Thai Coconut Soup

Jerry doesn’t much care for Asian food because he gets hungry 30 minutes later, but he loves Mexican food. Elaine has occasional heartburn with Mexican food so she avoids jalapenos, but she loves Asian food.

Thai: the compromise.

There’s a restaurant very close to our house, Surin of Thailand, that has an incredibly delicious soup that they serve at lunchtime. Tonight I made a Weight Watchers recipe that is very, very similar in flavor.

Thai Coconut-Chicken Soup, from the “In No Time” cookbook, page 99.
Serves 4, 6 WW Points per serving.

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, minced (I used 3/4 tsp of the lemongrass spice blend I found in a tube in the produce department at Publix)
2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced (I used 1 heaping tsp of jarred minced garlic)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (I crushed it in my hand with my thumb first to release the oils)
1/2 pound ground skinless chicken breast (I used cooked shredded chicken that I poached today… Next time I’ll probably go with firm tofu instead since that’s what’s in the soup at Surin)
2 14.5-oz cans of reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 14-oz can light (reduced-fat) coconut milk (Surin probably uses the full-fat kind, because their soup is a bit heavier/richer)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp Asian fish sauce (nam pla)
4 oz rice sticks (mai fun) (I’ll probably leave these out next time, just because they’re not in the Surin version, and truly, they made it kind of hard to eat. May require further experimentation)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (I probably used a bit more, since I don’t really bother to measure herbs much, and Jerry loves cilantro so I knew it wasn’t a risk.)
Next time I will probably add half of an 8-oz. carton of white mushrooms, thinly sliced. But that’s not in the original recipe.

1. Trim away the tops of the lemongrass, about 4 inches from the root end; trim away the root. Crush the 4-inch pieces with the side of a knife and mince the tender white inner stalk. Discard the outer stalk. (I just squeezed 3/4 tsp out of the tube and called it done. Ha!)

2. Heat the oil in a nonstick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the minced lemongrass, garlic, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the chicken and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 3 minutes. (With my cooked shredded chicken, I only cooked it until heated through before the next step. Next time I’ll brown the tofu at this step. I’m not sure I’d like it as much with ground chicken.)

3. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, lime juice, and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Add the rice sticks and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Servings are 1 1/2 cups each.

You’ll thank me later. 🙂