PHOTOGRAPHY BY PATRICK TREGENZA • STYLING BY DIANE GSELL
Inspired by my travels in Southeast Asia, this simple-to-make soup is punctuated by subtle Asian flavors thanks to an infusion of ginger, lemongrass and soy sauce. The tender rice and chicken are topped with a crunchy coconut and peanut combination for a textural balance that will keep everyone coming back for more.
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 (2-inch) pieces of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 lemongrass stalks, cut into 3 pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
7 cups chicken stock
1½ cups sushi rice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for serving
Scallions, sliced, for serving
1 teaspoon coconut oil
¼ cup chopped peanuts
¼ cup shaved coconut
Pinch of kosher salt
Place chicken, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and salt in a large pot. Cover with chicken stock.
Bring pot to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a holding plate. Stir rice, soy sauce and brown sugar into the pot. Cook at a simmer until rice is tender, about 20 additional minutes. While the rice is cooking, use two forks to shred the chicken.
Also while the rice is cooking, make the coconut-peanut topping. In a small skillet, warm the coconut oil over medium- high heat. Add the peanuts and stir until lightly browned. Add the coconut and a pinch of salt and continue stirring until golden-brown. Set aside to cool.
When the rice is tender, use a slotted spoon to fish out the ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Use the side of a chef’s knife to smash the garlic into a paste, and return it to the pot. Discard the ginger and lemongrass.
Stir the shredded chicken and lime juice into the soup. You can enjoy it immediately, or if you have time, cover the soup and refrigerate, and the rice will continue to absorb the liquid and the soup will thicken.
Enjoy the soup with a sprinkle of the coconut-peanut topping, scallions and a lime wedge. Serves 4–6.
Carmel resident Caroline Chambers grew up in North Carolina, where she was raised on the robust flavors of the South. She has owned and operated a farm-to-table catering company in San Diego and has worked as a recipe developer and stylist for publications and brands including The New York Times, Robert Mondavi Wine, Food Network and MagicChef. Her first cookbook, Just Married (Chronicle Books), was published in October 2018.