My 7-year old daughter takes a wonderful cooking class through Sticky Fingers Cooking School. A few weeks ago, they made a delicious Asian soup with coconut milk and sauteed lemongrass. I have been dying to recreate it, so when we got back into town after the holidays, I thought I’d give it a try. This is my version, going mostly on my daughter’s memory of making it.
Ginger is a potent antiviral, so eating it during cold and flu season is never a bad idea. I keep whole pieces of ginger root in ziptop baggies in my freezer and grate them frozen for the flavor and benefits of fresh ginger any time.
I picked up a stalk of lemongrass at an Asian market, but you may be able to find it in your regular grocery, near the fresh herbs.
Here’s the gist:
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger root
1 stalk lemon grass, peeled down to the brownish root, and trimmed of the root.
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. olive oil
1 box chicken broth or stock
1 14.5-oz. can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (I use wheat-free/low-sodium, but you can use regular if you prefer)
4 chicken breasts
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
1 dozen or more Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced thickly
6-8 Crimini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thickly
In a large heavy saucepan or 4-qt or larger Dutch oven, sauté the ginger and lemongrass in the sesame and olive oils until lightly browned. Add the broth and coconut milk to the pot over medium heat. Whisk if needed to integrate the coconut milk solids (separating during storage is normal for coconut milk). Add the soy sauce, chicken, and vegetables and simmer gently until the chicken is well cooked. Remove the chicken and discard any bones or skin, if you didn’t use boneless-skinless pieces. Using two forks pulling in opposing directions, pull the meat into shreds before returning to the pot. Taste, adjust seasoning by adding more soy sauce, and serve.
I thought about adding a can of diced green chiles to the pot, which would be a savory addition, but the soup is good enough that you can enjoy it with or without that extra spice.
You could also add chopped garlic to the sauté to add another layer of flavor and healthfulness.
And, of course, need I say it? You can make this soup with almost any protein and any veggie that you have around. Some versions of Tom Yum soup omit the coconut milk… you should make your soup using what you will enjoy!