My summer odyssey continues. Spurred on by Friday’s prawn salad, I was bitten by the summer food bug this evening. With just four free-range, local farm-raised chicken breasts and a half of Swedish-grown Chinese cabbage (just about the last in season) to my name, I was inspired to knock up a cunningly simple, devilishly good Asian chicken soup.
Before the annual, near-incandescent coat of snow falls here on the top of the world, late afternoon can be a dark and miserable affair. On my train journey home, speeding through the ink-black blanket of frozen night, my craving for fresh, summer-flavours revisited me like the ghost of July past.
From my paltry (and poultry) haul from the depths of my fridge, was born this night, inspiration for a soup of such light and refreshing flavour, that winter would be all but forgotten.
Sounds like a plan. The execution of said plan was so simple, I wonder why we don’t eat this delicacy on a daily basis.
The basis of the soup is chicken stock – the best you can find; ideally homemade. I wasn’t so lucky, so used stock cubes, which, at a push, work fine. Stock-cube stock lacks the clarity and clean flavour of fresh, but beggars can’t be choosers.
When you have your stock bubbling away nicely, then it is just to add your flavours. Like boiling vegetables, you simply throw it all in, give it a quick simmer and you are done. Simple, fresh and delicious. Who needs winter, I say. Not me.
Asian Chicken Soup
- 2 litres chicken stock (fresh, homemade is best)
- 1 lime, quartered
- 1 piece of fresh ginger, about the size of a small fist, cut into six
- 1 stalk lemon grass, cut in half lengthways
- 4 chicken breasts cut into dice-size cubes
- 1 smal head Chinese cabbage, shredded
- 1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
- 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped, or 4 tsp. dried coriander
- 3 tsp. Japanese rice vinegar
Bring the stock to the boil, add the lime, lemon grass and ginger and reduce to a slow simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes and remove the lime, lemon grass and ginger. This gives the stock a delicious, citrus edge
Add the chicken and simmer for a further 5 minutes
Add the onion and cabbage and coriander (if using dried). Cook for 5 minutes more
If using fresh coriander, add it now, stir and serve immediately