The very first time I tried Thai food was at the Chiang Mai Kitchen in Oxford, in 1994. It had opened the year before, and was somewhere I just had to try. Whilst my memory is far from photographic in terms of all the ingredients which made up the Tom Yum Poh Thek (mixed seafood soup), I will never forget the effect. The slow heat gradually reaching a crescendo of heat, sharp burn then followed by my personal record time in consuming a Tiger beer to dry and douse the smouldering fire in my mouth. In spite of what I have just written, I absolutely loved it. 20 years ago, the combination of ingredients and spices was a completely new experience, and I was simply not accustomed to it.
Fast forward 20 years and Thai cooking, let alone availability of speciality ingredients is far more ubiquitous. Whilst I am not mad on the term ‘fusion’, I do knock up a fair number of recipes which fall somewhere between Japanese, Thai, or Chinese. I am sure food purists will be justifiably appalled by my approach – however I make what I can with the ingredients I can find at the time. Not living in a large or culturally diverse city (to be more accurate, a small village on the outskirts of Wakefield which boasts a pub, postbox, and bus stop as far as amenities go) means that certain ingredients are much harder to find than others. the solution? – substitution, and of course, online shopping…
Last weekend, Autumn happened as if by clockwork. With family visiting, I wanted to find something quick, easy and warming for an autumnal evening, and thought back to my experience at Chaing Mai. By chance, the excellent Bing Food & Drink app on my Windows phone (yes, I am in the minority who has not succumbed to the marketing machine that is apple) and found a recipe which I adapted to end up with a Thai Chicken and Coconut Noodle Soup Recipe.
As I have rambled on before, I am all for reducing washing up and wherever possible. This can be all made in one large saucepan. Simple cook the noodles first, drain, then reserve for later.
Coconut Thai Chicken Soup
- 3 medium-sized skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced into strips
- 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp of Thai green curry paste
- 20 g of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
- 400 ml of light coconut milk
- 750 ml of chicken stock
- 2-3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tbsp of fish sauce
- 150 g of egg or ramen rice noodles
- 200 g of green beans, washed and trimmed.
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- small bunch of fresh washed coriander, stalks removed and roughly chopped
- 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly chopped
- - 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
- First, bring a large pan of slightly salted water to the boil and cook the noodles until al dente. Depending on the thickness of the noodles, this could take 2-3 minutes. Drain, then set aside. Tip: you may want to pour the hot water into the serving bowls to keep them warm whilst you cook the soup. Rinse out the saucepan to use again.
- Meanwhile, peel and julienne the ginger and carrots.
- Next, slice the chicken breasts into thin strips.
- Then, trim and slice the spring onions at an angle, and prepare the chilli, lime, and chop the coriander. Make up 750ml of chicken stock, and open a can of light coconut milk. All your preparation is now completed.
- Heat the oil in the saucepan, and add the thai green curry paste. Add the ginger, and heat through. Then, add the chicken stock, kaffir lime leaves,fish sauce and coconut milk, then cover and bring to the boil.
- Next, add the chicken strips to the broth, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Then, add the trimmed beans and julienned carrots, cover, and simmer for a further 4-5 mins.
- Add the sliced spring onion and chopped coriander, and simmer for a further 2 minutes.
- Finally, divide the noodles between the bowls, and ladle the soup evenly between the helpings. Garnish with the red chilli, and lime wedges. Serve immediately.