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!
Lots of recipes in this post and a fun re-read (for me anyway!)