This soup is easy to make, hearty and satisfying. This soup is rather mild, but chose to leave it that way in deference to those who don't eat spicy food. If you were serving a large group with different tastes, that would be a consideration. I use about double the lemon grass, fish sauce, peppers and cilantro, putting half the peppers and cilantro in the soup and the other half for each person to add. If you can find them, Thai chile peppers are hotter than jalapenos!
- 3 quarts chicken broth
- 2 stalks fresh lemongrass (each 12 to 18 inches long)
- 12 slices fresh ginger (thin, quarter sized)
- 6 fresh jalapeno chilies
- 1¼ lbs cabbage
- 8 ounces mushrooms
- 2 carrots
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup lemon juice (approximate)
- 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions
- 5 cups hot cooked rice
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
- 1½ cups chopped fresh cilantro
- In an 1 to 10-quart pan, bring broth to a boil over high heat.
- Meanwhile, pull off and discard course outer layers from lemon grass and trim off and discard stem ends.
- Cut each stalk into about 3-inch lengths.
- With the flat side of a knife, lightly crush lemon grass and ginger.
- Cut one or two chilies in half lengthwise (use two if you'd like it spicy); stem remaining chilies (seed, if desired, for less heat), finely chop and reserve.
- Add lemon grass, ginger, and halved chilies to boiling broth.
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, rinse cabbage and cut into shreds about ¼ inch wide and 2 to 3 inches long.
- Rinse mushrooms, trim off and discard stem ends and discolored parts, and slice lengthwise ¼ inch thick.
- Peel carrots and slice ¼ inch thick.
- Rinse chicken and cut into ¼-inch thick slices 1½ to 2 inches long.
- With a slotted spoon, remove and discard lemon grass, ginger and chilies from broth.
- Add cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic to broth; cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add chicken and tomatoes with their juice.
- Cover and cook over high heat until chicken is no longer pink in the center (cut to test).
- This will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and fish sauce to taste.
- Sprinkle with green onions.
- Place rice, lemon wedges, cilantro and chopped chilies in separate bowls and offer with soup to add to taste.