Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Detox Resolution Recipe Series: Using whole grains, vegetables, lean meats and healthier fats in recipes that you may find taste really good!

My friend Kathy is visiting from Colorado and  came down with a miserable cold. Thankfully the symptoms aren’t alarming enough to warrant drugs, so  I’m reverting to the age-old restorative cure: Chicken Noodle Soup.

Not just any chicken soup, we wanted to make a chicken soup with an edge. The Thai peppers we saw at Whole Foods provided just the inspiration we needed. Between hot chili paste and peppers, this chicken soup will be more like an exorcism than a detox.

Thai recipes are not what I gravitate towards when I’m short on time. One recipe can be a lengthy chapter so my codicil was if an ingredient can be eliminated, let’s get rid of it.

We’re cutting calories after the holidays so I substituted reduced-fat coconut milk for whole coconut milk. I wish I could report the switch went unnoticed; we missed the rich flavor whole coconut milk would have lent to the soup. I can’t guarantee this to be fact, but I’ll bet you won’t find low-fat coconut milk in recipes used at favorite local Thai restaurants. However, coconut milk could be eliminated altogether in the recipe and the soup would still be tasty and restorative.

Always use plastic gloves when handling peppers, especially peppers you may not be familiar with; the seeds can be napalm. Kathy shocked us by popping an entire Thai pepper in her mouth. Crunching on the small pepper, she told us, without a flinch, that it was actually sweet. How could that be? In the past I’ve driven myself to the emergency room with hot pepper burns, no joke.

Within minutes she couldn’t speak because her tongue was swollen. I gave her sugar and ice to make the swelling subside and it worked. I’m thinking Thai peppers will scare every germ from our systems, indeed the entire house will be disinfected.  I’m serving the chopped little demons on the side to accommodate individual tastes.

When I make basic chicken noodle soups, I add the noodles in the last few minutes to the simmering broth. To save a pot, you could cook the noodles in the soup but I think it makes the broth too starchy. For a better complex carbohydrate option, substitute a Thai rice for the pasta. The People’s Co-op and Whole Foods carry Fair Trade whole-grain rices that would be wonderful. The Heirloom Whole Grain Ruby Red Jasmine from Thailand comes to mind.

Recipe: Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1-3 tablespoons chili paste with garlic
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14oz). can coconut milk
  • 8 ounces Asian noodles
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves*
  • Florets from 1 head broccoli, washed
  • 2 tablespoons Thai basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Condiments (served on the side)

  • Chopped peanuts
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Thai peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil to medium heat. Sauté lemon grass for 4 minutes then stir in garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and 1 tablespoon chili paste. Sauté an additional 2-4 minutes or until lemongrass is just tender.
  2. Add 6 cups chicken stock and coconut milk and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. While soup is simmering, bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
  4. In a large sauté pan, heat remaining peanut oil to medium heat and sauté chicken until just cooked through.
  5. Taste simmering soup and add more fish sauce and chili paste to taste. Add broccoli florets to soup, additional stock if desired, and cook 3-4 minutes or until broccoli is just tender. Stir chicken, Thai basil and cilantro into soup.
  6. Divide noodles into individual bowls; ladle soup over noodles, and serve with condiments.

*To slice chicken paper thin, partially freeze chicken breasts in advance to slicing.

Time: 45 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6 main course servings

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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