Thai Chicken Soup, Soup-a Doop

…SOUP-A DOOP A DOOP A DOOP

Deadpool hasn’t caused this song to be stuck in my head for the past two weeks AT ALL.

Anyway. I passed my qualification exams for my Ph.D.! That’s where I’ve been – it took forever. My brain is dumber now then it was because I filled it with too much science. TOO MUCH SCIENCE! I didn’t know it was possible.

I made this soup last week. I’ve had the recipe around for a while but I’ve been really into it recently. But making it last week just wasn’t enough to fill my gaping maw. So here we are! Round 2.

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Awwwww yissssss

Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut and Lime
I’m not actually sure where this recipe came from.

  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, roughly chopped (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 tbs freshly grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 2 thai red chili peppers, or red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs red curry paste
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 cup stock or broth
  • 1-2 lbs raw chicken (or fish if your prefer), cut into bite-sized pieces. The recipe calls for 5 pounds but that’s utterly ludicrous.
  • Optional: 2 handfuls of raw mushrooms, roughly chopped. Shiitakes are good.
  • 1 lime
  • Cilantro and/or basil for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are translucent, ~3 minutes.
  2. Add the carrot, ginger, and garlic, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add chilies/red pepper flakes, fish sauce, coconut milk, stock, and red curry paste. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and add the chicken.
  4. Cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes, and then add the mushrooms if using.
  5. Cover again and cook an additional 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve soup with lime wedges and cilantro.

THE RUNDOWN:

1) Ingredients.

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The original recipe doesn’t have mushrooms in it, but as you may or may not know, mushrooms are my shit and I eat them as often as possible. Shiitakes have a great texture for this recipe, just don’t overcook them. You can use either chicken or a mild fish in this soup, but I generally prefer chicken so I don’t feel sketchy about eating leftovers several days hence. I just cubed the chicken up into bite-sized pieces. Rather than thai red chilis, I just used red pepper flakes.

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Two things that people might not have hanging around in their pantries are red curry paste and fish sauce. Fish sauce is essentially fermented salt and anchovies. Spoiler alert: it smells like spoiled, fishy shit and famously almost made my housemate barf in college. However, it’s a staple in thai dishes and it TASTES delicious. How? I don’t know. Magic. You can pick it up at most grocery stores. If not, it’s easy to order online if you don’t have an international grocery nearby.

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Red curry paste is made from cumin, coriander, pepper, salt, red hot chili peppers (lol), lemongrass, galangal (a ginger relative), kaffir lime, garlic, and a few other things – the recipe can vary. You can either make it at home or buy small cans of it, usually at international groceries. I love the cans because after they’re open, you can save the extra paste and it lasts forever. I think I had this can for almost 6 months with no drying or spoiling. Anyway.

2) Prep.

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Grate the ginger. I always keep a couple nubs of it in my freezer, unpeeled. When you need it, you can just grab it, peel the portion you need, and grate it while it’s still frozen. In a previous post on necessary kitchen tools, I highlighted the amazing qualities of the microplane grater; this is a perfect moment to use it.

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Peel!

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Grate!

Next, peel and chop the carrot into bite sized pieces and finely mince the garlic like I showed you that one time I made a chicken. Put all that shit together in a small bowl.

SIDE PROJECT: DICE AN ONION PART 2

Listen. I know that in my last post I showed you how to dice an onion, but I’ve been thinking about it and I feel like I can do a better job. THIS TIME WITH DIAGRAMS!

First, chop the onion from pole to pole (again, not around the equator), and peel off the papery layer. Leave the root end intact, but cut off the brown top.

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1.  Slice vertically (parallel to the poles), as the cut marks above indicate. Make narrow, even slices from one side of the onion to the other, being careful not to cut through the root end that you left intact – this holds the onion together. When you are cutting the portion of the onion close to the cutting board, angle your cuts in a bit. The width of your slices determines the size of the dice, so keep that in mind.
2. and 3. Make 2-3 horizontal slices, again as pictured above. Cut to the root end, but again, keep it intact.

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4. Slice vertically again, but this time perpendicular to the poles. You should have a nice, even chop!

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Next, wash and slice the mushrooms. I use the stems, though some people might not like the texture. Just make sure to slice off the dirt end if you choose to use them.

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Look! Mushrooms.

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Chop the cilantro and slice the limes. Don’t skimp on the lime – it’s standing in for fresh lemongrass here. which is an important flavor profile. Why not just use lemongrass, you ask? Well, the recipe used lime instead. The true reason is lost to the shifting sands of time. Limes are cheaper and easier to find, so that’s a plus. Anyway, I like a good-sized lime wedge for each bowl.

Once all the produce is chopped, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. If you’re using fish, you can cut it too, although it will most likely flake apart as it cooks.

3) Light a fire and cook everything in a big fucking pot. 

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Now that you’ve prepped everything, you basically just dump it in the pot in the order above. Attend:

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1. Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Coconut oil has a low smoke point, so keep an eye on it and don’t use high heat.

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2. Soften the onions, stirring occasionally, approx. 3 minutes.

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3. Add the carrots/garlic/ginger, cook an additional 2 minutes.

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4. Add the chilies/red pepper flakes, fish sauce, coconut milk, stock/broth, and red curry paste. I use about 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, which has a nice kick – if you like it really spicy, you do you. Warning: DO NOT ADD THE FISH SAUCE TO THE HOT POT FIRST. IT WILL MAKE YOUR WHOLE HOUSE SMELL LIKE FERMENTED FISH. You have been warned.

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Stir everything up real good. The curry paste should break up fairly easily.

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5. Bring to a boil.

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6. Add the meat of choice.

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7. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

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8. Add the mushrooms! Cover and cook another 5-7 minutes, until the largest chunk of chicken is cooked through (or if you’re using fish, it’s flaking easily).

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YA DONE.

SCHWIIIIIIIIIIIING

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Squeeze a lime wedge on there and dump some cilantro on top. Feel free to serve with rice like a proper curry as well!

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Idiot tax.

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