Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spicy chicken and wheat soup

I obtained the basic recipe for this soup from a Pakistani cooking show hosted by the famous Chef Rahat. This soup is comforting, nourishing, and most of all plain good. Do not leave out the ginger and garlic as these really enhance the flavor of the soup. There's nothing like a deliciously steaming bowl of hot soup in this cold weather. I have included the basic recipe below. Please remember to use your judgement on quantities as I do not typically measure when cooking. Also, you can use any combination of veggies to your heart's desire.

1 large chicken breast, cut into thin strips
6-8 cups of reduced sodium canned chicken stock
OR you can make the stock yourself by simmering or pressure cooking some chicken pieces and reserving the meat.
1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1/2 - 1 jalapeno, chopped finely (deoending on how much heat you can handle)
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup cabbage, julienned
1 cup snow peas, halved
1 bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup whole wheat, soaked in water for 1/2 hr and cooked 3/4 of the way in 2 cups of water
1 tsbp chili paste (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce
Salt (to taste)
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp cornstarch and 4 tsbp water (if you need to thicken the soup)
Cilantro for garnishing (if desired)
Juice of 1 lime

Start by sauteeing the chicken in 1 tsbp oil. When the chicken is half cooked add the ginger, garlic and jalapenos to the pot and season with salt and freshly crushed black pepper. If you need a little more oil at this stage add some more. Once the chicken pieces start browning a bit add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and add the wheat along with any liquid to the pot. Simmer 5 minutes more. Add carrots and bell pepper at this stage along with chili paste and soy sauce. If you are using other vegetables you will want to add them in the order that they cook (i.e. veggies that take longer to cook are added first and so on).

Taste the soup. If it needs more salt add some more. Does it need more thickening? Add some of the cornstarch and water mixture and bring to a boil. Now add cabbage and snow peas and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the veggies are just done. Turn off stove and add lemon juice, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

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