Since I’m still having issues with some dental work, soup is my friend these days. This soup is modified from a couple different recipes, and designed to feed both a mostly-vegetarian and a meat eater with very little extra work.
* 1 package “cellophane” rice noodles (the flat kind, not the teensy string kind)
* 6 cups better-than-chicken “chicken” broth, (follow directions on jar for making the broth)
* 1–2 red Thai (or jalapeño) peppers, seeded and chopped (plus slices for garnish)
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tablespoon grated ginger
* 1 tablespoon powdered lemongrass (or 1/2 a stalk, sliced thinly on the diagonal if you can find fresh)
* 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
* 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
* 4 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
* 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced (normally, double this, my meat eater doesn’t like mushrooms, so they all go in my bowl)
* 1 ripe avocado, cut into small cubes (this is the veggie sub for the chicken)
* 3-4 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
* 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced into small cubes
* 1 can light coconut milk
* 2 cups baby spinach (or swiss chard, or whatever mild greens you have growing at the moment)
* 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro (plus sprigs for garnish)
* sprigs of fresh basil for garnish
* lime slices for garnish
* sriracha or other chili sauce for garnish (if you want it thai hot)
How to make it:
Heat the “chicken” broth and add the noodles. Let them sit in the warm broth until they are soft, then drain, reserving the broth. put them in a bowl and cover them to keep them warm.
Take your chicken breasts and slice them into small cubes. Put these in a small frying pan with a little bit of sesame oil, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce and lime juice (proportions aren’t that important here, it’s just to make sure the chicken has good flavor in the soup, since you aren’t cooking it IN the soup) Cook the chicken over medium heat until it’s done.
While you’re letting the chicken cook, take broth and put it back on the stove, refilling with enough extra broth to bring it back up to at least 5 cups. Add the pepper, green onion, avocado cubes, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime zest, lime juice and 3 tablespoons of the fish sauce. Bring to a simmer, add noodles and the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes more. Stir in the coconut milk and let it simmer until the chicken is done in the other pan (probably another 3-5 minutes). Add in your chopped greens and cilantro and stir until they wilt.
With a pair of tongs, divide the noodles into bowls, add the chicken to the appropriate bowls, put the avocado in the rest, then pour the broth over each serving. Garnish each bowl with a couple pepper slices, sprigs of basil and cilantro, a squirt of fish sauce and a wedge of lime. (and the sriracha if you like it that hot)