When we announced Soup Month, several of you commented that you'd like recipes and tips for Asian soups. Then we remembered an article from our Times Top 5 at the beginning of January about Southeast Asian noodle soups that we thought we'd revisit. As the author writes, "These are chicken noodle soups you want to bathe in." Soups from Southeast Asia are complicated only in the ingredients. You'll need to get your hands on lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, thai basil, and a few spices you might not have, like turmeric or coriander. But to be honest, you can substitute cilantro for thai basil, and kaffir lime leaves are usually listed as optional. Other ingredients like chili paste, coconut milk, and fish sauce are sold everywhere.
The spices and herbs are the thing; otherwise, you're just making a chicken soup. So there's no fancy technique that only Thai chefs have mastered—and no reason to be intimidated.