For the pickle:
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 2-inch sticks
- 1 cup sauerkraut, drained and rinsed twice
- 1/4 cup frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed and chopped
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 small red or green chile pepper, thinly sliced
For the soup:
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped peeled ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small strips
- 1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 8 ounces wide Chinese lo mein noodles
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Scant 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (or to taste)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Fresh cilantro, basil and chopped peanuts, for topping
Make the pickle: Heat the granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt with the rice vinegar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until dissolved. Combine the cucumber, sauerkraut, cherries, onion and chile pepper in a bowl and pour the hot brine on top. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, or up to 2 weeks.
Make the soup: Grind the garlic, ginger, coriander and turmeric with a mortar and pestle or in a mini food processor to make a paste. Stir in the red curry paste.
Cook the coconut milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in the curry paste mixture and simmer, stirring, 3 more minutes. Add the chicken stock, chicken strips and brown sugar and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the lo mein noodles and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain.
Stir the soy sauce, fish sauce and peanut butter into the soup; cook, stirring until smooth, 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Divide the noodles among 4 large bowls, ladle in the soup and top with the pickle. Top with cilantro, basil and chopped peanuts.
Photograph by Levi Brown