½ pound rice noodles
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup fresh cilantro
2 green chiles
2 green onions
1 small yellow or white onion
1 bell pepper
⅔ pound boneless, skinless chicken parts
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅛ teaspoon asafoetida* or ½ teaspoon dried chives
1 teaspoon minced ginger
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon timur powder* or Szechuan pepper* or red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon turmeric
5 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
* = These can be found online. Use sonic obliterator on those who complained if you substituted.
Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.
Cook noodles according to instructions on package. Be sure to stir occasionally so noodles don’t stick together. Drain. Rinse with cold water. Mince garlic. Seed green chiles. Dice cilantro, green chiles, green onions, and yellow onion. Julienne bell pepper and carrots. Cut chicken into strips 1½” long and ¼” wide.
Add olive oil, garlic, and yellow onion to pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until yellow onion softens. Stir frequently. Add chicken strips. Sauté at medium heat for 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Stir frequently. Add asafoetida, bell pepper, carrot, cilantro, minced ginger, green chile, green onion, pepper, salt, timur powder, tomatoes, and turmeric. Stir until well blended. Add chicken broth. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir enough to prevent burning. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add lemon juice and stir. Divide noodles into bowls. Ladle chicken soup over noodles.
1) There are reasons why the Nepalis love Chicken Thukpa so much. It’s soup. Who doesn’t love soup? It has chiles in it. Who loves chiles? People in hot climates, such as Mexico and Kenya.
2) But just because you love to put spicy chiles in your food doesn’t necessarily mean you can abide your land’s hot, sweltering weather. You leave your homeland in search of cooler climes and you take along with you the seeds of your beloved in chiles.
3) In fact, culinary historians and anthropologists say the first such migration occurred when Lucy of Olduvai Gorge, a hominid, butterfly* collector, persuaded her tribe to search out cool, pleasant pastures where chicken herds teemed. * = Butterfly fossils are hard to find.
4) And so Lucy’s tribe trekked north. They got lost many times as their GPS didn’t work and the men refused to ask for directions.
5) They continued their march to the European-North American land bridge, evolving along the way and relaxing with a good game of bridge during rest stops.
6) A long time later, give or take a year, the Evolving Hominids–Isn’t that a great name for a rock ‘n’ roll band?–found Mexico where they naturally united with the Polloan Pueblo. The combined chile-seed-carrying Oldupo People crossed over the North American-Asian land bridge and eventually found themselves in what is now modern-day Nepal.
7) The Oldupo loved the cool breezes coming down from Nepal’s Himalayan mountains and decided to settle down and finish their evolving there. So, we’ve explained the Nepali’s love of chile, but what about chicken? Chicken Thukpa has chicken it. What about that?
8) The meteor of 66 million years ago that wiped out nearly all dinosaurs, did not result in the extinction of the gigantic Pullumosaur. This dinosaur chicken stretched to 90 feet in length and stood 80 feet high. It’s very size intimidated the heck out of the predators, who noted the Cretaceous maxim, “There’s nothing more dangerous than colossal giant chicken.”
9) The pullumosaurs managed to dodge the extinction of its fellow dinosaurs with the simple expedient of burying their head in the sand until the meteor event ran its course.
10) More than a bit skittish, the dinosaur chickens departed for a new home free of meteors. By a strange coincidence, the pullumosaurs–after many exciting adventures–found themselves in modern-day Nepal.
11) Unfortunately, Nepal simply didn’t have enough food to support countless herds of gigantic chickens. Over time, evolutionary pressures shrank the pullumosaur in size to our current chicken.
12) When the Oldupo of tidbit 7) arrived in Nepal, they naturally wondered if chickens would be tasty. Would they go with chiles? They wondered and wondered until Juana Lucy first ate one. “They taste just like chicken,” she shouted. “I bet they’ll make a great soup mixed with chiles.” Ever since, the Nepali descendants of the Oldupo have loved Chicken Thuka Soup. And so do I.