Hot & Sour Thai Chicken Soup
This classic Thai soup, known in Thailand as dtom jiw gai, could well earn a place as your favorite comfort food at this time of year. In this case, it also earns points for being comfortingly fast to prepare. The soup should be equally hot, sour and salty, recipe developer Pam Simmons says.You can start by using the combination of ingredients that she lists here, although she points out that the soup can be easily adjusted to suit your family’s preference in seasonings. If you don’t have any garlic chili pepper sauce around, any hot sauce you’re used to using may be substituted. But be warned, Simmons adds: Other sauces, Tabasco, for example, may be hotter. So taste and check your seasonings carefully.In this adaptation of the recipe for American home cooks, six strips of lime peel replace the Kaffir lime leaf that the original calls for. If you can find Kaffir lime leaf locally, Simmons says, use two or three leaves instead of the strips.Ingredients: 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned
12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh4 quarter-size slices of ginger root1 teaspoon brown sugar4 stalks lemon grass (see note)2 limes3 tablespoons minced shallots2 tablespoons fish sauce1 to 2 tablespoons garlic chili pepper sauce
2 tablespoons chopped cilantroPreparation: Add to a medium soup pot; broth, chicken, ginger and brown sugar.To prepare lemon grass, remove all but bottom 5 inches of stalks. Place 8 to 10 outside sheaths into soup pot (it’s used like bay leaf). Mince the bottom 2 inches of the tender inside leaves and set aside 2 to 3 tablespoons.With a potato peeler, peel 6 strips of rind from one lime and add to broth. (Make sure to use only outer green rind – not any inside white pith, which is bitter-tasting.) Bring broth to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cover, and cook at an active simmer for 15 minutes.While chicken is cooking, grate rind (and no pith) of remaining lime to measure 1 teaspoon and set aside. Then juice limes, to measure out 3 tablespoons juice; set aside.When chicken is cooked through, remove from broth to plate, and shred with two forks. Strain broth of any solids.
Put chicken and any accumulated juices back into seasoned broth. To the pot, add minced lemon grass, grated lime rind and juice, shallots, fish sauce and garlic chili pepper sauce. Bring back to a simmer and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately. Serve small bowls of chopped cilantro and garlic chili pepper sauce on the side for added garnish and spice.Makes 4 servings as a starter, 2 servings as a main course.Note: You may double the recipe to make 4 main-course servings. If you do, you do not need to buy more lemon grass than for the basic recipe: use some of the upper stalks for seasoning the broth, instead of discarding them.(Recipe from A Taste of Thai/Andre Prost)Recipes and information on the Web: http://www.atasteofthai.com
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