Thursday, December 30, 2010
For weeks now I've been craving a GREAT bowl of noodles. I'm a little burned out on all of the fudge, the gingerbread, and even the noteworthy prime rib roast that the holidays brought into my life. Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy those things...I did...I really did...I have a lovely line around my mid-section where my jeans have been cutting into me ALL WEEK to prove it! But, what I really wanted was a steaming, spicy, bowl of noodles.
And then I remembered the Chiang Mai Curry Noodles with Chicken recipe that I saw back in August on One Perfect Bite. This recipe totally hit the spot! It had all of the flavors that I was looking for; the complex spice and heat from the curry, the mellow coconut milk, the acidity of the lime, the freshness of the cilantro and the slight bite of the minced shallot, plus the color, texture, and heartiness added from the chicken and vegetables. I loved it! Mary, the creator of this recipe, prepared this for her young grandsons, so she cut back on the spice when she cooked this up in her kitchen. I went ahead and added that spice back in. On the evening that I made this, my children were playing at a friend's house and my husband was working late. I had the whole house to myself. It was unusual and SO relaxing to be alone in the quiet of my kitchen around dinnertime. Just the sounds of my chopping and stirring and some holiday music in the background. This almost never happens!
My children came home from their playdate and my husband arrived from work all around the same time. We settled in for a late dinner. I had already changed into my pajamas while the curry was simmering on the stove. After everyone found their way to our usual seats around our table, we spent a lovely evening re-hashing our day and speculating about what surprises Christmas might bring. Ahhh....the perfect bowl of noodles, eaten in my pj's, surrounded by the loves of my life. It doesn't get much better then that! I served the girls rice noodles swimming in homemade chicken stock (I wasn't sure that they would appreciate the spicy curry) and then I sat down to slurp up my mouth-watering bowl of Mai Chiang Curry Noodles topped with cilantro, green onion, and shallot. It was sort of a feeding frenzy on my part. I'm pretty sure that my manners checked out for a coffee break after I put the first spoonful to my mouth. No holds barred. In fact, I have curry stains on my tank top to prove it!
Here's how I executed Mary's recipe:
First, I heated some oil in my skillet and then added in the garlic and cooked for a minute, until fragrant.
Next, I added in 2 rounded tablespoons of red curry paste and stirred until softened.
I added in 2 cut up boneless skinless chicken breasts. I cooked this over high heat, coating with the curry paste and garlic for a minute or so.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and keep warm.
Then I tossed my sliced veggies: onion, carrot, and sweet red pepper into the skillet and ....
I stir-fried until tender.
Then, I stirred in more spices: tumeric and yellow curry powder.
Once the veggies were coated with spices, I added in coconut milk, chicken stock (I used homemade, but the stuff from a can or box would work fine too), soy sauce, and sugar.
Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes so that the flavors can meld.
Now, squeeze in about 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor. Remove the skillet from the heat source. Cover and keep warm while you prepare the noodles and fixin's.
Divide prepared noodles into bowls and then ladle the hot curry over the top. I put the toppings: chopped shallot, cilantro, and green onion right onto the dinner table for easy access.
Halfway through my bowl in this shot...I'm surprised that I even stopped to take a breath, let alone a picture!
This was just what the doctor ordered to help me "chill" and enjoy the season in the days before Christmas. Asian-inspired spicy chicken noodle soup for the soul. Loved this!
Chiang Mai Curry Noodles with Chicken from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite and adapted by me.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons red curry paste (2 tablespoons)
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large carrot, cut into fine julienne strips
1 small red pepper, cut into fine julienne strips
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk
1-3/4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used yellow curry powder)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt, to taste
1/2 pound dried Chinese-style egg noodles or wide rice noodles
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
1) In a medium sauce pan set over medium heat, warm the oil until it begins to ripple, and then add garlic. Cook for about a minute and add red curry paste, stirring it to soften it, about a minute. Add chicken and cook for about a minute, tossing to combine it with the curry paste. Remove chicken from pan and add carrot, red pepper and onions. Stir over medium-high heat until softened. Return chicken to pan. Add coconut milk, chicken stock, turmeric, soy sauce, and sugar, and stir well. Bring to a slow boil, and lower heat to bring it down to a simmer. Cook for about 8 minutes, until flavors have begun to meld. Stir in the lime juice, remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.
2) Cook the noodles per package instructions. Drain, rinse in a colander under cold water, drain again, and divide noodles among serving bowls. Ladle on hot curry, and sprinkle each serving with shallots, cilantro, and green onions. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
*I could not find wide rice noodles, so I just used "regular".
**I was concerned that my children would be turned off by the spicy nature of this dish...but it wasn't too spicy at all. In fact, my toddler enjoyed the leftovers the next day.
***This made quite a bit more then 4 servings. I even put the leftovers in an aluminum casserole, re-heated them, and served at a friend's Christmas party with the toppings the next night. There was plenty to go around!