Whenever I am feeling under the weather, my go-to dish is chicken soup. Though I’ve made it a handful of times this year, I have never bothered to transcribe it for you all — devoid of salt and more medicinal than culinarily commendable, it serves its purpose as a tonic for what ails you. As long as what ails you isn’t a desire for something delicious.
And so, I am happy to finally bring you a recipe for chicken soup that you might actually want to make! This one is Thai-inspired, and the lemongrass-scented broth is anything but boring. It is aromatic and lovely, with a dollop of chili paste for some sinus-clearing spice. The soup is great on its own, but feel free to add some rice noodles if you’re in the mood for a heartier meal.
I’ve included an ingredient that is very traditional in Thai cooking — a root called galangal. Available at most Asian grocery stores, it looks much like fresh ginger, but with a lighter, more transparent skin. It also happens to be a bit more stringy and tough than ginger, so I find that grating it on a microplane produces the best results, releasing lots of its citrusy, pine-y aroma without adding any fibrous bits to your finished recipe. If you don’t have a microplane, just cut a few coins of galangal root and smash them a bit with a mallet or the bottom of a pan. Add these to your soup, then remove them before serving. Oh, and if you can’t find this slightly obscure ingredient, feel free to leave it out or substitute some ginger instead.
Coconut Lemongrass Chicken Soup
4 C. low sodium chicken broth
1 lemongrass stalk, peeled, trimmed down to 5″ and minced finely
1-inch knob galangal root, microplaned
1 tsp. sambal oelek chili paste (Huy Fong)
1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ pieces
1 C. (3 oz.) oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 large carrot, sliced 1/8″ thick on the diagonal
3/4 C. light coconut milk (Thai Kitchen)
2 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (Three Crabs)
1 tsp. organic cane sugar
1/2 C. cilantro leaves
2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1. Heat the broth in a medium (2-1/2 quart) saucepan over a medium-high flame.
2. When the broth comes to a boil, add the lemongrass, galangal, sambal oelek, and chicken breast. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
3. Add the mushrooms, sliced carrot, coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Turn heat back up to medium-high, let come up to a simmer, then turn down to low and let simmer another 2 minutes or so, until carrots are al dente.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro and green onions.