One rainy day I was inspired to create a version of Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup. 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. You can certainly buy lemongrass and use it fresh and sometimes I do that. But I also buy it frozen, already chopped and keep that in my freezer so I can make any recipe with lemongrass when I want to. No extra trip to the grocery store required.
If you are interested in knowing a little more about lemongrass I wrote this post, How To Use Lemongrass.
You can also freeze ginger. Did you know that? 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 you need to use it before it gets old and shrivelled up. Or you can freeze it. I use my Microplane grater to grate frozen ginger easily, no need to thaw it. Then just throw it in your dish 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 day.
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Every kitchen needs a few tools and for soup makers that includes pots. Cookware is an investment but you don’t need the most expensive set of pots. 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. Recipes sometimes call for making soup in a Dutch oven or a soup pot. 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. But to simply make an everyday soup recipe, the largest pot in a typical set of pots is perfect.
Let me know in the comments below what you thought of this soup.
|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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