Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thai Vegetable and Black Rice Noodle Soup

There's something really comforting about noodle soups. Chicken noodle soup was always my favorite soup as a child, and I think my favorite part about it was the noodles and the broth. The chicken was unnecessary. This here soup is my kind of soup, full of incredibly nourishing colorful vegetables in a deeply flavorful broth entwined in gorgeous black rice noodles.

A word about these special black noodles. I was lucky to find them at a small health food store not far from where I live and I'm in love with them. They're 100% organic, whole grain, and gluten free. They're made with black rice, which is crazy high in antioxidants. I've written more about the awesomeness of black rice here. Good stuff, I tell you.
The Thai flavors in this soup are great and not difficult to achieve. I add super fresh ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, in addition to some awesome green curry paste. The paste lends so much flavor without a lot of heat (which I love). It has green chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime, which are all wonderful ingredients that lend depth to this broth. I keep a collection of all natural and high quality curry pastes in my pantry to add flavor to many vegetable dishes. You should, too!
I imagine that adding some coconut milk to this soup will bring it to a whole new level. The mix of vegetables I used were spot on (and all of them were local!) but feel free to add others. I can see baby bok choy and perhaps some cauliflower working very well.

Thai Vegetable and Black Rice Noodle Soup (serves 2)

3 oz black rice noodles (or any other noodle of your choice)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon coconut oil or other oil of your choice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 lemongrass stalk, outer layer removed from stalk, bottom 3 inches chopped finely (optional)
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 large carrot, sliced on the diagonal
half of a daikon radish, sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
large handful of snow peas, halved on the diagonal
1 small crown of broccoli, cut into florets
cilantro, to garnish

1. Cook black rice noodles according to package directions. Strain, rinse well, and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook sliced onion in coconut oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, fresh ginger, and lemongrass, green curry paste and stir well. Cook about one minute and then add carrot, daikon radish, and bell peppers.

3. Add 2 cups of water to the pot of vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook about 7 minutes or so until vegetables are tender, but not mushy. You want the vegetables to be still a bit crunchy.

4. Take the pot off the heat. Add the broccoli florets and snow peas to the pot. The residual heat of the broth will lightly cook the broccoli and snow peas.

5. Divide the cooked noodles between two bowls. Lade the vegetables and broth into each bowl. Garnish with cilantro.

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