Our grocery store does not stock squid very often (only three times a year!), so when they do, we are quick to snap some up and indulge in their delight. We made this soup last winter, adapting a recipe from Jane Hornby's cookbook I Know How to Cook (Phaidon 2010). To us, Thai flavors bring out the best in squid, and the tubes and tentacles cook up quickly in the bright, flavorful broth. - forester_lady —duclosbe1
Test Kitchen Notes
First and foremost, this soup is so quick and easy to prepare. And, I should add, it is really tasty! There’s basically no prep time and minimal cooking. All I had to do was pour boiling water over noodles, cut the squid into rings, then rinse the bean sprouts, scallions and cilantro, and chop the scallions and cilantro. I’m talking under five minutes of preparation, and the cooking time is under 10 minutes. The soup has enough substance to constitute a lunch entrée or a light supper. There are numerous contrasting textures -- soft noodles, a little bite in the calamari, the crunch of the bean sprouts -- and colors -- the bright green of the scallions and red from the curry paste -- which adds visual appeal. The coconut milk adds Thai flavor, as do the lime juice, the heat from the curry paste and umami of the fish sauce. If you don’t like cilantro (I love it), Thai basil might be a nice touch. - jeinde —jeinde
Prepare the rice noodles. Place noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let them soak as you prepare the rest of the soup, but stir them a few times so they don't stick together.
Heat oil in a medium or large saucepan. Add the curry paste to the oil and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk and the chicken broth, then simmer for 2 minutes. Add the squid to the pan, then simmer for 2-4 minutes, until the tubes and tentacles have become opaque.
Stir in the bean sprouts and the greens of the scallions. Season the soup with nam pla, lime juice, and a pinch or two of sugar if you want to add a little sweetness, then remove it from the heat.
Drain the noodles and divide them among 4 serving bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, then garnish with cilantro or parsley.