The stunning complexity of Thai cuisine, studded at brief intervals with simple, elegant dishes, makes it one of the world’s most popular cuisines. If there is a more popular Thai dish than this one, I don’t know what it could be. And everyone thinks it must be very tough to make, but it couldn’t be easier. There is no better recipe to define my obsession with the romance of food, internationalism, travel or, for that matter, good, solid cookery. To this day, I make this dish almost every time I have guests in my house.
Thai Hot-and-Sour Coconut Chicken Soup
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 fresh or dried Makrut lime leaves or 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- 1 stalk lemongrass, tender inner white part only, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- Two 14-ounce cans coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
- 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, sliced crosswise into 2-by-1/4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Thai red chile paste
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 red or green Thai chiles, very thinly sliced on the bias
- 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the fish sauce.
In a large pot, combine the stock with the sugar, chile paste, tamarind, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and fish sauce along with the mushrooms and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the lime leaves. Stir in the lime juice and chiles. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.
Make ahead: The soup can be refrigerated overnight.
Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photo by Stephanie Meyer.