Friday, 24 July 2009

Tyler's Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Sesame Breadsticks

Yesterday it poured all day. Personally I like the rain, especially in the milder months. It makes me feel nicely cocooned in my little kitchen, a world in itself. For my commuters, however, the rain can be a chilling inconvenience and there is nothing nicer to come home to than a spicy bowl of nourishing soup. Plus breadsticks of course, soup is nothing if not a vehicle for bread, as far as we are concerned.
For the breadsticks, just use about a half a loaf's worth of your favourite bread dough and slice into strips, rolling and twisting in sesame seeds. (I seasoned mine with a little 5 spice powder, I don't mind mixing and matching my Asian flavours) Set your breadsticks on a baking pan and bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes or until baked to your liking. You can either refrigerate the rest of your dough or make a couple of buns out of it for lunches. I used whole wheat dough. Pizza dough would also work fine.
The soup I made according to the recipe, except that I minced the ginger and Thai chilies right into the soup and I subbed bamboo shoots for the straw mushrooms. Ooh, and doubled the garlic of course! It was so fragrant and soothing, a perfect soup for Deb's Souper Sunday party.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Tyler Florence, Eat This Book

1 quart chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, cracked open with the flat side of a knife
3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 small Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) can straw mushrooms, rinsed
4 limes, juiced (My limes were big and I didn't need all 4, go by taste)
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, chilies, and garlic. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and gently simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.
Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, mushrooms, lime juice, and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through; season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into a soup tureen or individual serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro. Be careful to remove the lemongrass and lime leaves.
Yield: 4 servings

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