Coconut Red Curry Hot Pot

It’s the day after Christmas.  I always try to move in the direction of my regular routine on this day.  Chances are good that by the time I make it to the 26th of December I’ve spent a couple of weeks eating and drinking with abandon.  It always feels good to return to the normal.  It’s also a snowy day here in Central Virginia so something warm, soupy and bearing no resemblance to turkey and dressing seems in order.  I decided on a culinary trip to Thailand.  Yum.

This noodle bowl is warm and creamy and citrus-y and fresh.  I made a couple of substitutions, but nothing that varied the outcome much.  It’s a snowy Sunday night so my only shopping option was the local Kroger.  No kaffir lime leaves, galangal or exotic mushroom mix to be had.  I did get the lemongrass, the suggested substitute for the lime leaves.  I threw in a little lime zest for good measure.  I had some ginger, the suggested substitute for the galangal.  I bought fresh oyster and shiitake mushrooms and sliced them myself.  So there you go.  I also managed to forget the rice noodles so I used spaghetti noodles instead.

This is a pretty efficient recipe.  Once you get the broth on you have 30 minutes to get the rest of your chopping done.  Once you start adding the ingredients to the broth you’re only about 10 minutes from eating.  My only suggestion for future iterations of this recipe is to add a little kick.  It would be better with a little spice to it.  It has a great flavor, but the coconut milk makes it so creamy that it could really take some chile.  You might add a halved, seeded Thai chile to the broth while it steeps and remove it with the other solids.  Or you might substitute a little chile paste for some of the red curry paste.  Or maybe there’s a spicier red curry paste out there than the one I used.

Still, it’s wicked good.  I look forward to the leftovers.  Maybe this will become my after Christmas dinner tradition…

Good? Decadent even.
Easy? Yes. You’ll notice that the Directions section is pretty short.
Good for company? Difficult to eat politely, so save it for good friends.
Special shopping? Yep. Curry paste, kaffir lime leaves, exotic mushrooms, etc. This will take a trip to the international section of the store.

Coconut Red Curry Hot Pot


2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
zest of 1/2 a lime
5 (1/4-inch) slices fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 C oyster and shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (such as Three Crabs)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/3 cup thinly diagonally cut green onions
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3 ounces cooked noodles (spaghetti, rice noodles, soba, whatever you like)


1. Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; stir in lemongrass, lime zest, and ginger. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Return broth to pan; add curry paste, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken; cook 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Add coconut milk, stirring well to combine. Stir in fish sauce and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in onions, juice, and 1/4 cup cilantro.

2. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Add noodles to coconut milk mixture. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro.


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