19 January 2009

Using Pantry Items

Does a dinner count as a "panty item" dinner if I have to go to the market anyway? I wanted to make a Thai style chicken soup with the rice noodles Jenny gave me and the rotisserie chicken I bought at Costco the other day. And there was a good-looking recipe in the January issue of Good Housekeeping. But I didn't have all the ingredients...so since Koji didn't have school today, I dragged the kids to the market for what I was missing.

And now that I've made and eaten

*Thai Chicken Basil Soup with
*steamed broccoli
*rice, white with a bit of brown mixed in
*cranberry juice for Aogu & the kids
*water for me
*nashi (Asian/Japanese pear)

I have to say that my trip to the market was well worth it! As for the recipe, I'll try to save myself a bit of time by linking to the GH version here. But I'd better note the changes I made:

I omitted the crushed red pepper, because I don't have any and didn't realize on my trip to the market that I needed to pick some up. I probably would have left it out anyway because I wanted the kids to be able to eat the soup. The poblano chile must have added some kind of flavor to the soup, but it certainly didn't make it spicy. Aogu and I found that a bit of shichimi sprinkled on just before eating really made the flavor of the soup take off. My lips were on fire when I was done, but that was fine by me!

I used soy sauce instead of fish sauce: Aogu doesn't care for fish sauce, so this is a standard switch for me in any SE Asian recipe calling for fish sauce. I used powdered boullion for the chicken broth, mainly because I'm trying to get rid of what I have so I can switch to home made stock all the time (we'll see if I can live up to that or if it's too much work...). I initially only added two cups of water because I prefer a chunky soup, but once I added the rice noodles at the end, I found that I needed more water and ended up putting in two more cups for a total of four cups of water, rather than three.

The recipe doesn't clearly specify chicken that is already cooked, but because it instructs you to cook the soup for "one minute" after adding the chicken, I think it's safe to assume pre-cooked? I didn't use thighs, I used breast meat that I pulled off my rotisserie chicken. I also stir fried in 1/2 pound ground turkey with the onions, etc. at the beginning.

Don't know what it is about rice noodles, they must just soak and soak any liquid they are near; by the time I was clearing up the kitchen and put away what was left of the soup, there really wasn't any liquid in the pot, just noodles! I put them away, idea being that I will add broth as I'm ready to eat the noodles. The less opportunity they have to soak, the better!

Oh, I also threw in some sliced mushrooms, around the same time I put in the chicken broth. And some bean sprouts, right at the end with the noodles, which I cooked for three minutes rather than one. I thought I was better off going with the package directions, which said boil for three to four minutes. Good grief, I just realized that all my blathering about the changes I made was way longer than if I had just typed out the recipe and noted what I did in parentheses!

In conclusion, this is great soup. I am looking forward to making it again, and maybe next time I won't have to go to the market?!

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