Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I ordered take-out Thai chicken coconut soup one night for dinner while working in the crisis center. To be honest, it wasn't that good. But I knew it had potential. So, I decided to make it myself  to see if I could improve on this classic Southeast Asian dish. 

My version is filled with brightly colored vegetables, earthy shiitake mushrooms and tender chicken. It has a mellow sweetness from the coconut milk and a feisty kick from the chili pepper and ginger. Thai basil and lime finish things off with a pop. 

This soup is both comforting and refreshing. It's good in hot weather as well as chilly winter nights. You can change it up by adding whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. You can make this entirely vegetarian/vegan by using vegetable stock and tofu. It's very versatile.  Have fun and experiment. 

Thai Coconut Soup Recipe

You'll Need:
  • 1 1/2 cans of coconut milk. I like using Thai Kitchen brand. Reserve a tablespoon or two of the coconut cream at the top of the can. I use full fat. 
  • 1 1/2 cups of water.
  • 2 Rapunzel Vegan Bouillon Cubes I love this vegetable bouillon. It a pure, clean flavor. 
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 6 asparagus spears, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (leave the seeds in for more heat) 
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated ( I use a microplane zester for this)
  • 1 lime, zest  it and juice it reserving the juice
  • 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • kosher or sea salt to taste.
  • Thai basil and diced scallions for serving
The Rundown:

Place the coconut milk, water, bouillon cubes, red pepper, yellow squash, asparagus, jalapeno pepper and ginger in a pot and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste. When the vegetables start to become tender, add the chicken and mushrooms. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Then almost immediately turn down the heat and simmer gently until the chicken is tender and cooked, being careful not to overcook it. Adjust the salt. 

Finish the soup with the diced scallions, torn basil, a little fresh lime juice and a tablespoon or two of the coconut cream. Alternatively, you can serve each bowl with a wedge of lime, diced scallions and some torn basil leaves. Enjoy!

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