Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sesame Chicken Soup

Usually done without vermicelli noodles
As a child, this was my favourite soup.  When my family first immigrated, this soup cut through Vancouver's chilly weather and reminded us of home.  According to Chinese medicine, consuming lots of black sesames during pregnancy helps baby develop healthy pale skins.  I am not sure about the validity of this claim, but might as well work it into my diets.  Black sesame oil offers intense flavour and can be found in ethnic food store such as T&T.

This soup is gluten, dairy, egg, sugar, and soy free. It can also be paleo-friendly by removing rice wine and replacing it with simple chicken broth or plain water (just adjust seasonings accordingly).  I usually use daikon, but you can also use any other root vegetables. The traditional soup uses no vegetable at all.  The soup can be poured over cooked rice to make congee or minestrone.  I added paleo-friendly vermicelli instead.

Note: Traditionally, this dish requires bone in chicken thigh.  You need to cleave the the thighs into half pieces.  But I find that the jagged bones can be problematic especially for children.  I tested this recipe using boneless skinless chicken thigh. There was some difference, but it made it much easier to eat.

Ingredients: Serves 4
1 pound chicken thigh halved or boneless skinless chicken thighs
1½ cup daikon cubbed (optional)
1 cup carrot (optional)
3-4 slices of ginger
2 tablespoon black sesame oil
4 cup rice wine (replace with more chicken broth or water for paleo)
2 cup chicken broth or water
4 teaspoon white pepper
4 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup cilantro chopped

Instruction:
1. In a pot, heat sesame oil on high heat.
2. Add sliced ginger and sauté for 30 second
3. Add chicken pieces and cook until the outside of the chicken is cooked (you don't see anymore pink)
4. Add rice wine, chicken broth, and/or water.
5. Reduce heat to medium.  Add the carrots and daikon. Then bring to boil
6. Reduce to simmer. With a spoon, remove excess sesame oil floating on the surface.
7. When the vegetables have softened, add white pepper, salt, and cilantro to taste. Serve!

Note: If you like to add vermicelli as well, delay adding the cilantro.  Bring the soup back to a boil after seasoning and put the noodle in for 1 minute.  Reduce heat and add the cilantro then.

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