I’ve been quiet on here lately as i’ve truly not had the time, nor the energy, to write.
After a lovely trip to Spain (post coming soon), I unexpectedly had to head home to Arkansas just two days after returning to France. Four days later, I came back to Paris where I was greeted by my mother-in-law, a dog with a sprained tail, and a hubs with a hurt ankle. Before I could even recover from jet lag I had to prepare the best that I could for my upcoming French proficiency certification exam (which I passed – yay!), and then hit the ground running again showing my mother-in-law around town. My mother-in-law left Saturday, on Sunday the hubs and I visited Disneyland before our gifted tickets expired, and then on Monday, just when I thought I could return to normalcy, you guessed it, I woke up sick.
The best way to test if I am truly sick is to assess my appetite. If I have been awake for four+ hours and still don’t feel hungry, you can pretty much guarantee there’s something wrong with me. Returning from class just after noon, I skipped lunch, and headed straight to bed.
After a three hour nap my appetite returned, and I woke up craving something comforting. With nothing to eat in the fridge besides carrots and some stinky cheese, I sent the hubs on a quick errand to pick up a few ingredients for homemade soup.
While I like chicken noodle soup as much as the next person, it’s not something I ever feel like cooking when I am actually sick. There’s too much chopping involved, and I find it really has to simmer a while for the flavors to richly develop. Therefore, homemade chicken noodle soup in this household is usually reserved for days when others are sick. Chicken coconut soup (Tom Kha Gai) however, is something that requires very few ingredients, minimal preparation, and can be ready in under 10 minutes – making it one of my very favorite sick day soups.
There are dozens of recipes out there for chicken coconut soup, but truth be told, I don’t think I have ever followed any of them. Therefore, I can’t tell you exactly how authentic this recipe is. I believe I first saw a Tom Kha Gai recipe in a magazine and then just whipped up what I could with the ingredients I already had on hand. Apparently it worked, as the recipe below is how I have made this soup ever since, and furthermore, it tastes mighty similar to the Tom Kha Gai from my favorite Thai restaurant back home. It’s simple, quick, and tasty, and it always leaves me feeling better than I did before.
10-Minute Chicken Coconut Soup
Yields four bowls
1 tbs coconut oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced*
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 stalks green onion, sliced
crushed red pepper
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
32 oz chicken stock or bone broth
lime wedges, for serving
In a large pot, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until slightly softened. Lower your heat to medium and add garlic slices and a pinch of crushed red pepper. I like a large pinch (or two) as I find spicy soup to be great for a cold. Cook until fragrant, or about 1 minute. Add sliced green onions (reserving a few pinches to use for a garnish), add a pinch of salt, and cook for one minute more.
Next, stir in fish sauce, and then add coconut milk and chicken stock to pot. Simmer for 5 minutes before adding 1-2 cups of pulled chicken.** Heat for 2-3 minutes more, add salt to taste, and serve with lime wedges, green onion, and a crispy baguette.
*I almost always buy whole mushrooms as they’re typically the better value. However, slicing mushrooms is time consuming, so when I am sick, I am happy to spend a few cents more for some pre-sliced mushrooms.
**You can certainly boil your own chicken, however, I find that a rotisserie chicken makes a great alternative as it saves time and energy, and makes a great meal for those who are not sick, and who do not want to eat soup for dinner. I just remove the skin from the breasts and tear pieces into the pot. I’m usually a dark meat fan, but with this recipe, I feel as the broth keeps the chicken nice and moist.