broken down a bit and become saucy. Add the broth, soy sauce, fish sauce and black vinegar and bring to a boil, whisking to get the mixture smooth. Once boiling, reduce the heat and add the coconut cream, whisking again until the mixture is smooth. Add the lime juice and then taste for seasing. I added a little salt and a splash more of soy sauce to my soup.
- Once the broth is heated through, add the drained noodles to the broth and stir for a few minutes on simmer until everything is warmed through.
- Plate the soup and garnish with chopped scallion, fresh Thai basil leaves, roasted peanuts and chili sauce to finish.
Tips from The Kitchen Scout
I used a peanut butter that had sugar so I ommitted the added sugar in the recipe and would suggest you do the same so the soup isn't too sweet!