Hi, folks. While Katie road trips her way south to Florida, you are graced with a guest blogger and boyfriend, Douglas.
This soup I discovered while Katie and I were traveling through Southeast Asia. The final week of our time there was spent at a small bungalow resort on Mai Khao beach in the Phuket, Thailand. It was low season for tourism and the splendid hotels that neighboured ours were sparsely populated, to say the least. As we explored their outdoor bars and poolside lounges seeking refreshments (and free wifi), we couldn’t help but notice the staff greatly outnumbering the guests. Our modest resort was similarly vacant.
Such quiet seclusion was the perfect way to end a loud, smelly, stressful, exciting backpacking adventure. We had the run of the beach, bar, and, most importantly, kitchen!
The menu offered wonderful versions of local staples. The best of their offerings, however, was a simple Thai Breakfast Soup that Katie and I had nearly every morning. Admittedly, I rarely eat breakfast. When I do, it’s something relatively light and simple. But, this soup always delighted me.
Whenever I make this soup I am reminded of that beautiful place; the palm trees, the sea air, the treacherous surf, the wait staff who knew only enough English to repeat the same joke again and again, and the feeling that it was all there just for us.
- 6 Celery stalks, diced
- 4 Green onions, diced
- 6 Cups chicken stock
- 6 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 Cups cooked white or jasmine rice
- 3 Chicken breasts
- 2 ½ Tablespoons of minced ginger
- 3 – 5 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons diced cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using 1 tablespoon of oil, brush the surface of a large baking sheet. Place the chicken breasts on the baking sheet and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Bake the chicken for 20 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes. When finished, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
While chicken is baking, prepare the rice, dice the celery and green onions, and mince the ginger and garlic.
In a large saucepan bring the 6 cups of chicken stock to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add the celery, 3 of the 4 green onions, and ginger to the broth and reduce heat to medium. Season with fresh ground pepper, cover, and boil for 10 minutes.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once heated, add the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is crispy and brown. When all the garlic has browned, set aside.
Chop the cooked chicken breasts and add to the soup along with the 6 tablespoons of fish sauce. Stir to incorporate and simmer for 10 minutes. Chop the cilantro as the soup simmers.
Finally, add the rice to the soup and stir to incorporate. Once everything is hot, you’re ready to serve. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, crispy garlic, and fresh ground pepper.
The soup is delicious with a few diced Thai red chilies as well, if you prefer it spicy. Just add them when you add the celery, green onions, and ginger.
Serves 4 – 6.