I went looking for something light-but-exciting for dinner on our first night back after eating ourselves to death in France. Little did I know I’d found the world’s greatest soup on epicurious – from Self no less. It’s fresh, it’s light, it’s spicy, and it’s so simple it barely feels like cooking.
I made a few little modifications to the printed recipe, and one major change: in a very half-assed way, I made my own chicken stock. Don’t let this put you off! All I did was put 3 frozen chicken leg and thigh bones in about a liter of water, brought it slowly up to a boil and tossed in some chinese five spice (a teaspoon or two) and some chinese black vinegar (a tablespoon or two). Simmer away for an hour or so, or however long you have, strain, and voila!
As the head notes to the original recipe stated, don’t be frightened by the long list of ingredients. I’m a slow chopper, and this took less than 10 minutes of prep. Also, while I followed the recipe and added chicken pieces, I won’t next time. The soup just didn’t need the extra expense or dead animal.
After that, here’s what you need:
- 1.5 liters cooking liquid (I just added water to my stock)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin (the recipe called for brown sugar but I didn’t have any)
- 1 tbsp of sricha or other asian hot sauce
- Juice of two juicy limes
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced (choose your thumb size based on your affection for ginger)
- 1-2 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut in thin 3-inch-long strips
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 sliced chestnut mushrooms (slice them big if you want to pick them out before eating, like us)
- 1 cup snap peas
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
- handful chopped cilantro
Ok, this is really easy now. Put your cooking liquid into a big pot with your soy sauce, mirin (or sugar), sricha, lime juice, ginger and garlic and boil 5-10 minutes.
If you’re using chicken, toss the pieces in the 3 tbsp corn starch, and add it and the mushrooms to the pot. Simmer fo 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, add red peppers, cilantro and snap peas, and let sit for 3 minutes.