During our winter vacation, we got into the type of lazy loop you can only get into while on vacation: 1) sleep in, 2) eat breakfast after ten in the morning, 3) meander to lunch around 3pm. Fort Wayne has a family-owned hole-in-the-wall Burmese restaurant that wiggled right into that schedule. Several days in a row, we shamelessly crammed around a group of two-top tables pushed together, slurping up curry. On our last vacation day, our table fell into a conversation about who was going to take the head chef, Mahnin, back to their home town for endless access to the menu. While she was flattered, she said she was too old to move!
Then the inevitable came: vacation ended. We went back home. We started eating breakfast at seven again. And, many miles from that group of two-top tables, the Mahnin craving struck.
Lemongrass Soup was one of the first dishes we craved. Brothy and fragrant, Lemongrass Soup is the type of soup you want when you're cold, looking for something "slurppy," or feeling under the weather. It is undeniably cozy. A healthy dose of ginger boosts your immune system, while the scent of lemongrass alone helps to mitigate headaches. It's the ultimate whole food flu aid and the ideal keep-me-healthy-this-flu-season dinner. So whether you are trying to get healthy, stay healthy, or you are just craving something brothy, this soup is it.
I made this version with chicken, but it would also be delicious with shrimp--just throw them in at the very end and cook for a few minutes (until the shrimp are pink).
Healing Lemongrass Soup
1 pound boneless chicken (breast or thigh meat) OR shrimp (shelled and deveined)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
8 cups bone broth
1 five-inch lemongrass stalk
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons ginger
1 teaspoon minced habanero pepper OR 2 minced thai chili peppers
1 bunch green onions
2 large carrots
8 leaves bok choy
2 cups mushrooms
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (or more as desired)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce OR 1 teaspoon fish sauce
Salt & pepper
1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a soup pot (or Instant Pot). Add the chicken and cook it through (if using shrimp, skip this and move on to step 2).
2. While the chicken cooks, prepare the lemongrass: remove any darker green parts, and slice the remaining pale piece into think rounds (I like to do this on a bias). Rise the sliced lemongrass in a strainer. Mince the garlic, ginger, and chili pepper.
3. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Pour the broth into the pot, along with the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Put the lid on while you chop the remaining vegetables: slice the carrots into rounds, roughly chop the bok choy, and half the mushrooms. Slice the green onions. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, slice it into thin strips. Put the vegetables and chicken in the soup pot with the broth (If using shrimp instead of chicken, add it now). Pour in the coconut milk and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
4. If using an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) secure the lid and cook on the soup setting for 1 minute. If using a stove-top pot, cover and bring to a simmer, cooking for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
5. Serve hot!