Saturday, March 24, 2012
Recipe: "Canh Ga (Chicken Soup with Greens, from Vietnam)" from "Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.
Rating: Good. Quick and easy.
Status: Made twice.
The recipe has the following advantages: it is relatively simple and quick to make, and doesn't require a lot of ingredients. The chicken is pouched in the chicken broth, so it will be very flavorful even if you use store bought broth because the chicken infuses the broth with flavor. I used skinless chicken drumsticks with the bone in, so that the bone would help to give more flavor. Before serving the meat is removed from the bones, and the bones discarded. The cooked chicken and the stock can be made a day ahead and stored (the chicken should be stored separately from the broth), so that it will be extremely quick to finish cooking.
I like this recipe because it is simple but fulfilling. The cellophane noodles were my favorite as a kid because they seem to disappear into the soup; we called them clear noodles. frequently bok choi gets stuck in my teeth because it has strings that are hard to break. In this recipe, I like how the bok choi is sliced into 1-inch thick pieces; this makes them much easier to eat. The chicken stays really moist in this recipe too.
The choice to customize your dish seems to be prevalent in southeastern Asian cooking. Many dishes are served a side plate of bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, lime, sliced fresh chili peppers, and a variety of side sauces in southeastern Asian cooking. So in this spirit, I also garnished my soup bowl with some sliced Serrano chili pepper (this isn't specified in the recipe), since I like spicy soups.
This makes a nice meal when it is served with fried rice, made simply with leftover white rice, scrambled eggs, white pepper, and (yes) olive oil. Olive oil is certainly not traditional, but my mother always uses olive oil to cook with, so that's what makes this dish taste "home style" to me. The fried rice should be white, so there shouldn't be any soy sauce or other flavoring in it that would color the rice.