Sep 10

Spicy Chicken & Coconut Soup.




Be it Western or Asian, chicken soup is one heck of a soothing concoction. The wonder food that lifts your spirits and makes you feel just that little bit better about the world.



I really didn’t feel like doing very much today. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to cook a meal, didn’t want to do a single house chore. I looked at the dog and the dog looked back at me expectantly waiting for me to take him out for his walk. I made a face at him and pretended he wasn’t there. Instead I went to the bedroom and prodded R, and made a big deal about how late in the day it was and the dog needed walking. R had been up all night working (as he quite often does), therefore it is not uncommon for him to still be catching up on sleep at 3 in the afternoon. Me, well I was simply palming off my duties and taking advantage of the fact that he was home on a Monday.



I managed to get a grunt. And that was it.



Back in the kitchen I was feeling hungry now. Time to rumage in the fridge and see what I had handy. I found half a zucchini, and some leek which I bought yesterday but never ended up using. I also had two chicken breast fillets and some fresh chillies. In the pantry I had a tin of coconut milk and the usual suspects consisting of garlic, onions and ginger. At this point lunch seemed pretty obvious to me ~ it was going to be a coconut based chicken dish.







So here is what you do basically … slice about 4 generous slices of fresh ginger, wash and slice the leeks and the onion (I used a whole red onion). I didn’t even have cooking oil, for goodness sake, coz I used it all the day before making those deep fried zucchini fritters. I drizzled what was left in the bottle and then made up the rest with butter. Sweat out the ginger, leeks and onion over low heat until fragrant and the onions get translucent. In the words of Alton Brown, ” … if you hear a lot of sizzle then you are sautéeing, not sweating; so turn down your heat”.







Once that is done add in a clove of garlic. If you happen to have bamboo shoots that would be great too. Just slice them into fine jullienes. Now I added in the coconut milk, half a cup of chicken stock and some chili paste. You don’t have to put a lot of chilli; just enough to know its there. I also threw in about ten kaffir lime leaves. I keep a packet of them in my freezer, always at the ready to liven up Asian soups. If I had lemongrass I would have tossed a couple of them in, bruised first of course.



For the chicken, just trim off any excess skin and fat, then cut into bite sized pieces. I like my soup chunky so I cut them into fairly generous bits. Season with salt and pepper, then add to the simmering pot and poach gently since we are using a fairly lean cut of meat. Stringy chicken in nice coconutty soup is a huge no-no. The meat cooks quickly so once you add the chicken you only have to wait about  10 – 15 minutes before your meal is ready for the eating.







OH!! Don’t forget your sliced zucchini too! I put them in the last coz I don’t like limp veggies. I dump in the zucchinis then I cover the pot and turn off the heat. The heat from the liquid is enough to carry on poaching the chicken and the zucchini. And that is it really.



To serve just dish out into bowls, finish off with some finely sliced mint and a few drops of fish sauce for pungency. Either have it with rice or on it’s own. DELISH!! I didn’t have rice on hand either so I had just soup. Soup was all I really wanted anyway.



There really isn’t a recipe for this one, folks. Sorry. But here is the list (without quantities) anyway.

  • Chicken breast
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Red onions
  • Leeks
  • Zucchini
  • Chilli paste
  • Coconut milk
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Chicken Stock
  • Fish sauce
  • Mint leaves



Additional items that would enhance the flavour :

  • Bamboo shoots
  • Lemongrass
  • Tumeric powder



The nice thing about this soup is that you can make it a seafood version as well, just use fish, squid and prawns in place of the chicken ~ the same principle of gentle poaching will be applied. If you find the consistancy not to your liking and want it thicker, then all you need to do is blitz the soup with an immersion blender before you add in the chicken and zucchini. All the onions and leeks will get minced into a puree that will thicken the soup naturally.



I like soups. I find them so nourishing especially when you are having a bummed out day. They really are food for the soul. Anyway, I do hope you find this recipe interesting enough to make you want to try it out yourself. Drop me a line or two if you have any questions. We are on Facebook and Twitter now. I just got R to set up my Twitter account today, and I feel rather smug about that now. I tried doing it on my own earlier today but then I wound up breaking the entire admin site … DOH!! So the lesson here is : Just stick to the food and let the computer geek handle the software.



So until nextime …


~ ENJOY!! ~




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