Hot & Sour Jungle Curry [#MMAZ]

by Sarah on January 21, 2013 · 9 comments

When I say hot. I mean hot.

the 'sour' is just because i love vinegar. and hot and sour soup.

It’s the kind of heat that builds on you, though.

You take a bite, and it tastes so good, so you take another. And another.

Then all of a sudden your nose is running and your mouth is almost burning, but for some reason you just keep dipping your spoon back in for more.And despite the fact that ever since you first turned away from Tom Yum at a Thai restaurant in Austin, you cannot even think about this dish without hearing Axl Rose welcoming you to the jungle, it’s not quite hot enough to completely “bring you to your knees.”

The key is in the curry.

See, Jungle Curry comes from Northern Thailand, where the dearth of coconuts means there’s no milk to cool you (or your mouth) down.You could make your own red curry paste, sure. Or you can skip the attempt at acquiring the numerous ingredients you’d need [galangal, kaffir lime leaves, endless spices, and the Thai red chiles, of course]––and instead just pop on over to your favorite Asian market, where you can purchase everything you need (and more!)

there is no way you can pass up giant kohlrabi, $1.79 kabocha, and one lone 79 cent persimmon hiding in a produce box

It really doesn’t matter what you put into it. From what I can tell, straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and baby corn are the only constants.

Eggplant, cabbage (and snow peas in the end) seem like appropriate additions.

And despite the fact that in Thailand, you’d most likely be served this dish with (a very neccesary coolant in the form of) a mound of rice.

Well, this time, we’re taking our cues from Japan.

This week Heather proposed U is for Udon in her Meatless Mondays A-Z challenge. Since my two previous encounters of the udon kind involved a dish from Noodles & Co., and the time I bought them out of curiosity but served them with marinara sauce, I was hardly an expert on the true Asian preparation.But I did know after researching on the internet that Japanese udon-based soups are really more about the veggies and broth than the noodles.[And I also knew, from the sage advice of an old coworker, that the best way to procure udon is to buy the ramen-style packets from the Asian market, throw out the seasoning packet, and use the par-cooked noodles inside.]

Add the soft noodles to your bowl……then let the boiling Jungle Curry cook them the rest of the way.

Although this dish is Thai, not Japanese, and the curry is the key, I can promise you that without the noodles to help cool you off, this jungle would NOT be the easiest of places to be. :)

Hot & Sour Jungle Curry

[Makes 12-14 cups]

  • 1 1/2 cups (175g) diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger (I use jarred)
  • 3 cups (225g) chopped eggplant
  • 2 1/2 cups (175g) chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup snow peas, halved
  • 1 15 oz. can straw mushrooms, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz. can baby corn, cut in half
  • 1 8 oz. can bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups water, separated
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste, separated

udon noodles or rice, for serving

  1. In a large soup pot, steam onion and ginger in a smidge of water until softened.
  2. Stir in 1 Tbsp. curry paste.
  3. Add eggplant, cabbage, and 1 cup water to the pot, stirring well to coat with curry paste.
  4. Once eggplant begins to soften, stir in mushrooms, corn, and bamboo shoots, along with 1 more Tbsp. curry paste.
  5. Cook 3-5 minutes, then add remaining water, broth, and curry paste (to taste, if you are scared).
  6. Bring to a boil, then stir in vinegar and snow peas.
  7. To serve, pour soup over par-cooked noodles or a mound of rice.