Thai flavoured chicken and vegetable noodle soup

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather with the flu and the only thing I felt like eating was a light but flavoursome chicken soup. This version of chicken soup combines Thai flavours like galangal and lemongrass with fresh green vegetables and poached chicken and is full of goodness but omits the traditional coconut milk which often features in Thai chicken soups like Tom Ka Ghai.

Prep time: 5 minutes  Cooking time: 1 hour
Ingredients

Poached chicken and stock
4 thigh chicken fillets on the bone, skin and fat removed
1 carrot peeled and chopped in large pieces
4 celery stalks chopped in large pieces
Large knob of fresh galangal peeled and chopped
Large knob of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
1 stalk lemongrass bruised then chopped roughly
4 cloves garlic
4 stalks spring onions chopped roughly
1 red chilli chopped
2.5-3 litres water

Soup
1/2 brown onion sliced finely
2 handfuls of honeysnap peas
5 button mushrooms sliced thickly
1 stalk bok choy finely chopped
4 cloves of boiled garlic retained from the stock and crushed into a paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Shredded chicken
Handful coriander chopped
1 lime
125g vermicelli rice noodles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tspn sesame oil

Method
Place chicken and stock ingredients in large stock pot and bring to a boil
Lower heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes, skimming surface to remove any “scum” that appears
Remove chicken pieces from stock and set aside to cool
Strain remaining stock to remove vegetables, reserving the loves of garlic for the soup
Shred the chicken and discard the bones
Heat vegetable and sesame oil in seperate saucepan
Add onion and cook gently until transparent
Add paste of crushed garlic cloves and mix through onions
Add honeysnap peas, fish sauce, pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes
Add bok Choy and mushrooms and stir fry for 1 minute
In the meantime bring stock back to a rolling boil, add vermicelli noodles and shredded chicken and cook for 1 minute, add vegetable mixture and cook for another minute or so.
Garnish with coriander and fresh chilli.
Squeeze over lime juice and add extra fish sauce to taste.

Serves 3-4

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