Thailand was seriously one of the most amazing experiences of my life thus far. I learned so much about a vastly different culture. I became part of a new community. I worked with the most beautiful, hilarious kids. I really did meet some amazing people during my two months in The Land of Smiles.
Every person I met was warm and comforting; colorful and bright; spicy and coconutty. Oh. Wait. I think I got sidetracked by memories of ridiculous Thai food.
But can you blame me? Thai food is fucking awesome. I’m pretty sure my veins are still filled with curry instead of blood
When I was in Thailand, I actually took a cooking class. I’ve been wanting to recreate those recipes, but they all require a special trip to the Asian market to hunt down Thai-specific ingredients and I’ve been way too lazy (see: curry pumping through veins).
So instead, I made this Thai-inspired soup. It definitely isn’t 100% traditional, but it is full of easy-to-find ingredients, amazing Thai flavor, and peanut butter. So how about we shut up about “traditional” and just drink our liquid peanut sauce in silence.
This soup is definitely a new favorite. The coconut flavor is perfect with the peanut butter, and the noodles and chicken really make it hearty. The lime zest and spices give it so much flavor, but it isn’t overpowering. SO GOOOOD.
Thai Peanut Soup
2 T sesame oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 lemongrass stalks, outer layers removed and finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
2 T brown sugar
4 cups chicken broth
2 13.6-oz cans coconut milk
2/3 C creamy peanut butter
1/4 C soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar
2 T fish sauce
1 lime, juice and zest
1-2 tsp sambal oelek (fresh ground chili paste), add more or less depending on desired spice level
2 tsp dried Thai basil, or 2 T fresh Thai basil
1 tsp powdered coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red pepper, sliced
1.5 cups snap peas, cut in half
1 pound chicken, thinly sliced
1 6.75-oz package dried rice noodles, soaked in cold water according to package’s directions
salt & pepper, to taste
Optional for garnish:
lime wedges, crushed peanuts, fresh Thai basil, fresh cilantro, green onions
Put sesame oil into a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and cook until onions are translucent.
Add in chicken broth and coconut milk. Whisk until coconut milk is melted into the broth. Add in peanut butter, whisking constantly, until combined. Add all ingredients from soy sauce through cumin. Stir.
Raise heat to medium-high until soup is simmering. Add potato, carrots, and rice noodles. Cook until veggies are nearly fork-tender (about 5 mins) Add pepper, snap peas, and chicken. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove soup from heat.
Serve with a squeeze of lime, crushed peanuts, fresh herbs, and some green onions.
I’m pretty sure this soup reminds me of the flavors of Thailand, but maybe I should go back just to make sure?