This curry noodle soup is inspired by my parents’ very different culinary methods and “expertise”. It reminds me of the fragrant blend of spices that would normally take hours to prepare, but actually only took me 30 minutes to throw it together.
There are few dishes I miss more than my mom’s chicken curry. She used to visit her hometown in Malaysia and bring back fresh spices that she would then use in the dish. It would take her hours to perfect it, then she’d serve it to us over a bed of fragrant rice. Noodle soups on the other hand were more of my dad’s forte. Like me, he was all about cooking on the whim, preparing hearty noodle soups in a matter of minutes.
I cooked this similar to many soup-based dishes, sautéing the aromatics then adding the liquid. I used store-bought curry paste to save time, but if you have a bit more time, you can easily prepare a homemade curry paste in a pestle and mortar.
You’d be surprised once you make this dish at how simple it is to prepare, and how knowing what goes into your soup is far more satisfying, and plus it’s a perfect way to warm your belly on a cold fall evening.
Curry Noodle Soup
Makes about 5 cups of broth, serves 4.
3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, at room temperature
2 cup of room temperature water
2 tablespoon curry paste
1 can of light, unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon of salt
Cayenne pepper, for extra spice
1 package of egg noodles
1 cucumber, sliced
1 lime, sliced into wedges
1/2 pound raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Fresh basil, mint, or cilantro; or all three
Boiled eggs, optional
Submerge vermicelli noodles in a bowl of warm water, set side.
PREPARE BROTH. Heat a large saucepan on medium-low. Add curry paste and cook until fragrant. Add a ladle of the chicken broth to allow paste to dissolve. Add water and the remainder of the chicken broth, letting it simmer without allowing it to boil. Whisk in coconut milk, cayenne pepper, and salt. Bring it to a slow simmer.
Drain the vermicelli — which, at this point should be softer — then add it to the broth. Drop heat to low, and let it continue to simmer.
ASSEMBLE INGREDIENTS. Cook noodles 1-2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking process, then set aside.
To prepare shrimp, add 1 teaspoon of curry paste to a sauté pan on medium-high. Cook until fragrant. Add shrimp and cook each side for 1 minute, or until each side is just turning pink. *You want to make sure the shrimp is not overcooked, because the boiling broth will finish it off*. Add a spoonful of the broth to the pan, turn heat off, and set aside.
TO ASSEMBLE. Add noodles to individual-serving bowls. Add shrimp, then using a ladle, add broth and vermicelli to the bowl. Top with cucumber, bean spouts, basil, cilantro, and lime.