Sunday, 21 May 2017

Cheat's treat: Thai chicken, mushroom, coconut and noodle soup (kosher, gluten-free)

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Some of my secrets to weeknight dinners are noodles and rotisserie chicken. Together they make this quick, easy and delicious Thai chicken, mushroom, coconut and noodle soup. 

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Recently I was interviewed for the biggest paper in the country in the search for tips for speeding up cooking those weeknight meals. Seeing how I was (again) in a company so much better than myself (the other person they interviewed is a Michelin-starred chef...) I didn't dare to say everything I was thinking of. 

But we're all friends, right? So I don't mind sharing my #1 secret - you know, just between the two of us. 

You guys ready?

Here it comes. 

Order in. 

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That's it: have someone else do the cooking and  order in instead!

Especially this spring my head's been working overtime just trying to stay on top of my body (let alone on top of all the things she's supposed to stay on top of) that it's actually rather disgraceful, how often I've happily outsourced the catering to a variety of home delivery services. And how often my dinner has been a delivery from Pizza Hut (BBQ, Italian crust) is downright shameful. What kind of a food blogger am I?!

But yes, I do cook, too. And I do cook using those tips I was giving out in that interview. One of my favourite shortcuts is using rotisserie chicken (or parts of it). 

That makes a robust salad in no time (such as my recipe for St. Tropez chicken and pasta salad), a spread to make a sandwich or to be served with a jacket potato (my favourite is this chicken and avocado salad) adds body to soups (you've got to try this Mediterranean chicken and roasted pepper soup!). 

Chicken cooked on the bone just has so much more flavour and juiciness than those vacuum-packen, anemic bra-fillers.

Good noodles are another shortcut I'm a big fan of - they only take fraction of the time cooking pasta would. 

This thai chicken, mushroom, coconut and noodle soup combines both of this hacks. Oh, and coconut, which I favour over cream any time. As it comes in a tin, its shelf life is so much more convenient than that of cream. Which is why I always have some at home.

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serves 4

Thai chicken, mushroom, coconut & noodle soup:

2 chicken breasts on the bone (or two ready grilled ones from the shop)

1,5 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1,5 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 red chillis, finely chopped
200 g shiitake mushrooms, sliced 
7,5 dl chicken stock
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
50 g noodles (for gluten-free soup use mung bean vermicelli or rice noodles)
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce) 
(½ - 1 tbsp brown sugar) 
½ bunch coriander, leaves chopped
½ bunch (Thai) basil, leaves chopped

to serve: lime wedges
rest of the herbs
toasted peanuts (optional)

In case using raw chicken breasts, roast them at 180°c for 45 minutes until cooked through. Baste with the liquid in the bottom of the pan every now and then. Let cool and in the meanwhile prepare the stock.

Measure ginger, garlic and chilli into the pot along with the chicken stock. Bring to boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add mushrooms and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. 

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bone and shred the meat into desired chunks. Add into the stock with spring onion and coconut milk. 

Bring to boil and add the noodles. Cook for a couple of minutes until the noodles are done. Add the herbs.

Season with fish sauce. Check the taste and adjust to your liking by adding fish sauce and/ or sugar.

Divide into serving bowls, scatter remaining herbs (and peanuts, if using) on top. Serve with a drizzle of lime juice. 

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How about you guys - would you fancy a bowl of my Thai chicken, mushroom, coconut and noodle soup?

And hey - don't forget to share your own tips for surviving the mad weekend dinner rush? What are your secret short-cuts?



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