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Coconut Noodle Soup with Tea-Smoked Shrimp

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Serves eight.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

Feel free to substitute other types of curry paste, such as yellow, green, or even the sweet and spiced massaman. Any cooked noodles (or pasta) can work in this recipe.

Extra: To learn more, watch a video series where Robert Danhi demonstrates his tea-smoking technique.

For the soup
  • Two 13.5- to 14-oz. cans coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. red curry paste
  • 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, lightly smashed
  • 8 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
For the tea-smoked shrimp
  • 1/4 cup Thai or whole-leaf jasmine tea
  • 1/4 cup rice, preferably jasmine
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1-3/4 lb. jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.; preferably wild), peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. minced cilantro stems
For assembly
  • 8 oz. rice noodles (flat or vermicelli), soaked in room-temperature water for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 wild lime leaves, vein removed, cut into short fine threads (optional)
Make the soup

In a 4-quart pot, simmer 1/2 cup of the coconut milk over medium heat, stirring often until it reduces by half and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Wisk in the curry paste until dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the remaining coconut milk, chicken broth, lemongrass, and ginger. Raise the heat to medium high, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Strain into another 4-quart pot. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Season to taste with more salt. Add the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and set aside.

Smoke the shrimp

Soak thirteen 8-inch bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Put the tea, rice, and sugar in the center of a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. (If using thinner foil, use 2 or 3 layers.) Fold the foil loosely to form a flat packet.

Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. Clean and oil the grill grate; set aside. Set the tea-smoking packet directly on the hot coals or on top of a metal burner shield. Put the grate back on the grill and close the lid. On a charcoal grill, leave the vents partially open and wait for smoke to rise from the vents. On a gas grill, wait 10 minutes, then open the lid to check for smoke. If there is none, close the lid and check again in a few minutes.

Meanwhile, pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Thread three shrimp onto each skewer, season with salt, and sprinkle with the cilantro stems.

Arrange the shrimp skewers on the grill grate so they’re not directly over the packet, and then close the lid. Smoke the shrimp, flipping once, until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes total. Remove the shrimp from the skewers, cut them in half lengthwise, and set aside.

Assemble the soup

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the soaked noodles and cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain well and divide among 8 large bowls (about 1 cup of noodles in each). Reheat the soup and pour about 1-1/2 cups into each bowl, evenly distributing the mushrooms and tomatoes. Divide the shrimp among the bowls and garnish with the cilantro leaves and wild lime leaves (if using).

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 420; Fat (g): fat g 22; Fat Calories (kcal): 200; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 19; Protein (g): protein g 25; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 31; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 960; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 145; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Romulo Yanes

I was daunted by the process but it was amazingly easy. The smokiness of the shrimp lenses the most delicious flavor to the broth. So. Good.

This soup was excellent, very flavorful between the sweet of the coconut milk and the tangy flavor of the time. I used chicken cooked in peanut sauce instead of the shrimp and was very happy with the results.

I made this tonight using the gas grill to smoke/cook the shrimp. We have a green egg but not worth the time to heat it up for 5 minutes cooking. The jasmine tea smoke is subtle and really nice. I did a couple shrimp without the cilantro to taste it. Yum. I did substitute with light coconut milk which work nicely while reducing the calories a bit. I will do this dish again but I will definitely give it a little more heat and might I add a couple handfuls of peas.

I made this recipe on a rainy Monday so I used my stovetop smoker. This time I lined the smoker tray with foil before adding the smoking ingredients to make clean up easier. My jumbo shrimp were labeled U15 so I adjusted the quantity accordingly. The smokiness of the shrimp contrasted nicely with the heat of the curry powder and the subtle sweetness of the coconut milk. Add to that some rice noodles to slurp and I would definitely say I would have given this recipe six stars!

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