I hadn't done the shopping last week and opened my fridge to decide what to cook. No veggies except a bunch of asparagus, a few spring onions, three-quarters of a red pepper and a pack of organic chicken breast. What can I make that's interesting with that combination, I thought?
Chicken breast can be an awkward thing to think up ideas for something tasty and interesting other than a stirfry, but it does lend itself beautifully to a fast, nutritious meal. This quick, main meal soup packed with veggies and deliciousness is great for those mid-week meals where your inspiration and energy to improvise is low using what you've got left in the fridge and the pantry before the weekend shop. This is fully Keto, but if you want a little carb, add a handful of cooked fine rice noodles or a couple of tablespoons cooked jasmine rice to the bowl before adding the hot soup. If you're vegan, leave out the chicken, add some silken tofu and extra veggies.
I buy kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass. galangal and coriander root from Asian stores and keep in the freezer, but you can easily obtain kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass from Sainsbury's and buy supermarket potted coriander and cut off the roots and stalks. Coriander root is a mainstay of Thai cuisine and makes such a difference to the flavour of a dish when used.
Asparagus is in season at the moment and is one on the list of the 'Clean Fifteen' vegetables grown without the use of pesticides so you do not necessarily have to buy organic - but I still wash it thoroughly in a veggie wash. It is a nutrient-packed vegetable rich in folate, Vitamins A, C, E and K as well as chromium which helps balance blood sugar. It also has high levels of glutathione, a compound that helps break down carcinogens and neutralise free radicals, protecting against certain CanSurs such as bone, breast, colon and lung. It also contains the amino acid asparagine, a natural diuretic that increases urination and helps rid the body of excess salts - which often makes your urine smelly several hours after eating asparagus. If you haven't got asparagus, cauliflower florets work well too, and is also a 'super' vegetable.
2 chicken breast, skinned and finely sliced
1 x 400 ml tin of organic coconut milk
1 x 400 ml tin of organic coconut cream
2 birds' eye red chillis, finely sliced
2 - 3 tbs quality fish sauce
1 heaped tsp organic coriander seeds
1 small bunch coriander with roots
juice of 1 organic lime (or more to taste)
2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and cut into 1 inch pieces
large piece of galangal, cut into several thick slices
4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded (1 pack from Sainsbury's)
1 pack of asparagus, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red pepper, finely sliced
basil leaves or coriander to garnish
handful cooked thin rice noodles or cooked rice (optional)
bunch organic spring onions, sliced
** 1 cup Healing Intent
1. Mince the coriander roots and stems of the coriander. Heat a saucepan and dry fry the coriander seeds until fragrant. Remove and lightly crush.
2. In a large saucepan combine the coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, coriander seeds, root and stalks and sliced chicken. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the red pepper, asparagus, lime leaves, chillis, coconut cream and fish sauce and simmer for another 3 - 4 minutes. Do not overcook the vegetables. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice to taste, adding a little more fish sauce if you want it saltier.
4. Serve garnished with sliced spring onions and the basil or coriander.
** Healing Intent: when cooking foods to heal the body it is important to set your intent. The best way to do this is imagine that you are cooking this dish for yourself or for someone you love who is very ill and that this dish is the only thing that will help in their healing. You will find that the way you handle the food will change, and will not only result in a better dish, but you will feel the food actually nourishing your body and spirit.