Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thai-Style Chicken Soup

A fragrant blend of coconut milk, lemon grass, ginger and lime makes a delicious soup, with just a hint of chile.

Whenever you have a roast chicken it is worth using the carcass to make stock. Remove all the skin from the remains of the bird and put the carcass into a large pan. Add roughly chopped onion, carrot, and celery stick, and a bouquet garni. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Skim off the scum and then simmer the stock for 1 hour. Strain through muslin (cheesecloth). Skim of the fat when the stock is cold.

Serves 4.

5 ml/1 teaspoon oil
1-2 fresh red chilies, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large leek, finely sliced
550 ml/18 fl oz/2.5 cups chicken stock
450 ml/0.75 pint/scant 2 cups coconut milk
450 g/1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bitesize pieces
30 ml/2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 lemon grass stalk, split
2.5 cm/1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and crushed
5 ml/1 teaspoon sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
75 g/3 oz/0.75 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)


Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the chilies and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the leek and cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken, fish sauce, lemon grass, ginger, sugar and lime leaves, if using. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes until the chicken is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the peas and cook for 3 minutes longer. Remove the lemon grass and stir in the cilantro just before serving.

Personal Note: My mom sent me this recipe. I didn't even use proper homemade chicken stock (I know--the horror! Don't tell my parents!); I settled for Le Gout-style chicken stock base. I also fiddled a bit with measurements, since I added ddok I happened to find at the Asian grocer's. The result was a thicker, less pale soup, kind of more like porridge or Asia's spunkier/more energetically flavored answer to shepherd's pie. It had a great balance of flavors--gently hot, savory, zesty/near-citrusy (thanks to the lime, lemongrass, and fresh ginger!), and sweet. Cozy-comforting like chicken soup should be, too. And sinus clearing to boot! Robert loved it.

I'm eating a bowl of it now. Good for a rainy evening.

No comments: