Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cambodian Chicken-and-Rice Soup with Shrimp

Props must be given to a spouse who cooks and does it well. So this is my shout-out to SB. He likes fusion cooking, experiments much more than I do. He's usually the one who cooks the main course for any dinner party we have and I drive myself insane with making sure all the sides are just right, creating the perfect starter and finishing off with a delectable dessert, always my favorite to make.

On Friday we had quite a few hours to spare (8 to be exact - that's another story) so we talked and caught up on paper work that needed to be done. Finally we had some time to pour over our newly arrived magazine subscriptions from Bon Appetit and the gifted subscription of Food & Wine. Of course I always look at the photography and my favorite Bon Appetit section, "what to buy now." I also look at the dessert recipes and whatever else jumps out at me, folding the pages of the recipes I want to explore later.

SB always finds the more exotic recipes and immediately wants to try them. I'm the sceptic. But he usually wins me over. As we mapped out our plan for this meal during these spare few hours it got so late we finally ordered food to go and went home late and ate a plate of pasta and garlic rolls from a local Italian Trattoria C&O's in Venice.

So the soup became a reality this afternoon. Ever since I read Oishii Eats stories about her trip to Vietnam I've wanted to visit this region of the world. Right now that's not going to happen so we'll bring some of the flavors home from the region. I slurped and savoured every bite of chicken and shrimp fused with ginger, garlic and lime, it literally burst in your mouth with flavor. This was worth the wait. My photo doesn't do it justice. Incidentally, as much as I love photography you would think it be better. I'm working on updating with a digital camera, so far I've used everyone elses from SLR's to quick little sure shots. I've been hasty in taking pictures and not styling since I'm usually starving our anxious to eat. Hopefully has I have new equipment and a bit more time these images will improve.

Here's the recipe from Food & Wine, we made a couple of substitutes (noted in parenthesis below), only because we couldn't find the exact items or we just wanted to try something different.

One 3 pound rotisserie chicken
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (we used Olive Oil)
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup water
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (we used Oyster sauce)
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup cooked jasmin rice (we used regular rice)
8 shelled and deveined medium shrimp, halved lengthwise (about 1/4 pound)
2 tablespoons fresh lime jice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 thai chile, thinly sliced (we used red pepper flakes)
Lime wedge, for serving

1. Cut the chicken into legs, thighs, breast and wings. Cut each breast crosswise through the bones into 3 pieces. Remove the thigh bones and cut each thigh in half.
(SB took all the chicken off the bones and put the pieces in the broth).

2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil, Add the giner and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, water, fish sauce, honey and rice and bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook just until opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro, basil and chile and serve right away, passing lime wedges at the table.

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