Sometimes I see things quite clearly but it takes a bit for them to fall into place. At times I want to rush the process but when it’s not quite solid in my mind, it gets tucked away. And when I least expect it, it hits me like a pile of bricks. I can’t stop thinking about it and want it more than anything.
So this recipe took shape. I wrote the name of it months ago and did nothing with it. I’d glance at it occasionally in my reminders and ignore it. I knew I wanted to make it but the details were blurry. However, several days ago, as I sat at my grey desk at work, surrounded by fluorescent lights, emails dinging away, I saw it all before me; colorful, each ingredient pouring out of my thoughts as though I’d made it before. I feverishly wrote, seeing it unfold in my mind’s eye.
I don’t question these moments. They can’t be chased, sought out or wished for. They happen as if by divine intervention. They feel real, raw and gratifying.
But the truth is, this recipe is anything but miraculous - it’s just really damn good. Saying that about my own food makes me sound slightly if not quite narcissistic but I’ll be honest, I loved it. It took one try - because I knew what I wanted it to be. I sat over the pot with spices at the ready…adding steadily until it became a reality. For this coconut soup, the broth is everything.
The beauty is that you most likely already have these ingredients in your pantry and fridge. You need coconut milk, broth, spices, a few veggies and rotisserie chicken. That's right - I wanted to keep it simple and find that rotisserie chicken adds a unique flavor to the broth.
But there’s one ingredient that makes this whole dish - and that’s lemongrass. It seems insignificant, considering that it’s just a stalk but I assure you, it’s where the flavor lies. Most grocery stores carry it and if not, good old Amazon is always a good option. I promise, you won’t regret making the effort to obtain it as it will truly make the soup.
thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 25
makes: 4-6 servings
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 smashed peeled cloves of garlic
1 big stalk of lemongrass snapped in 4 pieces
1 can full fat coconut milk
1” knob fresh ginger, grated
4 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp coconut sugar (skip for w30)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 red pepper, finely sliced or 4 mini peppers
1 pint thinly sliced white mushrooms
2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
1 tbsp chopped Thai or regular basil + extra for garnish
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
optional: 1 russet potato peeled and cubed
large soup pot
Bring chicken broth, coconut milk, red Thai chili paste, coriander, smashed garlic, ginger and lemongrass to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on low for 10 minutes.
Add mushrooms, red pepper, sugar, salt and chicken and (potato optional) and cook for another 15 minutes on low until veggies have softened.
Lastly, add basil and cilantro, lime juice, remove lemon grass and if you wish garlic cloves and serve with additional chopped basil.
I like to serve this with a 1/4 cup white rice in the center or simply on its own.