Thai foods have a pleasant fresh, green quality along with a positive warming effect on the body.
Perfect nutrition for cold days.
I love the flavors of Thai cooking. The blend of lemongrass, cilantro, basil, chilies and coconut milk screams aliveness and has a positive warming effect on my body. The food is light leaving me pleasantly satiated and not overly full.
Thai cooking uses lots of herbs and spices that add tons of nutrition.
During the last snow storm, I wanted to create a soup that was warming but not heavy, full of vegetables and nutrition, as well as flavor.
Here is what I came up with.
Thai Inspired Chicken Vegetable Soup
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 green onions, chopped (the white parts will go into the early cooking and the greens should be reserved for garnishing)
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts
4 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 20 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2-1 can Maesri brand yellow Thai curry
1 can coconut milk
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
16 oz. homemade chicken stock
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
One of my most used and loved cooking vessels is my cast iron Dutch oven. I picked mine up at a garage sale for $20 several years ago and I use it almost every day. You can find them online and in high-end stores for hundreds of dollars, but if you keep your eyes open, you may sleuth out a deal too.
Heat a Dutch oven or similarly heavy bottomed pan to medium. Add 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, toss in chicken breast, cook for 5 minutes. Add whites of green onions, celery, cauliflower and carrot. Saute for 4 minutes until onion starts to soften but not translucent (part of the flavor of Thai cooking is the freshness and not overcooking of the vegetables).
Add the cans of artichoke hearts, water chestnuts, Thai curry (start with half can, add more if you like) and garbanzo beans. Stir.
Add chicken broth. Allow to simmer on medium for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Add mushrooms and stir in to hot broth.
Turn off the heat and add fish sauce and coconut milk.
Serve over Jasmine rice garnished with a squeeze of lime, cilantro and green onions.
*Note: You can easily leave out the chicken in this recipe and substitute seaweed or vegetable stock.