Monday, February 7, 2011

Thai Chicken Soup

This is a very untraditional Thai soup. I wanted to make a tasty chicken soup that incorporates traditional Thai flavors with some of my favorite veggies. The complex flavors in the spicy broth compliment the noodles and vegetables. I added kale, snow peas, carrots and bamboo shoots to increase the fiber, antioxidants and folate. Additionally, I braise the chicken in the aromatics and broth to intensify the flavor of both the soup and the chicken. You can substitute pre-cooked chicken if you prefer.

This recipe also heavily features lemongrass. If you're not familiar with this superfood, its a common addition to many Asian dishes and has many health benefits. Lemongrass helps to detoxify the liver, pancreas, kidneys, bladder and digestive tract. It also help to reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol while improving digestion, circulation and reducing acne.

Warning: this is a spicy soup. It will definitely clear your sinuses! However, if you want to cut back on the heat, use less lemongrass, chilies, and cayenne. Taste the soup at every step to ensure a spice level you will enjoy.

Recipe and photos after the jump!

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp minced or chopped garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced thinly
1.5 cups snow peas, sliced thinly
1.5 cups kale, chopped into strips
1 lemongrass stalk, bulb sliced thinly (how to prep lemongrass)
3-5 thai chilies, seeded and chopped (depends on your heat tolerance)
1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh or dried cilantro
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie stock, divided
1 package (6oz) vermicelli rice noodles
4 oz canned bamboo shoots (1/2 can)

Possible substitutions:
If you can't find thai chilies, you can use serrano chiles or thai chilie paste
If you can't find fresh lemongrass, you can usually find canned lemongrass or lemongrass paste in the supermarket

Step by Step Instructions:
1. Chop onion, garlic, carrots, lemongrass and chilies

2. Sautee onion, garlic, carrots, lemongrass and chilies in olive oil until soft, 4-5 minutes

3. Add one cup of stock and chicken breasts, braise until chicken is cooked 10 minutes

4. Remove chicken and shred

5. Add shredded chicken, kale, and additional 3 cups of stock

6. Add cumin, cilantro, cayenne, fish sauce, juice of 1/2 lime, and 2 cups of water

7. Simmer on medium for 10 minutes

8. Add snow peas

9. Add noodles and 2 cups water, cook for 15 minutes on med-low

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