Thai Inspired Chicken and Veggie Rice Soup
Plus I had another new treasure up my sleeve-- Chinese dried black fungus. I love the slimy black thing in my Southeast Asian food but had no clue what it was. Initially I thought it was some kind of mushroom. Finally after much research discovered it is black fungus. Also discovered during my research that black fungus is very good for your heart. So last week on my trip to an Oriental grocery store picked up a packet. I was dying to use it.
I had loads of veggies and leftover chicken and rice in the fridge which I needed to use up. So decided to make a soup with all these ingredients, being totally guided by my taste buds.
I soaked a couple of dried Chinese mushrooms for 2 hours in hot water and some black fungus for 30 mins in cold water because they both need to be rehydrated before they can be chopped and cooked. Since I was using the black fungus for the first time I followed the instructions given here.
Then I chopped up some veggies from the fridge including
Half a red pepper
2 pak choi
Half an onion
2 pods of garlic
Trim the inedible bits of the black fungus and chop them.
Squeeze out the water from the rehydrated mushrooms and chop them.
Also chopped up left over bits of grilled chicken breast [this is completely optional, you can add pork, or prawn, or other sea food or if you are vegetarian completely skip this bit.]
You can use any veggies you want cabbages, beans, peas, spinach, spring onion, bean sprouts etc.
For the sauce in a medium bowl I added
2 cups of stock [do not throw away the water in which the dried mushrooms are soaked, that is your ready made mushroom stock, just added some chicken/vegetable liquid/tablet stock to this liquid to enhance the flavour of your stock]
2 table spoons of dark soya sauce
2 table spoons of Thai chilly oil
2 table spoons of Oyster sauce
2 table spoons of brown sugar
2 table spoons of peanut butter
1 table spoon of sesame oil
1 table spoon of corn starch and mix everything well. If the consistency is too thick add a little more water.
For the final mixing some pre cooked rice, chilly flakes, crushed peanuts and lime juice are needed.
I stir fried the veggies and the chicken for 4 to 5 mins with one table spoon of vegetable oil, then added the sauce, stirred everything well and kept it for 2/3 mins till it came to a boil, at this point the cornstarch started thickening. Switched off the flame and let it rest for 2 to 3 mins.
In the meanwhile in a bowl took some rice, added the chilly flakes, crushed peanuts and couple of drops of lime juice, then ladle in the soup and you are ready to eat.
Verdict: This soup came out really well considering that I had randomly thrown in ingredients and gone with the flow. It had a peanutty, chilly taste while the lime juice helped bring down the heat and the crushed peanuts added a lovely crunch. The rice makes this dish really heavy and this is perfect for a winter's evening when you feel too lazy to make much of an effort.