In East Asia soups are a staple part of any diet. This Thai style chicken soup is easy to make and requires few ingredients, none of which are difficult to obtain. The amounts shown here serve 4 generously as a main course or 6 as a starter. Serve with a rice dish as a main, a simple egg fried will suffice. Halve the amounts for 2 servings. prawns can also be used as the main ingredient.
12oz to 15oz ( 330 – 420g) of chicken breast fillet, skinned
14oz (800ml) Coconut milk
2 heaped tablespoons of peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1/2pt (600ml) chicken stock (see later)
Red chillis to taste, start with 2, finely chopped
2 stems of lemon grass or 4 rounded teaspoons of lemon grass paste
2″ (5cm) piece of fresh ginger or 4 rounded teaspoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1oz/30g or slightly more bunch fresh coriander, chopped, stalks and all
Salt and pepper to taste
If using fresh ginger and/or lemon grass, crush these to release their flavour. Add the lemon grass and ginger to the coconut milk in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, reduce heat slightly and allow to cook just off the boil for 15 minutes or so. In the mean time, prepare the chicken by slicing into 1/2″ (1.5cm) squares about 1/8″ (3mm) thick.
Prepare the chicken stock either using stock cubes or preferably gel pots and hot water. If using home made stock, make sure that it is not too strong in flavour, warm throroughly before adding. Add the stock, peanut butter and chicken to the spiced coconut milk mixture. Bring to a gently simmer again. Cook for about 15 minutes until chicken is soft.
Add the fish sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another 5 minutes or so. Remove the whole ginger and lemon grass if used and add the coriander but keep a few coriander leaves as a garnish to sprinkle on the soup after serving.
Serve and enjoy.
This soup can also be made with de-veined fresh or pre-cooked prawns instead of chicken. If frozen prawns are used, ensure that they are thoroughly de-frosted before use. Un-cooked prawns should not be added until the last 5 minutes of cooking, cooked prawns 3 minutes before. Check the seasoning before serving.
Keema curry to give it its proper name is usually made from minced lamb. Here we present a recipe that uses minced beef which is more usual in the UK and also more economical. This is a medium spicy curry that cooks quickly and keeps well. You could also use this free recipe with cubed casserole meat (beef or lamb) but the cooking time will be much longer, up to 1.5hrs. Serve with plain boiled rice and possibly a side dish of carrot and cabbage curry or a spinach dish. A lower calorie version of this recipe suitable for a diet plan is suggested.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
400 – 500g (approximately 1 lb) lean minced beef. Minced Lamb may be used but see recipe.
1 large onion, about 200g (0.5lb) finely chopped
2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil for frying
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a press
1 medium size (2″ or 5cm long) hot green chilli. More may be used if you prefer a hotter dish. De-seed the chilli if you want the flavour of chilli without so much heat.
1 tablespoon (15ml) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon (3ml) ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon (3ml) cayenne powder, adjust according to strength required
1 400g tin peeled and chopped plum tomatoes, fresh tomatoes may be used but remove skins!
1.5 (8ml) teaspoons salt
1/2 lb (220g) new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ (1.5cm) cubes
Optional for a lower calorie version: replace 100g of the meat with 125g of carrot diced into 5mm cubes.
Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion when hot, stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion just starts to brown. Add the crushed garlic and chopped green chilli. Stir and fry for a further minute. Add the meat and continue to stir and fry until the meat has lost all its pink colour, make sure that it is well broken up.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the ground spices and cayenne, continue stirring and frying for 3 minutes ensuring that all the meat is well coated in spice mix.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and salt, continue heating whilst stirring occasionally until the mixture is back to a gentle boil.
Add the potatoes and stir. If the potatoes are not completely covered by liquid, add some of the water until they are. Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked, check and stir frequently during this time.
Mix in the coriander garnish, stir once and serve.
If using lamb or lamb mince, it may be necessary to remove some excess fat during the early frying, this is easiest using a spoon at this time rather than leaving it until the end.
New potatoes are best as they should not break up. If using old or floury potatoes, add them later and check that they are not over-cooking.
The low calorie version should use beef mince and the carrot should be added at the same time as the potato. Restrict the amount of rice eaten at the same time to no more 3oz (80g) uncooked weight.