When food bloggers blog about the ol’ soup, words like ‘comfort’ and ‘cold weather’ and ‘padded shoes’ are tossed around. Padded shoes? Who would’ve thought?
So why not introduce a new word to the mix?
Like a NETWORK.
Ugh, lame. You have permission to punish me for that.
This recipe draws inspiration from Ohn-no-khakswe, a famous chicken and coconut soup served on the streets of Burma. This simple, spicy soup is bolstered by some crunchy/herby/spicy/onion-y garnishes where YOU get decide how much of each you’d like. And that’s where the fun, social aspect comes in. There’s actually activity at the table where this soup is served – how often can a soup lay claim to that?
I know that the beautiful weather in South Africa isn’t soup-friendly at the moment, so this soup is more for the benefit of readers in the Northern hemisphere. However … I made it last week – in warm weather – specifically to trial this recipe’s quantities, and my family ate it without complaint. (This can also be due to there being no alternative meal at the table and several implied death threats, but hey.)
Loosely adapted from Zuleikha Mayat’s A Treasury of South African Indian Delights
300g chicken fillets, cubed
1 teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1/2 a teaspoon white pepper
5 tablespoons of fat (I used 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons oil)
1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red chilli, or 1 whole chilli, finely chopped
Pinch of cardamom
1 heaped tablespoon ginger-garlic mix
1.2 litres boiling water
3 tablespoons Knorr thick vegetable soup mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 can coconut cream
3 spring onions, sliced
handful of coriander, chopped
1. Mix the chicken with the cumin-coriander powder and the white pepper. Place in the fridge to marinate for a little while.
2. In a large, deep pot, heat up the fat (medium heat). Add the onion, cloves, cinnamon stick, red chilli, cardamom and cumin seeds.
3. When the onion starts browning around the edges, add the ginger-garlic. Cook until aromatic, then add the chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
4. Now add the boiling water, milk, vegetable soup powder, salt and the sugar. Turn the heat down so that the soup is simmering; cover and simmer for one and a half hours. Check every 20 minutes to make sure the soup does not boil dry.
5. After 90 minutes of cooking time, pour in the coconut cream and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add more salt if necessary.
6. Add the sliced spring onions and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and sprinkle with the coriander leaves. Cover and set aside while you prepare the accompaniments.
Serve these in bowls around the main soup bowl, for guests to take how much they please.
– fried samoosa pur (about 3 cups)
– spaghetti (150g), cooked al dente
– sliced onions, deep fried until crispy.
– fresh crushed red chilli, loosened up with a little oil
– more chopped coriander leaves
– more sliced spring onions
If you don’t have samoosa pur, you can fry some shredded spring roll pastry or deep fry boiled noodles. Whatever you do, don’t leave out the crunch factor in this soup. It makes all the difference.