By the time Autumn comes around I am looking for any excuse to cook something other than a barbecue and salad, something a little bit comforting with the onset of the cooler weather.  The day I made this it was 27°C but it didn’t stop the whole family tucking into this bowl of fragrant, coconuty delight!  Really fresh, simple,  healthy and importantly a meal that doesn’t pull too heavily on the purse strings.  Another winner chicken dinner!

Prep time:    20 Minutes      Cooking time:   30  Minutes         $  Low Budget

Serves 4

2 x chicken breast fillets

1 x 375gm  packet of medium thickness rice noodles

1 stalk of lemon grass, bruised with the back of your knife

2 red chillies, split down the middle from about halfway

4 kaffir lime leaves

5cm piece of ginger, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised

3 spring onions, ends removed and halved

Roots and stalks of a bunch of coriander, rinsed well and leaves reserved for garnish

3 cups of chicken stock (salt reduced preferably)

1 x 400gm tin of coconut cream

Juice of 1 lime

3 tbs of fish sauce

1 tbs of grated palm sugar (brown sugar will do)

200gm of snow peas, ends trimmed and halved

1 bunch of baby bok choy, sliced into quarters lengthways

2 spring onions, finely sliced diagonally

1 long red chilli, seeds removed and sliced into thin strips

Place the stock, coconut cream, ginger, chilli, garlic, lemongrass, lime leaves, spring onions and coriander roots and stems in a large saucepan and stir well to combine.  Bring it to the boil nice and slowly and allow it to come to a simmer.  Add the lime juice, fish sauce and palm sugar and stir to combine.  Have a little taste at this point and adjust the fish sauce or sugar if needed.  You should have the perfect balance of hot, salty, sweet & sour.

Make sure the soup is on a nice low simmer and gently place the chicken breasts in the liquid.  Pop a lid on and let the breasts poach gently for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the breasts from the liquid and set aside to cool slightly.  Once cooled use a pair of tongs and a fork to shred the breast meat into nice stringy pieces.

Drain the stock into a large bowl through a fine sieve (or use a slotted spoon)  and discard the aromatics.  Pour the stock back into the pot and bring back to a simmer.  Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for approximately 6 minutes or until just tender.  Drain and divide among four large serving bowls.

Bring the kettle to the boil.  Place the bok choy and snow peas in a large bowl (you can recycle the stock draining one to save on washing up) and pour over boiling water from the kettle.  Leave it for about 2 minutes and drain the water away.  Arrange the veggies and shredded chicken on top of the noodles and ladle over the soup stock.

Mix the chilli, coriander and spring onion in a small bowl and toss gently with your fingers.   Divide among the four bowls and arrange nice little piles on top of the soup and serve.