Thai Chicken Soup – with an authentic Thai cook
My younger daughter, the seven-year-old, is participating in our local library’s summer reading program. We stop in at the library once a week to pick out new books. On a recent trip, while wandering among the shelves, she spotted a children’s cookbook of Thai recipes.
She immediately pulled it from the shelf, gave it a decisive flip-through and deposited it in her tote bag. By the time we were in the car, she stated her intention to make the chicken soup featured in the book. She’s Thai, after all, so it only makes sense she would make Thai soup, right?
I couldn’t disagree.
So last week, we stopped at the grocery store after work to pick up the necessary ingredients and headed home to start the soup. While I didn’t let her handle any of the prep that involved a knife, she did get to help extensively with the measuring and stirring.
Her one caveat was the exclusion of chili pepper. Despite her Thai genes, she does not have a proclivity for heat (even though I serve spicy meals on a regular basis and you would think she’d be used to it by now).
As an aside, my older daughter regularly chides me for using the phrase “Thai people really like (fill in name of food)” whenever I want to persuade the younger one to try a food. Interestingly, this worked with mushrooms (I’m actually not sure how popular mushrooms are with Thais), but did not with shrimp (which is a prominent Thai food).
I tried a different shrimp tactic last night, announcing at the dinner table: “Did you know Thailand produces a majority of the world’s shrimp?” She narrowed her eyes, studying me carefully for a few moments – but did not bite . . . literally. “I don’t like shrimp.”
However, every time she eats mushrooms, she does say, “Did you know Thai people really like mushrooms?”
But back to the recipe: even without the chili, it was pretty tasty.
4 tablespoons oil
4 teaspoons cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1 Thai chili, seeded and chopped
8 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes (or 4 bouillon packets)
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
4 ounces thin rice noodles
2 cups bean sprouts
A few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add cumin and fry for 30 seconds; add garlic and stir for an additional 30 seconds.
Add chicken and chili to saucepan. Stir for a few seconds, then add water. Crumble bouillon into the saucepan and stir. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add rice noodles and boil for 4 minutes. Add bok choy, cilantro and bean sprouts.
Bring to a boil and serve immediately.