Thai Chicken Soup with rice (Khao Tom Gai)

Adrian has been down and out with the flu – so this morning I promised him the fix all, hearty, spicy Thai chicken Soup with rice that is part congee, part soup. This version has helped our family through many episodes of cold and flu. Add fresh chilli as a garnish along with coriander and chopped spring onions and your sinuses will feel a lot clearer by the time you finish the first bowl. The rice and chicken add nourishment and the stock has a silky texture from the rice being cooked in it.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Ingredients
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 litre chicken stock
1 litre water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons ginger finely sliced
2 chicken thigh fillets chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion finely diced
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 tablespoons fish sauce
Garnish: fresh red chillies, coriander and spring onions

Method
Wash rice and rinse several times
Bring water and chicken stock to boil and then add rice
Simmer for about 20 minutes on a rolling boil until rice is of almost a porridge consistency, adding more water to ensure there is plenty of rice stock
In a seperate large pot, heat vegetable oil then add ginger, garlic and onions and stir fry over medium heat until onion is translucent and there is a bit of caramelisation starting
Add chicken, pepper and fish sauce and stir fry until chicken is cooked about 15 minutes adding some of the rice stock to stop sticking or burning if necessary
(I put the rice on about 10 minutes before cooking the chicken)
Transfer rice and rice stock into pot with chicken and simmer together for 5 minutes until flavours meld together
Garnish and serve in bowls with extra fish sauce added if needed.
Have extra chilli and tissues on hand to help really clear those sinuses.

Before garnish Thai Chicken soup with rice
Before garnish Thai Chicken soup with rice

Balinese Pork

This is one of my partner Adrian’s favourite dishes to cook. The original recipe is from a great little book, The Food of Bali – authentic recipes from the Island of the Gods written by Heinz van Holzen and Lother Arsana. We bought it in Ubud on one of our regular visits during the years that we rented a little villa in Jalan Bisma. This Balinese pork recipe transports us back to the smells of the kitchens of Ubud with its traditional ingredients of sweet soy, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilli all slow cooked to imbue the pork with a sweet, spicy flavour. We have adjusted the original recipe to adding lemongrass and using spring onions rather than the traditional shallots which are more difficult to find.

Authentic recipes from the Island of the Gods by Heinz Van Holzen and Lother Arsana
Authentic recipes from the Island of the Gods by Heinz Van Holzen and Lother Arsana

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Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour
Ingredients
1kg diced pork
1/2 bunch of spring onions
6 cloves of garlic
10 cm of ginger peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
1 stalk lemongrass cut into 4 and sliced lengthwise
5 tablespoons sweet thick soy sauce(kecap manis)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 teaspoons black peppercorns crushed
3 tablespoons vegetable or cocnut oil
2.5 cups chicken stock
5 small red chillies left whole with stem cut off
2 large green chillies cut into long strips, seeds removed

Method
Cut white fleshy part of sping onions from bunch and remove roots and slice in half, keep green leafy part for garnish
Bruise ginger, garlic, lemongrass and sping onion bottoms in a mortar and pestle
Heat oil in large heavy based casserole pot
Add ginger, garlic, lemongrass and sping onions to oil and stir fry for 3 minutes over medium heat until slightly coloured
Add pork and continue to stir fry over high heat until pork is browned and sealed
Add sweet soy sauce and normal soy sauce, black peppercorns and red chilles and stir fry for 1 minute
Add chicken stock and bring to boil, then lower heat to a low flame and simmer mixture for approximately an hour checking regularly to ensure it isn’t sticking at the bottom
You want the end product to have very little sauce left and the meat should be tender, dark brown and shiny.
Chop green leafy part of spring onions and use to garnish pork
Serve with jasmine rice
Serves 2-3
Balinese Pork simmering in chicken stock with 2 types of soy sauce