Making this Thai Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup on a weeknight is speedy when you take smart shortcuts. Yes, you could buy a laundry list of hard-to-find ingredients to build amazing flavor in this soup, or you could buy a jar of concentrated red curry paste which delivers authentic flavor in paste form.
3 scallions, chopped, white and green parts separated
Cilantro, 6 tablespoons minced
Basil, 3 tablespoons, chiffonade
1 sweet potato, peeled, quartered and sliced thin
2 chicken breasts, split lengthwise and sliced thin (about 1.5 pounds)
1 tablespoon oil (vegetable, canola, or olive)
2 tablespoons red curry paste
4 cups chicken broth (I like water mixed with Better than Bouillon or homemade)
4 teaspoons fish sauce, divided
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk (You can substitute light coconut milk)
2 limes, juiced
Mis en place
Mince scallion whites and slice green tops thin, keeping white and green parts separated. Mince cilantro, chiffonade the basil. Peel sweet potato, quarter, then slice thin. Trim chicken and half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. Season with salt and pepper.
Build flavor base
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-heat. Add curry paste, scallion whites, and half of the cilantro. Cook and stir about one minute, until fragrant.
Stir in broth, half the fish sauce, coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Now is the time to taste and adjust the heat if you want it spicier.
Cook chicken and sweet potatoes
Remove lid and increase heat to medium-high, add sweet potato and chicken, and cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked and sweet potato is tender.
Finish and serve
Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice of two limes into the soup. Stir in remaining fish sauce, cilantro, basil, and scallions. Or you could put these in little bowls and let everyone top their own soup.