Smoked Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, Sweet Basil, Coconut & Galangal Soup

Poached chicken, coconut & galingal soup (photo by Kaleem Hyder)

Photo from Farang by Kaleem Hyder

I have just spent the weekend in sunny Birmingham at the BBC Good Food Show cooking with the Thai Embassy on the Thai World Stage to help promote Thai produce and cuisine. I’ve never been to Birmingham before, although I have to say it felt like more like Kingston, Jamaica at 34 degrees- it’s been an absolute scorcher!

The show was a good crack actually, apart from it taking place at the NEC in Birmingham which has to be one of the most boring places on the planet- it reminded me of the film ‘The Truman Show’, where you feel you will walk through a door and hit a cardboard cut out of another door if you’re not careful. All the same the show was great and I’ve come back excited to get another recipe up on ‘Articuleat‘.

In this heat I wanted to cook something quick, effortless, light and tasty as fuck so I went for this soup. This soup can be made in many different variations, a few of which can be found in my book ‘Cook Thai‘ if you ever feel like giving them a go. It only takes a few bits and pieces and around 10-15 minutes to make and all of the ingredients can be found easily in most supermarkets these days. If you’re feeling really exotic throw in some king prawns to this soup too- awesome!

Ingredients Serves 2 / Vegetarian option

1 chicken breast, skin and fat removed, sliced into rough 2cm by 2cm pieces, directions for smoking in recipe  (do not use if vegetarian, ha)

1/4 butternut squash, roughly 50g, peeled and sliced into rough 2cm by 2 cm pieces (pumpkin can be used instead)

8 Thai Shallots, peeled and slightly bruised in a pestle

2 green birds eye chillies, bruised in a pestle

2 kaffir lime leaves, torn slightly

2 sticks lemongrass, chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

10g, galangal, peeled and chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

2 coriander roots, cleaned, washed and bruised in a pestle

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

2-3 tablespoons fish sauce (soy sauce if vegetarian)

200ml chicken stock (vegetable stock if vegetarian)

300ml coconut cream

10g, Thai sweet basil (normal basil will do)

50g, assorted wild mushrooms (I use enoki, shittaki and emoji mushrooms)

1 lime, juiced

Method

Before I get started with the recipe I’ll delve a little into explaining how to smoke the chicken. In this recipe I cold smoke my chicken which can be done very easily when you’re at home. This means that I will be adding the smoke flavour from the wood to the meat, without cooking it. All you need is some smoking wood chips, a pan, a colander and some cling film. Place a small handful of wood chips into the pan and heat the pan up until the wood chips set alight within the pan. Once this happens put the flames out with a little water, this will cause the chips to smoke heavily. at this stage place the chicken in the colander and then put the colander upon the smoking pan, then quickly cling film the whole thing so it is air tight with no smoke leaving the cling film. This will leave the chicken inside a smoke vacuum, with minimal oxygen so the wood chips will not be hot but will smoke a lot. If this is left untouched for 20 minutes the smokey flavour would have penetrated the meat, the longer you leave it the smokier the flavour.

Firstly, in a small sauce pan bring a little water to the boil and then submerge the squash into it, then turn down to a simmer, continue to gently cook for around 3-4 minutes until soft but not quite cooked and then remove from the heat and put aside for a few minutes (at this stage you might as well leave it in the hot water as we are to use it straight away).

Next place the chicken stock, 100ml of the coconut cream, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sea salt, galangal, coriander roots, birds eye chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, butternut squash and Thai shallots and mushrooms into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the chicken pieces and continue to cook gently for 4-5 minutes until all chicken is cooked and all vegetables have softened with flavours infused.

Finish by adding the rest of the coconut cream and the sweet basil and the dishing out into bowls. Lastly check the seasoning, it should be creamy, salty, a little spicy, aromatic with a fresh hint of lime at the end, adjust if needs be.

Thanks very much for stopping by at ‘Articuleat’ and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

 

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebbyholmes

Fresh Strawberry and Mint Summer Creams

Fresh Strawberry and Mint Summer Creams

Hi everyone and welcome to my second Articuleat blog post. After the recent spell of sunshine; accompanied hand in hand by some incredibly busy days in the begging bowl kitchen, I thought the moment called to make something homely to eat.

Mint – strawberries – cream, now that’s a British flavour combination for the gods. It’s a great time to be using fresh mint as, although available all year round, it’s fuller in flavour during the warmer months. Some also say that the herb’s antibacterial qualities are heightened during the summer season (that’s enough to win me) so get stuck in.

Since we are getting all scientific it’s also worth mentioning that strawberries are currently in season and rich in nitrate, this can increase the blood flow, giving your body a head start when you exercise.

So anyway that’s enough from me and hopefully I have succeeded in making you feel less guilty when divulging in this smooth, sweet, creamy dessert. Now you are aware of the health benefits of a few of the ingredients, you can forget about the cream, sugar and eggs? After all the summer is here for a good time, not a long time.

(serves 4, takes 1 – 1 ½ hours)

Ingredients

-450ml, double cream

-5 free-range eggs, yolks only

-75g, caster sugar

-400g, strawberries, roughly chopped

-20g, mint, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Firstly pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees. Place small dishes into a deep baking tray and pour hot water into the tray, until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the dishes (this is called a bain-marie). Place the bain-marie into the oven to pre-heat.
  2. Meanwhile place the sugar and the strawberries in a pan with a dash of water (1tbspn) and place onto a high heat. Continue to stir this regularly until the strawberries and sugar have combined to make one mixture (essentially a coolè). Once combined put aside to cool until room temperature.
  3. Once cool beat this with the egg yolks until all is combined in a large mixing bowl. Next pour the cream into a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a simmer on a medium heat (be sure not to boil it). Once simmering, remove from the heat and slowly whisk into the cold strawberry and sugar mixture (it is important to make sure the strawberry mixture is cold or it will scramble the eggs – unless strawberry scrambled eggs is your thing?).
  4. Next fold in the chopped mint and pour the summer creams into the small dishes (bain-marie) for about 30-35 minutes, until set firm but still with a slight wobble. Once ready remove from the oven and either serve immediately or place in the fridge to be enjoyed another time.
  5. Lovely served as a dessert or accompanied by some fresh mint tea. Garnish with more fresh strawberries and a few mint sprigs and enjoy.

Fresh Strawberry and Mint Summer Creams

Thanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebbyholmes