Rich, creamy, and packed with uncompromising flavor from a slew of aromatics and shrimp paste, this classic Northern Thai soup combines tender braised chicken in a coconut-y curry broth with boiled and fried noodles. Our version is the real deal, straight from the streets of Chiang Mai.
Think of the best chicken soup you've had: steaming hot, rich, comforting, and soul-satisfying to the core. Now add to that the complex fragrance of fresh Thai herbs like lemongrass, galangal, a sweet shallots. And wait, we're not done yet! To that base, add a big fat pinch of warm Northern Thai spices and you're starting to get an idea of what yum jin gai is all about.
Gazpacho may be the cold summer soup of choice, but Korea's mul naengmyun should be added to everyone's list of filling hot-weather fare. With a refreshing, lightly sweet-tart broth, slick, chewy noodles, and crisp topping like cucumber and pickled radish, it packs in flavor while beating the heat.
A staple for breakfast and lunch in many Asian countries, congee is rice and water (or broth) cooked down into a thick porridge. Everyone does it slightly different. It can be cooked using different grains of rice, different kinds and amounts of liquid, and different cooking times. Every choice can affect the final flavor and consistency. After much trial and error, I've arrived at the ideal recipe for a congee that's silky and comforting instead of sludgy or overly heavy.
This corn soup, from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer Purcell (co-authored with Sandy Gluck), is laced with a bit of chipotle powder for a smoky, toasty edge, which is enhanced by roasting the corn kernels with poblano and red bell peppers. A simple and sweet broth is made by simply simmering the cobs in water for a short spell, and the soup is finished with heavy cream, because why not. It looks rich, but it feels surprisingly light and goes down all too easily.
This Cuban shrimp soup is ramped up with citrusy, mojo-inspired flavors. A base of sautéed onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and ample garlic gives way to an oregano- and cumin-spiked broth. Then, thin angel-hair noodles cook right in the broth, as do shell-on shrimp, which are peeled after they're poached, allowing the shells to add extra flavor in the process.
This refreshing gazpacho gets a Mexican-inspired twist from tomatillos and smoky, grill-singed vegetables (including a jalapeño!). Garnished with grilled shrimp, traditional bell pepper, and onion, it makes a light but filling summertime main.
This vegetable soup from Jody Williams' cookbook, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food, is impeccable—clean, light, and nourishing. Topped with a spoonful of heady pistou, it's the epitome of the harmony that can happen with a thoughtful collision of fresh ingredients.
You hear cucumber-yogurt soup, and you might think of slim-waisted, still-hungry women sipping delicate spoonfuls. Diana Henry's version in A Change of Appetite is less 'ladies who lunch' and more Elaine Stritch singing "Ladies Who Lunch:" ballsy, dynamic, and unexpectedly complex.
Sweet ripe melon is a perfect candidate for the gazpacho treatment, yielding a coral-colored, subtly fruity chilled soup.
Almonds, garlic, and plenty of olive oil join together to create this rich, silky soup that is traditionally garnished with sweet green grapes.
Rich, hot beer-cheese soup may not sound like ideal summer fare, but this version is made with a warm-weather cookout star—smoky grilled brats—that transform it into a dish that's seasonally appropriate. Flavored with cheddar and spiked with a bit of Velveeta for improved texture, it's my go-to meal when I want a taste of my Midwestern roots.
There's no reason to give up soup just because warm weather has arrived. Rather, it's a great way to showcase the season's best. Case in point: this savory-sweet, luxuriously creamy corn chowder that's studded with pancetta and finished with garlicky croutons.
Sort of like congee, but from Portugal and made with stale bread instead of rice, this deeply satisfying soup (it's really more like a porridge), is rich with garlic, olive oil, cilantro, chorizo, and a softly poached egg.
Invented by resourceful Taiwanese fisherman as a way of making money during the off season, this delicious noodle soup is packed with a flavorful pork-and-shrimp broth, long-simmered meat sauce, pleasantly chewy wheat noodles, and one lone ceremonious shrimp. The broth and meat sauce require a bit of advance planning, but once ready, it's an incredibly easy dish to throw together.
Tender baby spinach and red shen choy are briefly simmered just until wilted, then served very simply in a broth flavored with lightly browned garlic. I can't think of an easier way to put a delicious side dish on the table.
This simple soup combines dried shiitake mushrooms with chicken and scallions in a light chicken and mushroom broth, along with thin wonton noodles. It's an easy but filling meal with delicate flavors and a soul-satisfying warmth. The secret is all in the mushrooms.
Clams are a great way to get into seafood stews and curries if you aren't quite ready to take the plunge into fish, and this stew, made with chilies, ginger, turmeric, tomatoes, and coconut, is a particularly good way to enjoy them.