by Steve Bivans
My friends all know that I love hot food, and I don’t mean temperature.
I lovvvvve spicy food, and it can’t be too spicy for me, AS LONG AS IT’S GOOD! There is a distinction there.
Anyone can make spicy food, you just add enough freakin’ peppers or hot sauce, and it will rip your insides out from top to bottom. But can you make it taste good too? Can you balance the spice with enough natural sweet and other savory flavors to make you crave more? Because what you want, is to feel the extreme burn, but not be able to stop dipping the fork or spoon, drawing the steaming, nuclear goodness to your palate, over and over and over again. Or at least, that’s what I WANT. hahahaha.
I personally don’t know anyone who likes food as spicy as I do, so take that into consideration when making my recipes. When I go to a Thai restaurant, they usually have spice levels of 1-5. I always tell them 10! And then I tell them to “kill me!” Sometimes they get it right, and I’m in for a treat. The way I know it’s a ten is if I reach all 3 signs of culinary inferno in quick succession.
These are: one, your nose starts to run, two, your forehead starts to sweat, and three, you begin to weep tears of painful joy. When they bring me a true level 10, # 1 will happen before I take a bite, just from the steam wafting up into my sinus cavity. #2 will hit me after the first bite or two, and #3 within a few more bites. Just to make this clear, these are not unmanly, wussy tears, like you might let loose at a chick flic…say Mama Mia, or something, ok?…NO, these are the tears of a warrior, weeping for his fallen comrades…or something kick ass and masculine like that..you know, like Patrick Swayze in Red Dawn or something, yeah!!!
If you don’t enjoy spice at all, well, this recipe probably isn’t for you. Though, you can always back off on the spice level, if you’re feeling a bit, what shall we say, skittish? I have included the spice level for this dish, and will continue to do so for my other recipes. This will be what I call ‘entrance and exit’ wound’ level. If you don’t know what that means, well, you will soon enough. hahahahahahha, he laughs maniacally. Levels run from 1-10, well, occasionally there will be an 11…ya know…we’ll call those spinal taps…
THAI RED CURRY CHICKEN SOUP. Wound level (entrance and exit): 5-10
I cook this in one pot, a large stock pot, 8 quarts is enough to feed quite a few people. Need a lid of some sort. If it doesn’t come with one, use a small cookie sheet to cover it, or something else you might have lying around the house, like the skull of a large, wild boar, or round, Viking shield…
Stuff you need:
- 1 package of boneless chicken breasts: (you can use any boneless chicken, dark too, it’s cheaper if you can find it, or debone it yourself)
- chicken base (the dried stuff, comes in a jar), or a lot of chicken STOCK, not broth
- 1, 13.5oz can of coconut milk. Don’t get that fat free crap, this dish is low enough in calories anyway.
- Thai red curry paste: I use the THAI KITCHEN brand, comes in a small glass jar, in most grocery stores. This stuff is hot, and flavorful as hell.
- garlic: either 5-6 cloves of fresh (chopped), or about a teaspoon of powder
- cilantro: get the fresh stuff, no substitute for this
- mushrooms: I hate them, but most people like them in this soup. Buy the sliced, or slice up a small carton of them, or less depending on your preference.
- Rice: this soup is usually served over white rice (Asian sticky rice is great too), in a soup bowl. I like lots of rice because the soup is pretty liquidy, so make a lot. I make at least 2 cups of dried rice, but you will need more for 4 or more people. Follow the instructions on the rice bag/box. You can make the rice while you’re making the soup, of course.
- Like I said, you can back off on the spice level, by reducing the amount of hot stuff you put in it, i.e. the chili paste, but that’s also where most of the flavor comes from.
- Fill the stock pot with about 4 quarts of hot water, put it on a burner on HIGH..you want it to boil hard
- Stir in a couple tablespoons of chicken base. Do this until you get a good chicken flavor. This is key.
- Shake up, open and dump in the can of coconut milk. Stir with whisk.
- put in the garlic, fresh or powder
- start adding chili paste: this is the crucial part, not difficult, just important. You MUST taste your food when you’re cooking, because this stuff can become very spicy if you put in more than you want or need. So start with a teaspoon at a time, mix it in well with a whisk, taste it, then repeat until you get the spice level you want. Remember, you might not be the only one eating it, so take it easy on the less hardy folk. If you want level 10, you will need most of the jar, but beware, MY 10, is waaaay hotter than most people’s, so take it slow.
- While the stock is coming to a boil (probably need to cover it), cut up your chicken into 1/2- 1 inch cubes and set aside. I usually put them in a stainless bowl, till the stock is boiling good.
- Also slice your mushrooms, if they aren’t already.
- Once stock is boiling really good, carefully spoon in the chicken (don’t just drop it in..or you’ll get your ass burned…well, your arms/hands, but you know what I mean). Stir the chicken around with a big spoon, so that the pieces separate from each other, this ain’t ‘chicken lump soup’.
- Add the mushrooms and let it boil for a few minutes, then turn down the heat, or off.
- Spoon rice into the bowls, ladle soup over it, and then tear off leaves of cilantro and sprinkle a few/or several on top.
- Eat the crap out of it. It’s GOOD FOR YA! This stuff will clean ya right out! Sinuses and other things….here comes the exit wound baby!
IF YOU HAVE LEFTOVERS…
You can store the soup (after letting it cool), in the fridge, or divide the leftovers (if there are any) into non-plastic containers and freeze it for another day, or a quick lunch.
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