Thai Style Chicken and Rice Soup

You know when you are sick and suddenly you realize that you can’t remember what it was like to not be sick and you have no idea how long you will be sick. It’s like you’re lost in a sea of tissues and cups of tea and you can no longer see the shore.  Yea, that feeling, I’m there. Have been for a couple of days now. It sucks. I don’t mean to show up just to complain, I have soup for you too! The only thing that has the ability to make you feel okay about the fact that you are sure your head is going to explode is a bowl of soup. Sweet with coconut milk, slightly spicy with green curry, and the one perfect thing to remind you that someday you will be able to taste food again and maybe even breath out of your nose.

I actually made this soup before I got sick, my sweetie brought this horrible cold home and I made this soup after work to make her feel better and to ensure that I didn’t get it. It didn’t work. Sure, she felt loved and cared for but I still caught the damn thing.

Thai Chicken Rice Soup 01

So, while this cold may not do much in the way of warding off terrible, no good, very bad head colds, it certainly tastes good and makes you feel better if you happen to find yourself with the sniffles coming on.

Thai Style Chicken and Rice Soup

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, January 2004

I’m sure we are all familiar with the “motherly” rendition of chicken and rice soup, gloopy with over cooked rice and bland as baby food. This soup isn’t that. The brown rice holds up much better and it is any thing but bland. As with most soups there is great opportunity for flexibility. Adjust the spiciness, add more veggies, make it vegetarian with tofu instead of chicken. Play around, it is a good base. I used leftover chicken so it was already cooked, but you can poach chicken breasts cut into thin slices in the broth after the rice has cooked but before you add the carrots.

8 cups chicken stock, I use Better Than Bouillon
4 cups water
2 tablespoon Thai green curry paste (The original recipe called for 1 Tbs, I added more gradually while tasting.)
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup long-grain brown rice
3/4 of a pound of chicken breast cut into chunks
1 (13- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well
1/4 lb snow peas, trimmed and cut
1 medium-sized carrot, cut into rounds
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

Combine stock, water, curry paste, garlic, ginger and coriander seeds in a large sauce pan, then simmer, uncovered, until ginger is softened, about 30 minutes. Pour through a paper-towel-lined sieve into a large heavy soup pot and discard solids. Stir rice into soup and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes.

Add chicken carrots and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is warmed through and the carrots are tender, about  5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, snow peas, and fish sauce and simmer, uncovered, until peas are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice, and season with salt and pepper. You can also add more green curry paste if you want more kick.

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