Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lunch-time Delights: Coconut Lemongrass Noodles

I felt like using some coconut milk and noodles to make a yummy soup for lunch. So, I scoured my cookbook-full shelf in search of the perfect recipe. I finally settled on this recipe from "Cooking Smart for a Healthy Heart"... an amazing book that I had purchased at Winners quite a while back, but had not used before. Well, it's never too late to make something new...

Chicken with Lemongrass (serves 4)
Adapted from Cook Smart for a Healthy Heart

- 1 small red chili, split open but left whole (I used 2 dried red chilies that had been soaked in hot water for 10mins)
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half
- 1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 4 slices
- 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and cut in half
- 1 cm piece of galangal (my addition to this recipe)
- 650g bone-in chicken pcs (I used chicken breast)
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 250g green beans, trimed and cut into bite-sized pcs
- 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- grated rind and juice of 1 lime
- salt + pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped (garnish)
- 200g uncooked egg noodles (or whatever noodles you like)

1. Boil 4 cups of water in a large saucepan over high heat. Spear chili, garlic, ginger and galangal on a skewer and add it to the pan with the lemongrass. Continue boiling for 1 minute, remove from heat, cover and set aside to infuse for 30mins.

2. Return liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low. Add chicken, shallots and green beans; poach for 12-15mins or until chicken is cooked. Add in the zucchini slices for the final 2 mins of cooking.

3. Transfer chicken, beans and zucchini to a warmed bowl. Add a little of the poaching liquid to keep them moist, cover tightly and keep warm.

4. Return liquid to a boil and add the coconut milk, stirring until it dissolves. Continue boiling for 5-6mins, or until liquid has reduced by 1/3rd.

5. Remove chicken meat from bones and shred it. Return chicken, beans and zucchini to the soup and stir, reheating briefly. Add in grated lime rind and juic, season with salt and pepper.

6. Cook the noodles as directed and divide them amongst your serving dishes. Divide the chicken and vegetables amongst the 4 soup bowls, spoon the liquid over the noodles and meat, discard the lemongrass and skewer. Sprinkle with coriander and serve.

I was a little disappointed with the taste of this dish. I was expecting something very strong, sour, savory and coconuty. But instead, this dish was far from rich, not spicy enough and lacked the strong tang of "real" thai food. Alas, I will have to search for a better recipe next time... oh well, at least this recipe's healthy for my heart.

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