Sunday, 4 March 2012

Thai-style soup with glass noodles

I had a major craving for heat the other day. Not the sort where I pile on the woollies and sit with my back to the radiator, but heat in the form of chillies. I'm also haunted every time I open the larder by a huge pack of glass noodles that I bought several months ago and have yet to open. Something soupy and Eastern came to mind. Something that would make my tongue seriously tingle while nourishing me.

I needed to hit my local market anyway, to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables so it was a matter of moments to add fresh chillies, lemongrass, coriander, a hand of ginger and a bag of limes to my basket.

This soup is quick to put together and makes a generous bowlful. The noodles make it surprisingly filling.

What you need:
1 tbsp homemade Thai spice paste
2-3 spring onions, sliced into small rounds
1 small carrot, sliced into matchsticks
A small handful green beans, top and tailed
12 baby button mushrooms
1 small packet jumbo prawns
Coconut milk (optional)
1 pint stock
Vegetable oil
Glass noodles, 1 twist

What to do: 
Make up the stock. Heat the oil in a deep pan and gently fry the spring onions until they start to soften. Add the spice paste and pour in the stock. Add the carrots, beans and mushrooms and simmer until just tender. Meanwhile dump the glass noodles in a heatproof basin and cover them with boiling water. Leave them for 10 minutes to soften. Add the prawns to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning - if it's too fiery temper it with a little coconut milk (there is already some in the spice paste). Drain the noodles well and put in the bottom of the soup bowl then ladle the soup over the top. 

Cook's tips: 
If you have fresh stock, great, but a chicken stock cube will do the job just as well or some vegetable stock powder. If you use bought stock, it will be saltier so check the seasoning as you go.

Glass noodles are easiest to find in Chinese supermarkets but sometimes turn up in Asian stores or even the big four supermarkets.

If you've no fresh spice paste, use a small tablespoonful from a jar of Thai red or green curry paste. You will need about half a can of coconut milk, in that case, and possibly less stock.