PHOTO: ANDREW BUI; FOOD STYLING: TYNA HOANG
At 7 p.m. on a weeknight, pantry flavor bomb ingredients can be the difference between sitting down to a satisfying home-cooked dinner at 7:30 and ordering take-out. Here, we’re using red Thai curry paste—one of our favorite pantry staples—to create a fast, flavorful peanut noodle soup in no time flat. With a creamy coconut peanut broth, crisp vegetables, and a shower of fresh herbs, this Thai-inspired noodle soup will become one of your new favorite weeknight dinners.
Read for more information and tips to make this easy comforting soup. And if you’re looking for more soup ideas, check out more of our favorite noodle soup recipes.
What is red Thai curry paste?
Red Thai curry paste is an Asian condiment containing dried chiles, garlic, lemongrass, and galangal (a root similar to ginger often used in Southeast Asian cooking), along with various other aromatic herbs and spices. In Thailand, where it’s used as a base for a variety of dishes, it’s typically made from scratch, but in America, it can be difficult to find many of the key raw ingredients needed to make it (such as lemongrass and galangal), so most people buy it. While there are widely available vegan versions, some brands contain shrimp paste or fish sauce, so make sure to read the labels if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Is this soup spicy?
Not really. The heat of the curry paste is balanced by the richness of the coconut milk and peanut butter, resulting in a broth that is aromatic and full of warming spices, but not “spicy.”
Why are we cooking the noodles separately?
When the noodles are cooked in the pot with the broth, they soak it all up, resulting in a pot full of creamy, sauced noodles…delicious, but not exactly soup. Pre-cooking them in boiling salted water and then adding them to the soup just before serving guarantees that your noodles will be perfectly seasoned and cooked and your soup will stay, well, soupy!
Why are we using low-sodium broth?
Soy sauce is salty, and most peanut butter has a little salt added into it as well. With all that seasoning built into the recipe, it’s better to be able to control the amount of salt coming from other sources, and standard (non-low-sodium) broth can contain a lot of salt. Using low-sodium broth means that we can control our seasoning better overall.
Made this? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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vegetable oil, divided
cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4″ thick
plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
pad Thai rice noodles
minced or grated ginger
red Thai curry paste
(14.5-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
low-sodium soy sauce
creamy natural peanut butter
low-sodium vegetable broth
small red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
Thai or regular basil leaves
unsalted roasted peanuts
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- In a large pot over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons oil. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes; season with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Transfer mushrooms to a plate.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons salt. Add noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness. Drain, transfer to a medium bowl, and toss with 1 tablespoon oil; set aside.
- In same large pot over medium heat, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cook garlic, ginger, and curry paste, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in milk, soy sauce, and peanut butter until combined. Stir in broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add bell pepper, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice and mushrooms.
- Divide noodles among bowls. Spoon peanut broth and vegetables over. Top with cilantro, basil, and peanuts.
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