2 stalks fresh lemon grass (each 12 to 18 in. long), or 6 thin strips lemon peel (each 1/2 in. by 3 in.; yellow part only)
12 thin (quarter-size) slices fresh ginger
6 or 7 fresh jalapeño chilies (3 to 3 1/2 oz. total)
1 1/4 pounds cabbage
8 ounces mushrooms
2 carrots (8 oz. total)
2 pounds boned, skinned chicken breast halves
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes
About 1/2 cup lemon juice
About 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam) or soy sauce
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
5 cups hot cooked rice
2 lemons (5 oz. each), cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
How to Make It
In an 8- to 10-quart pan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, pull off and discard coarse outer layers from lemon grass and trim off and discard stem ends; rinse lemon grass. Cut each stalk into about 3-inch lengths. With the flat side of a knife, lightly crush lemon grass and ginger. Rinse chilies and cut one or two 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 1/4 inch wide and 2 to 3 inches long. Rinse mushrooms, trim off and discard stem ends and discolored parts, and slice lengthwise 1/4 inch thick. Peel carrots and slice 1/4 inch thick. Rinse chicken and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 1 1/2 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 (including juice). Cover and cook over high heat until chicken is no longer pink in the center (cut to test), 2 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and fish sauce to taste. Serve soup from the pan, or pour into a tureen. Sprinkle with green onions.
Place rice, lemon wedges, cilantro, and chopped chilies in separate bowls and offer with soup to add to taste.
You can prepare through step 4 up to 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and chill. Return to a simmer, then continue.
I didn't read the reviews before I made this... Agree its very bland as is though I really like all the healthy ingredients!I added more lemon grass, lemon zest, fish sauce and some pepper. I say spice it up to your taste!
I have never written a review before and I use myrecipes all of the time. This soup was such a waste of good ingredients and time. I agree with jchristine that it is bland and lacks individual notes of flavor. I have so much left over and hate to throw it out, but I don't want to eat it.
Based on comments from jchristine11, I skipped the cabbage and did not miss it. I also wish I had steeped the ginger and lemongrass more, or just used more of it. The notes didn't come through well in the final soup. It was still delicious, but from the smell of that broth simmering I thought those flavors would be more powerful. Also, don't be afraid of the fish sauce. It really pulls the flavors together without fishiness.
I really enjoyed making this recipe. I forgot to strain out the ginger and the lemongrass so that was a pain to do once I had added the other ingredients. I would recommend letting the ginger and the lemongrass really steep in the broth for a while if you like this flavor to come through more. I enjoyed the subtlety of the flavor and the slight warmth that the chili pepper seeds gave to the soup as well.
This soup is bland and disappointing. The flavors of boiled chicken and cabbage ruin any chance of "asian-insired" flavors. If you do decide to make it, note that it serves 10-12. Unfortunately I wasted a lot of good ingredients in this huge soup.
I don't understand the "bland' comment, I love full flavors and this soup is great. My whole house smells good when I make this. This soup does require a bit of prep and makes a ton, so cut in half if you have a smaller number. It does freeze well. I have never used the lemongrass, it can be expensive and hard to find. I use the lemon peel, with great results, you also cannot skip the fish sauce, we find that to be essential!