Cold buster: My Hot and Sour Chicken soup
My version of the Asian Hot and Sour soup but with more fire to blast away any niggling cold. It worked for me anyway.
This recipe is all about getting the right combination of the lemon, fish sauce, vinegar and sugar just right so a little experimentation might be called for. It’ll feed two as a main rather well.
- Two chicken breasts — skinned and diced
- 1 pinch saffron
- 12 oz new potatoes
- 2 pak choi — leaves separated
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced lengthways
- 1 tsp Szechwan pepper corns — crushed
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 red Thai chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
- 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, finely sliced (to taste)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 pint of chicken stock
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt to season
Marinade the chicken breasts in the onion, oil and lemon juice for at least an hour.
Add the saffron to a dash of boiling water and let infuse for 10 minutes or so.
Remove the chicken and in a heavy-based saucepan sweat the onion, oil and lemon marinade over a medium/low heat until transparent, do not brown. Introduce the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a minute or two. Add the chicken, the saffron infusion and pepper and cook until the chicken is barely coloured. Add the chicken stock, then the rice vinegar, fish sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil and turn the heat down so there is only the very slightest of bubbles.
Check for balance — add more lemon, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar or salt if necessary. Remember the stock will reduce and intensify the flavour whilst cooking. Cook for 1–2 hours — we’re aiming for the chicken to be just beginning to fall apart when served. 25 minutes before serving add the new potatoes. 5 minutes before serving at the pak choi to allow them to wilt.
Check for seasoning and serve in warm bowls with the spring onions on top.