Chiang Mai Soup (LAKSA)

Once, many years ago, I was blessed to be able to go to Thailand. While there I fell head-over-heels in love with the food. As many of my foodie friends will attest to, I will use any excuse I can to fix up a Thai Stir-fry or a Thai style soup or salad. I am particularly fond of CHIANG MAI NOODLE SOUP. In southern Thailand and in Malaysia and Indonesia this dish is called Laksa, and is usually made with firm tofu and shrimp are served on the top for garnish. Either way-it's a fabulous one pot meal!

Don't let the crazy ingredients turn you away from trying it. it's worth the effort!

Here is the recipe:

Chiang Mai Noodle Soup
one can coconut milk (you cannot use low fat for this recipe)
1 Tbs. turmeric
2 Tbs. red curry paste
1 Lb. chicken cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbs. palm sugar OR light brown sugar
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 Lb. Asian style egg noodles blanched according to package directions
Green onions-thinly sliced
Thai chillies-minced
Sauteed mustard or collard greens
Fried garlic slices
French Fried Onions
Steamed shrimp

In a large sauce pan, over high heat, reduce the coconut milk until it is cracked and resembles bubbling cottage cheese.

Add the curry and turmeric and whisk together to from a  paste. Add the chicken and stir to coat. reduce the heat to medium high and saute until the chicken begins to brown.

Add the next 5 ingredients and simmer until the soup has reduce to about 2 cups of liquid-about 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking: Pour the sesame oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. when oil begins to shimmer, add the noodles and allow to cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes. Flip the noodles over and allow to cook undisturbed again for another 4 minutes or so, creating a 'noodle pancake' with a crispy outside.

Distribute the noodles between 4 soup bowls and ladle the chicken and broth over them. Serve with your favorite garnishes.

Image taken from "The Ultimate Chinese and Asian Cookbook" Hermes House, 1997 edition

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