Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thai Chicken Soup

Some people might ask, don't you ever get sick of soup? And I would No I don't. If I had to retire to an Island (a chilly Island...) and could only request two things to live on for the rest of my days, I would choose 1. Soup and 2. Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies. And this would be a really clever thing because there are so many kinds of soup.

In Thailand, where right now it is at least 85 degrees (as I watch snowflakes swirl out the window...) there is a dish called Kow Mun Gai. Translated directly, this means Rice with Chicken. But it is so much more. Someday I'll make it and post a recipe...but the moral of the story is, this delectable dish comes with a bowl of chicken soup-- flavored with cilantro and ginger and bits of carrot and Thai turnip. And it is delicious.

I tried a (failed) attempt at another Thai soup last week, and after looking into the pot at the curdled coconut milk (who knew?) I thought to myself...why didn't just make the chicken soup? So the next day, I did.

I made my version a bit more hearty, with chunky carrots and turnips, Thai radish, and a good amount of chicken. We also added a little bit of rice to our bowls to make it into more of a meal. We both loved it, and felt perfectly satisfied afterwards. Which, with my husband, is saying something...he can eat, and eat, and EAT.


1 onion
1/2 pimento pepper
2 carrots, peeled 
1 turnip, peeled 
1 dakai, peeled
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs ginger, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, tied
7 cups chicken broth
4 chicken drumsticks
2 tbs soy sauce
white pepper

Chop up the onion, garlic, and pepper. 
Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a pan (or wok if you really want to get authentic...) and toss it all in. Chop the ginger up (peal it first) and add that as well, with a few dashes of white pepper and 1 tbs soy sauce.
Chop up the root veggies and toss them in the crock pot (obviously). The Dakai looks like this (pictured below) and is sort of like a mix between a radish and a turnip. I found it in the produce section of Market Basket.
 I did a nice chunky cut on all the roots, so we'd have something to chew on...
Salt and pepper the chicken legs and nestle them down among the veggies. Give a good shake of white pepper over it all, and add the rest of the soy sauce. Tie up the cilantro bunch, and place it in there as well.

Then, pour in the chicken broth, put the cover on, and you're all set! I cooked mine on high for about 6 hours.

Before serving, remove the cilantro and the chicken. Throw the cilantro away, and shred up the legs so that there will be nice bits of meat in the soup, not four hard-to-eat-with-a-spoon legs. 

Like I said before, we ate ours served over about a 1/4 cup of jasmine rice. With a lime on the side. But I had it for lunch the following day without rice, and it was still filling. But the lime is key, since ginger, cilantro, and lime are three of the most iconic Thai flavors. 
Coming up next, I have a better-for-you creamy Parmesan pasta with sausage and broccoli. Enjoy a sunny Wednesday if you are not in New England. If you are, then I'm sorry, and I'm right there with you.

Here's to Summer. Just a casual five months away.

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