Friday, August 31, 2012

Thai Soup with Shrimp, Cabbage and Mushrooms

I am embarassed to say that I have been sitting on this post for a couple of weeks - long enough for me to forget the finer points I might have made.  Oops.  But I wrote down a few notes right after we made the soup from Alex, who thought the soup was "pretty good," "wasn't that hard to make" and "had pretty good balance of flavors."  So there you have it.  I agree with Alex that the soup was "pretty good," although I thought the broth itself needed something to give it a little more depth of flavor.  It tasted a little thin for me.  I'm not sure that thin is the right word (although it does describe the consistency), but I just wanted the broth to be a little richer and more flavorful.  The night we made this recipe I really wanted to make this Thai Shrimp and Coconut Soup with Lemongrass by Harold Dieterle, but it required yet another trip to the grocery store for lemongrass, tamarind concentrate (I think I threw the rest of ours out) and Thai chilis.  And I just got too lazy, so we used Thai curry paste and some dried lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves to spice up the broth.  It did give it some heat and flavor, but I just wanted it to be bigger/better.  Next time, I will plan more in advance and go buy the fresh lemongrass, etc. and make the Harold Dieterle soup because it really does sound fantastic. 

Recipe after the jump!

Thai Soup with Shrimp, Cabbage, Mushrooms and Rice Noodles

1 tsp peanut oil
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
5 cups chicken broth
2 dried kaffir lime leaves
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp dried lemongrass (or 1 fresh stalk, peeled and bruised)
3/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced 1/8 inch thick
8 ounces Napa cabbage, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
(about 4 cups)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus additional to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce
rice noodles
fresh cilantro, finely chopped
scallions, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add curry paste and stir until beginning to stick to pan, about 4 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, kaffir lime leaves, minced ginger and lemongrass. Bring soup to boil and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer broth for 5 minutes.  Add shrimp and mushrooms.  Cook until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes.  Add cabbage.  Cook until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 30 seconds.  Stir in lime juice and fish sauce.  Season to taste with additional salt, fish sauce and/or lime juice.

Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package instructions until just cooked.  Don't start cooking the rice noodles until the soup is just about complete because otherwise they will stick together in a big soggy, congealed mess.  Once you drain the noodles, drizzle with a little vegetable oil and toss.

Divide noodles among bowls.  Ladle in soup and sprinkle with cilantro, scallions, jalapenos and serve.  Lime wedges and sriracha would make nice toppings/accompaniments.

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