Cooking | Spicy Lemongrass Chicken Soup
A special date night recipe
When my husband and I were first dating, we didn’t have a lot of money to always go out to eat, despite our common curiosity and love of food. Instead, we decided to purchase a cookbook together. Every week or so, we’d close our eyes and flip open the book. Whatever page we opened up to, we’d cook that recipe, whether it was mushroom tapenade or beef brisket!
Boy we learned a lot about cooking!
Our cookbook collection has multiplied considerably since that first well-used and well-loved Good Housekeeping tome (which we still use today!). Nowadays, when the promise of an at-home date-night looms, we not only blindly pick a book off the shelf, we still blindly choose a recipe!
Recently, we had a yen for exploring Asian cuisine. The recipe below was inspired by a recent date-night delight, wherein I dabbled around with different concoctions. This was hands down, our favorite! It’s truly a feast for the senses—the aroma of freshly sliced ginger and lemongrass, the bright colors of the cilantro, the creaminess of the coconut milk, the tongue-tingling fire of the peppers…nirvana in a bowl!
2 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can coconut milk
2 1/2 C water
1 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 limes (one for zesting, another for juicing)
1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and cut in half
2 red chili peppers, deseeded and cut in half (I used Indian jwala finger hots—you may want to wear gloves deseeding these lovelies!)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 oz of sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper taste
Cilantro for garnish
1. Pour the coconut milk & water into a pan. Add the ginger root slices, lime zest, lemongrass, chilis, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.
2. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 8 minutes.
3. Add the chicken, letting let it all cook for another 8 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or so.
5. Don’t forget to taste the soup along the way and season as necessary. You may want to remove a piece of chicken to ensure it is cooked thoroughly, too.
6. Before serving, remove the chilis, lemongrass and ginger as best you can. Then garnish each bowl with fresh cilantro before serving.
This aromatic and spicy soup is delicious served with warm naan, an Indian flatbread.
And remember, don’t drink water with the soup! The water will only intensify any heat from the peppers; instead, keep a glass of milk handy nearby.
Use shrimp instead of chicken. Add the shrimp towards the end with the mushrooms, as shrimp cooks far faster than chicken.
To “bulk it up” or make the dish last longer, serve it with rice noodles. Rice noodles cook a lot faster than wheat pastas, so don’t prepare the noodles until you’re really ready to serve. (Follow the cooking directions on the package.)