In East Asia soups are a staple part of any diet. This 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.
- 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 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. These should not be added until the last 5 minutes of cooking. Check the seasoning before serving.