On a recent rainy day I was inspired to make a version of Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup that I saw in a magazine. Earlier in the week I had planted Thai basil in my garden and my well-stocked Asian pantry had everything else I needed.
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I always keep frozen, chopped lemongrass in my freezer. If you buy it fresh you can cut it and do that but you can also buy it already chopped. I like the fact that I always have it on hand but if I was having a dinner party I would probably go and buy fresh lemongrass stalks (just probably).
Did you know you can also freeze fresh ginger? Of course you can buy it prepared in little jars but I go for the fresh stuff. It keeps for a long time in the fridge but before it gets old or if you don’t use it often you can freeze it. Grate it frozen and use immediately.
My Asian pantry also includes cans of coconut milk, Vietnamese fish sauce and packages of dried rice noodles. Having these items close at hand makes this an easy soup to put together and the fresh flavours of Vietnam are perfect for an easy dinner on a rainy spring evening.
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Cookware is an investment. You don’t need the most expensive set of pots but there is a wide variety of affordable cookware available and many items you purchase will last for decades. Notice what you like and choose wisely when you buy.
For the everyday home cook like me the largest pot in a typical set of pots is usually perfect for making soup. Although recipes sometimes say a Dutch oven or a soup pot they probably don’t really mean that. A modern Dutch oven is like the gorgeous Le Creuset enamelled cast iron pot. They are heavy and expensive but will last for a lifetime of cooking. For a fraction of the cost you can buy a lesser quality enamelled cast iron Dutch oven and although I’m not sure, I think it would last at least half a lifetime.
Some recipes will call for a soup pot, also called a stockpot. Technically this is an extra large, bigger than what comes with a set of pots. They are ideal for an annual jam or salsa-making party, or special events like a lobster boil. If you cook for large groups you should own one. Many people would never really need one because to make an everyday soup recipe, the largest pot in a typical set of pots is perfect.
In the meantime why don’t you make some soup then let me know in the comments below what you thought.
|1 Tbsp vegetable oil|
|1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks|
|1/2 red pepper, cut into thin matchsticks|
|2 green onions sliced in 1" pieces|
|2 Tbsp frozen, chopped lemongrass|
|1 Tbsp minced ginger root|
|1 Tbsp brown sugar|
|4 cups GF chicken stock|
|6 oz wide, dried rice noodles|
|1 - 14 oz can coconut milk|
|2 cups cooked chicken, shredded|
|1 Tbsp Vietnamese fish sauce|
|1 Tbsp lime juice|
|1 tsp hot pepper sauce such as Sriracha chili sauce or Tabasco|
|salt to taste|
|2 green onions, sliced|
|1 cup bean sprouts|
|Thai basil leaves|
|4 lime wedges|
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