With all of the vibrant fall colors and chilly autumn rain we've been having, I was more than ready this week to cozy up to a steaming, spicy bowl of soup.
When I posted a photo of this dish to Instagram, one follower asked if it was Thai pumpkin curry. Those orange cubes are actually sweet potatoes, but a bright seasonal squash like pumpkin or butternut would be a lovely alternative. For greens, I used baby bok choy, but I think you could easily play around with that too, opting instead for kale or chard. For protein, I added halibut to poach in the soup for just the final 4-5 minutes of cooking. If you don't have halibut, shrimp would also work nicely, and would cook in just about the same amount of time (depending on the size of your shrimp).
I love to top this soup with copious handfuls of fresh ingredients, like cilantro and thinly sliced red onions, which add brightness and loads of flavor. I have trouble finding Thai basil here on the Kenai, but if you can find it where you are, use that as well. And definitely don't forget the Sriracha on top for that final, extra kick.
The only problem with this soup is that you'll likely need a fork and a spoon, one for grabbing all those tangled noodles and the other for sipping all of the irresistible broth. Or perhaps better yet, just pick up the bowl and drink it.
Thai curry noodle soup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 heads of baby bok choy, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 ounces bamboo shoots, drained
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds halibut, cut into four portions
juice of half a lime
8 ounces thin rice noodles
red onions, thinly sliced
Thai basil, finely chopped
green onions, sliced
In a pot over medium heat, swirl the oil. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, sweet potatoes and bok choy. Pour the chicken broth over everything, stirring to combine. Bring the soup up to a low boil, turn down the heat, and simmer about 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are just tender.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. When boiling, remove the pot from the heat. Place the rice noodles into the water and let sit 3-4 minutes, until tender. Drain promptly and rinse with cold water, being careful not to overcook. Set aside.
When the sweet potatoes are just beginning to become tender, add the bamboo shoots and coconut milk. Season with salt to taste (remember you'll be adding noodles and halibut later, so you'll want to season generously). Carefully place the halibut portions into the soup, poach 4-5 minutes until just cooked to medium in the center. Gently remove the halibut portions from the pot and transfer them to a plate to rest. To the soup, stir in the juice of half a lime.
To serve the soup: Add a generous handful of rice noodles to the bottom of a soup bowl. Place a halibut portion on top of the noodles. Ladle the soup over top of the halibut and noodles, being sure to get lots of sweet potatoes and bok choy. Top with cilantro, red onion, Thai basil, and green onions, as desired. Serve with lime wedges and Sriracha on the side.
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email email@example.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.