Hi.This feels a litle bit awkward doesn't it? A little like meeting a friend after ages and not knowing where to start. How about a song to get us into the swing of things?
I've had four bouts of food poisoning in the last two months and my sister swears it's elevated stress levels. I'm not sure how true this is, but to cover all bases, Im watching funny movies and listening to happy, upbeat music. Hence the Kimbra. If you have recommendations, I'd love to hear.
It hasn't been all doom and gloom around here though- I took two trips to the Himalayas where I trekked up a mountain to a waterfall in the middle of a thunderstorm (don't do it), dove into the ice-cold Ganga, practiced yoga in the mornings with a yogi and took in the most spectular views I have ever seen. All in all, a summer I won't be forgetting anytime soon.
And so while my lungs feel squeaky clean with all that mountain air and deep breathing, my tummy begs to differ. I've been trying to be careful about what I eat lately- a lot of fruit, soup, and yogurt seem to work best. Although I generally like my soups to be light, I happened upon a coconut-milk based soup that is a keeper. I've never loved coconut milk (yes, a malyali who doesn't like coconut- sacrilege), but one evening I had this out-of-the-blue craving for a spicy, coconutty soup. A pretty specific craving considering I'd never really tasted a spicy coconutty soup before. A quick google search revealed that a Thai soup called Tom Kha Gai was exactly what I was in the mood for. It looked so promising- spicy, filling, and fragrant with kaffir lime and galangal. Ofcourse, it had about ten different ingredients that I didn't have at hand, and it was too late to go grocery shopping at that point. I didn't let that stop me though, and I improvised like my mamma taught me. I'm pleased to inform you that the resulting soup was pretty great.
Besides being delicious, what made me really pleased was that I didn't need anything I didn't already have in the kitchen. I'm learning that so much of cooking is about improvising and being resourceful. Adjust the number of chillies to your preference. I like my soup quite hot.
Tom Kha Gai Inspired Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups veg stock
1 cup boiled chicken, shredded (boil the chicken with pepper and salt)
3 red chilies slit horizontally into 2
1 red chili sliced into thin rounds (optional)
small bunch cilantro chopped finely juice of 1/2 lime (about 2 tsp)
1/2 inch ginger, crushed
few splashes of fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp tom yum soup paste
salt to taste
Bring the stock to a boil. Now turn the heat off, and add the chicken, chilies, tom yum paste, brown sugar and ginger.
Next, pour in coconut milk, fish sauce and lime and salt. Stir well, and then remove the horizontally cut chiles from the soup.
Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.