So, it’s January again. A month not of idyllic mists and mellow fruitfulness but of dark mornings, cold grey skies, rain, sometimes some snow and overcrowded gyms full of people trying desperately to offload their Christmas spare tyres.
To me, it feels like a month that is purely designed for penance. Without fail, once the New Year begins I always start feeling slightly guilty about the amount of winter gorging I engaged upon back in November and December….ah, the happy memories…. and then of course I embark on a ‘healthier’ eating regime intending to lose the extra layers of insulation I’ve managed to accumulate so that I can fit back into my jeggings. This year has been no exception, but trying to be good doesn’t mean that I’m going to knock all tempting foods on the head (she says proudly with a fist full of Jelly Tots)!
With that in mind, here is my recipe for a hot and spicy chicken & rice soup. It’s full of fresh, wholesome ingredients and the rice gives just enough bulk to fill you up. A winning combo in my view. Enjoy!
Serves 2 people with big appetites or up to 4 smaller portions
1 x red chilli – deseeded (although, if you like it very hot leave them in)
Fresh coriander – medium sized bunch
1 x garlic clove – crushed
Fresh root ginger – about an inch, peeled and roughly chopped
½ tablespoon fish sauce
½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
½ tablespoon olive oil
3 x spring onions – finely sliced
150g baby corn – chopped into small chunks
1 x red pepper – finely sliced
2 x chicken breasts – skin removed and chopped into medium-sized chunks
1 litre chicken stock – homemade or shop bought stock is fine
100g basmati rice – rinsed well
Salt and Pepper to season
- Place the chilli, about a handful of the coriander leaves, the crushed garlic, fresh ginger, the fish sauce and the soy sauce into a food processor and blitz until you have a rough paste – it doesn’t have to be smooth but the ingredients need to be well mixed together.
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and on a medium to high heat fry the chunks of chicken for a few minutes. Just when they are starting to seal, add in the spicy paste and fry for a few more minutes.
- Add the spring onions, the pepper and the baby corn to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and let the vegetables fry for a few minutes.
- Next, pour in the chicken stock and stir well and leave the soup to simmer for about 5 minutes so that the spicy flavours will start to infuse the stock.
- Add the rice and leave to cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked through.
- Season to taste and serve with a scattering of fresh coriander leaves on top.