Kitchen Mischief is back from our holiday of thanks and gluttony. Josh reports very little mischief at his family gathering; I, on the other hand, will refrain from speaking negatively about the day. Mom reads my blog and I fear the phone call I would receive afterward. Plus, she would probably be rather embarrassed that I told everyone that she wanted us to change out the kitchen light fixture while I was cooking. Is it normal to wear one of those miner’s helmet with the light attached while preparing a Thanksgiving feast? Not at my family’s house. Sorry mom.
If you are like me, the smell of turkey and dressing sends you into a coughing and gagging fit; so last night while Ray threw away the last of the leftovers, I made us a little Thai chicken coconut soup. I know when you see the ingredient list below you may think that I ransacked an Asian market but I really bought most of this at our local mega mart and maybe Whole (Paycheck) Foods. Believe it or not, this soup can be on your table in less than hour.
A few things before we get to the recipe. The original recipe calls for fish sauce. We cannot use fish sauce in our house because of Ray’s allergy (so he says) to fish. Soup should be warm and comforting, not send you to the hospital. So I substituted soy sauce for fish sauce. Also, I was able to find lime leaves at Whole Foods. These little babies are cheap and pack a punch (steep them in a good green tea). If you can’t find them, use a vegetable peeler to remove a few strips of zest from a lime. Last thing, if you can’t find Thai chilies – use Serrano chilies, they are a staple in most mega marts.
Thai Coconut Soup with Chicken and Tofu
2 32 oz boxes of chicken broth
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut in large chunks
2 14 oz cans of coconut milk
10 quarter-sized slices of ginger
2 lemon grass stalks, cut in large chunks
3 Thai chilies, de-ribbed and seeded
5 lime leaves (or 3 large slices of lime zest)
10 whole peppercorns
½ teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon chili oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or fish sauce)
7 oz (½ loaf) firm tofu, medium diced
2 scallions, sliced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
In a stock pot, add the chicken broth and heat over medium heat. With the back of a heavy knife or rolling pen, whack each piece of lemon grass to open the stalks. Add lemon grass, ginger, chilies, lime leaves and pepper corns to an 8”x8” piece of cheese cloth and tie into a bundle.
Add bundle and diced chicken to broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in coconut milk, chili-garlic sauce, chili oil, soy sauce and tofu.
Simmer for 10 additional minutes. Serve with scallions and mushrooms.
-Add rice noodles for a hardy noodle bowl
-Add pre-made dumplings
Let’s keep the mischief to a minimum when it comes to working with chilies. These bad boys are HOT! So here a few tips for keeping the heat down: When working with any kind of chili, wear gloves to keep the oils from burning your skin. It may not burn your fingers but wipe your eye or nose and the phrase “feel the burn” has a whole new meaning.
To make chilies a little less hot, remove the seeds and ribs. Holding your knife horizontally, slowly cut out both.