Wednesday, March 9, 2011

thai inspired chicken soup

Tonight I used the chicken middle bone (or back bone) from the organic whole chicken (see "a whole chicken, a whole week") to make a Thai inspired chicken noodle soup. The aroma was fresh and inviting, and it made a light & fulfilling dinner for two.  If you don't have chicken bones to make stock, use store bought chicken or vegetable stock.  

what you need:
  • chicken bones for stock
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 small bunch Thai basil
  • 2 small Thai chillies
  • 1 lime
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass
  • 1 small onion 
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3-4 slices fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 dashes fish sauce
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 handful green beans
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 2 portions of soft tofu
  • 2 portions of brown rice vermicelli
what to do:
  1. Trim excess fat off the chicken bones.  Add it to a pot with 4-5 cups cold water and bring to a boil, then turn it to medium and let it simmer with the lid on for 15 min.
  2. Roughly chop the onion, celery, chillies and lemon grass.  Smash the garlic cloves.  Rip the kaffir lime and basil leaves/stems a little to release its flavour. Add all of these to simmering stock.  In about 15 minutes, remove the chicken bones.  (When the chicken bones are cool enough to handle, remove any meat and set aside, then return bones to soup)
  3. Turn the burner to medium low and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.  Add a few dashes of fish sauce and a pinch of salt.  Taste the broth - add salt if required.
  4. Chop the green beans and green onions lengthwise on a sharp angle.  Roughly chop the cilantro and grate the carrot.  Cut tofu into 1" pieces.  Set aside.
  5. In another pot, bring 5 cups of cold water to boil.  Put the vermicelli into the water and then turn off heat.  Soak for about 2 min, or until noodles are cooked (be careful not to overcook because they will become soggy and fall apart), drain and put noodles into the bottom of two bowls.
  6. Turn off the heat for the stock and sieve out the aromatics (bones, onions, celery, etc.), return stock to the pot and bring to a gentle boil.  Add the tofu and green beans, cook for about 2 minutes then turn off the heat.
  7. Top the noodles with carrots, cilantro, green onion and chicken (removed early from the bone).  Ladle broth, tofu and green beans into bowl until noodles are well covered.  Serve with a slice of lime, chopsticks and a spoon.  Enjoy!
toppings ready for soup
removing aromatics once they have flavoured the stock

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