I’m overwhelmed by all the Internet love! You all have made last week so much more bearable, and the healing over the sudden loss of Buster easier. I think the one most affected by Buster’s passing was Coco. There were times when we came home, and Coco would greet us and then immediately looked behind us to see if Buster was following.
Poor Coco – I know it will take time.
Last week called for comfort food and that means soup. We’ve been doing a lot of soups in the electric pressure cooker (just throw everything in a hit a few buttons) or the super-quick 20 minute on the stovetop soups. Basically, I like unfussy soups. What hit the spot last week was hot-spicy-tangy-savory Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup. This is the type of soup that Pavlov would love – the flavors are so distinct and powerful, that every time even just think about this soup, certain reactions that I cannot control begin happening. Mouth starts watering from the sharp lime, tip of tongue reacts to the slight sweetness of the fish sauce, and the warming of the throat from the slow, lingering effects of the steeped chile slices.
While the soup contains ingredients that are difficult to find outside of an Asian market – don’t worry. I have a simple substitution! The citrusy flavor of the soup comes from lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. If you can’t find one or both, the peel of the lime will work just fine.
The ingredients are flexible – I’ve added shrimp, tofu and even spinach to the soup. Make it your own! This is a recipe that I’ve adapted from Katie Chin’s brand new Everyday Thai Cooking cookbook.
I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy (and loved the book so much that I wrote a little quote for the back cover!)
If you like Thai food as much as I do, you’ll love Katie’s Thai recipes that are designed for the home cook. Some of the recipes in the book:
Servings: 15 minutes
Prep Time: 4
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Kaffir lime leaves and fresh lemongrass may be difficult to fine outside of an Asian market. You can substitute with lime peel. In the recipe, you'll be using the juice of a fresh lime. Before cutting the lime, take a vegetable peeler and peel long strips of the lime skin. Use your fingers and squeeze/wring the peel a bit to release its flavors and fragrant oil. Adapted from Everyday Thai Cooking by Katie Chin. The more chile slices you use - and the longer you let it steep in the broth, the spicier it will be.'
Other ingredients you can add: spinach leaves, tofu, shrimp, zucchini slices, bean thread noodles or rice noodles, snow peas, bamboo shoots, etc.
In a pot, add the chicken stock, ginger, kaffir lime, lemongrass and chile slices. Bring to a simmer, cover, and then turn the heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Strain out and discard the spent herbs. (You can taste the soup at this point, if you would like it more spicy, keep the chile pepper slices in the stock and discard just before serving.)
Add in the chicken pieces, cherry tomato and mushrooms. Bring back to a simmer on medium heat and then cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and cilantro leaves.