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.
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Fran@BCDC January 21, 2013 at 7:51 am

I love hot and sour soup but so often at restaurants there is meat hiding in there. This sounds great, Sarah!!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 21, 2013 at 7:58 am

Ginger and curry are miusic to my ears. Pass on the baby corn though. They creep me out… is that weird?

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Kristina January 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

yes, yes it is. ;)

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Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli January 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

It definitely is! Lol

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Kristina January 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

now Axl and his jungle will be in my head all morning… I love to sing GnR for karaoke…

this sounds fantastic! I chose to do a noodle dish rather than broth… I thought “you’re doing this wrong” then I googled udon images and at least half came up brothless… so, I still may be doing it wrong, but I’m in good company ;)

I will try your way, though – I did pick up the noodles like you did too, but I was scared of them ;) now I know what to do…

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Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets January 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Sha Na Na Na Knees Knees.
I love this post; you had me laughing the whole way through. How is it I’m only now finding your blog? And, I’m sorry, but I have to ask. What the heck are mini corn; they ar freaky and strange. I don’t even understand them, when I eat them either because their strangeness doesn’t stop me from eating them.

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Sarah January 22, 2013 at 7:48 am

I’m glad you liked the post…and my blog! I don’t know why you are just now finding it, but I am certainly happy you did. :) [I don't know what miniature corn are, but I just go with it.]

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Heather @ Better With Veggies January 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Oh goodness, I think we’re going to be on an ethnic kick in the Blackmon house for a while with recipes like this! I love curries and prefer them at home where I can control the ingredients even more.

Side note – I remember when I visited salad bars as a kid I would load up on baby corn. They’re just so cute and un-corn-like. :)

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Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli January 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Hahaha! I can’t quit looking at that baby corn and remembering how I used to pick it up and eat it like a corn on the cob when I was little…yeah, I’ve always been a bit “special” ;)

The soup looks great! Though I’d have to say by your description, one bite would probably put me in the hospital…I’m such a pansy when it comes to spice! But you DID just remind me that I have some of those packets of udon noodles in my pantry! I need to do something with those!

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