Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup (for the soul).
I needed a healing broth. The election exhausted me. Trying to understand people exhausted me. Explaining my country to my European, Asian and Antipodean friends exhausted me. And trying to understand why people would vote for a man who campaigned on intolerance and irreverence – that really exhausted me. Not for the reasons you might think but because I was trying to figure out what I was missing.
Danny Meyers, the restaurateur from NYC, said it best in an open letter to his staff the day following the election:
For those who feel completely shocked and disappointed by the election results (didn’t all the polls tell us it would be otherwise?), note that the outcome itself mirrors the very theme of the entire election: that as a country we have done an inadequate job of listening to or hearing one another, and when enough people don’t feel heard, massive change is inevitable. When will we learn that it is far more important for people to feel heard – even than to be agreed with? As a country and as a society which too often prizes shouting over respectful listening, we have clearly done a poor job at that.
A mom whose son was in my daughter’s class last year caught me at the school gates on Wednesday morning. “How are you doing?” she asked. “Rotten.” I responded. “I don’t mind that my candidate didn’t win.” I nobly stated. “It is the fact that women…WOMEN…voted for a man who would willingly treat them like property. And that those women so hated that another woman would be so ambitious.” I went on to reference the Gloria Steinem article about how Hillary Clinton was the most admired woman on the planet right up until the moment she announced her candidacy. My fellow mom said, “I think it’s more basic than that. I think people are desperate and I think there are women who think, ‘The plant in our hometown shut down a decade ago and there are no options for my husband. You can grab me anywhere you want. Just get my husband back to work.'”
She is right. And these are the thoughts that are exhausting.
After I dropped the kids off at school on Friday the intensity of it all hit me and I felt cold to my bones. We were heading to my mother-in-laws for the weekend, my husband was already gone and so I had a day to myself to pack and get ready for the weekend. I deeply needed a warming, healing broth to make me feel like myself again before setting out on our journey. I popped into the grocery store and collected the ingredients for what was roughly a chicken soup with spice. While I walked home it took on an Thai vibe and by the time I got home it was assembled in my head and I just needed to get it onto my table.
This is a super easy soup with rich character that is both flavorful but also light. It is a tiny bit spicy. a little bit sour, a bit sweet and so very satisfying. I cooked it without taking pictures of the process and without staging any shots (until the end). I did not have to make conversation, explain myself or my country to anyone. I did not check the news. I did not Instagram a thing. I just stayed at home, by myself, in from the cold, and made soup.
And in the end, I had a healing broth. And one outstanding soup recipe that I had to share. No matter which way you voted.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon finely diced garlic
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 litre good chicken stock
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- juice of 1 lime
- zest of 1/2 lime
- 2 tablespoons of thinly sliced bamboo shoots
- 2 tablespoons of finely sliced kale
- 1 shredded chicken breast (see the chicken in this recipe)
- 3 vermicelli noodle nests
- Fresh coriander (cilantro) and lime for garnish
- Heat oil in a small stockpot over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add red curry paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken stock and coconut milk, whisk together and then let cook for 5 minutes.
- Bring up to a soft boil and add the vermicelli nests. Let cook for about 8 minutes until noodles are cooked through. Add the sliced bamboo shoots, lime juice and lime zest and the sliced kale. Let cook for another 2 minutes and then serve immediately topped with evenly distributed shredded chicken on top and a few sprigs of fresh coriander and a squeeze of fresh lime.