I almost called this “Cream of Endorphin-releasing” soup, but it didn’t quite have the same ring to it. Endorphins are those mysterious pain-relieving, pleasure-giving chemicals released by your brain when the body comes under some type of trauma. While intended as a support mechanism when the body is seriously injured, two groups of people have figured out how to intentionally induce the release of these precious substances; athletes and spicy-food aficionados (actually there is a third group that we really can’t discuss here). The “natural high” that you hear athletes talk about is a result of these endorphins. Today’s clip is in honor of the second group.
Most fans of spicy foods know exactly what I’m talking about, that post-meal euphoria that makes it worth every tear and bead of sweat. If you’ve never experienced these feelings, today’s recipe is a great one for you to try. By controlling the amount of red curry paste you add, you can tailor this to your own threshold of pain. I used 2 full teaspoons of this explosive paste. But, you can start slow, and add a bit more each time you make it until you reach that perfect, beautiful, burning bliss.
The only exotic ingredient would be the fresh lemongrass. I’ve found most large grocery stores do carry it, but if not, you can substitute a few tablespoons of lemon zest, or even some lemon verbena.
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 10)
12 oz white mushrooms
1 red onion
3 tbl fish sauce
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 14-oz cans coconut milk
2 tsp red curry paste (you’ve been warned)
4 clove garlic
4 inch piece ginger
3 stalks lemongrass (or lemon zest)
1 tbl vegetable oil
1 quart chicken stock
note: traditionally this soup is served with a side plate of sliced jalapenos, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges