Not everyone eats lamb or roast ham for Easter Sunday.
This delicious Vietnamese-style coconut curry concoction was my family’s Easter dinner, as you can see from the tablecloth. It’s based on a similar vegetable coconut curry dish from Tank Noodles, the best Vietnamese restaurant on Argyle St. in Chicago.
(Why do we even celebrate Easter? Three reasons: 1, Easter egg hunt; 2, Easter dinner; 3, peanut butter eggs.)
What makes Tank’s curry great is the powdery, purply chunks of taro root, and my mother one-upped them by adding kabocha, a Japanese squash unparalled in texture and flavor, and silky fried tofu. The flavors of the curry and coconut broth will remind you easily of Thai cooking, but the fresh herb and vegetable garnishes are, of course, all Vietnamese.
Noodles in the soup make this a full, satisfying meal. The broth should not drown out the vegetables and noodles; ladle just enough into each bowl to cover the noodles.
Vietnamese Curry Noodle Soup
- 10-12 oz. medium or firm tofu
- 2 Tbsp white onion, diced
- vegetable oil for frying tofu, plus 1 Tbsp for onions
- 2 carrots peeled and cut on the angle into 1-inch pieces
- 1 zucchini, striped and cut on the angle into 1-inch pieces
- button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 1-2 taro roots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 kabocha (Japanese squash), peeled and seeded, cut into 1 -inch cubes. (To peel easily, cut squash in half, remove center, microwave covered for 2 minutes, let stand until cool then peel and cut into cubes. Squash should be firm.)
- 3 cans vegetable broth
- 1 can coconut cream
- 2-3 Tbsp of curry powder (or to taste)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 4-8 cups water
- 1 package Vietnamese rice noodles (16 oz.)
- fresh mint leaves
- green leaf lettuce, sliced into strips
- bean sprouts
- Slice block of tofu into big square slices ½ inch thick. Deep fry these slices until golden brown. Cool and cut into 2 x ½ inch strips.
- Sauté white onions and mushrooms. Stir in carrots and taro, cook 4-5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, curry powder, coconut cream, salt, and bay leaves, then bring to a boil, cook 4-5 minutes, add kabocha and zucchini, cook additional minute or so. Squash will cook quickly so don’t add it too early.
- When the vegetables are tender but still firm, add the fried tofu. Reduce to a simmer. Taste and add more broth or water as needed. Remove bay leaves.
- Cook rice noodles according to package directions.
- To serve, put noodles in bowls and ladle soup and vegetables over top. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with fresh herbs, lettuce, and bean sprouts.