I loved everything about this recipe: shopping for the ingredients, prepping them, cooking the soup, and enjoying it with my family. It was easy and very delicious, and I loved the exotic aromas that filled the house as it simmered on the stove.
The bouquet garni of cilantro stems, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and star anise points (which I used as my Day 284 photo) was a simple and beautiful start.
(I substituted black peppercorns for the white: my grocery store didn’t have whole white peppercorns, and I didn’t want to drive all the way to Penzey’s.)
I added the packet to the pot, followed by the chopped onion, sliced garlic, minced ginger, and dried chiles.
Add to that the chicken broth, coconut milk, nuoc mam (fish sauce), shredded chicken, and later the lime juice and cilantro. Well, you can just imagine the explosion of flavors.
Once it’s finished and ladled it bowls, it can be topped with basil, more lime juice, some bean sprouts, and maybe a little hoisin sauce or Asian chili oil.
Can you imagine it?
Jim, Gus, and Michelle and loved it, too. But Max wasn’t thrilled when he heard the list of ingredients and opted instead for just a big bowl of the noodles and chicken with very little broth. Maybe I scared him off a bit when, right before I served dinner, I said, “Oh! I forgot to add more fish sauce near the end.”
His response? “What do you mean ‘more’ fish sauce? What’s fish sauce?”
I give him credit for eating those noodles, though. I love that my kids will try just about anything … they rarely shy away from new tastes.
In some ways, this soup reminded me a lot of our favorite soup of all time: Ina Garten’s Mexican Chicken Soup, which is also filled with flavor and is served with different toppings.
I’m anxious to try the curried version.