Active time: 45 minutes / Total Time 1.5 hours (before stock and rice)
Serves 2-3 and scales proportionally
- 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, skin off, root trimmed
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 1-2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced or crushed
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 3 cups chicken stock or broth
- 5 baseball-sized tomatoes, diced (save the juice)
- 2 tbsp tamarind from a pliable block (a 2-inch cube), chopped (can be substituted with 2 tsp honey and juice of 1 plump lime)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp esame oil
- 4 inches of fresh Thai chilis, thinly sliced
- 1 fresh or frozen makrut lime leaf
- 2 inches peeled ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast
- 1 large handful snow peas, halved
- 1 large handful basil leaves (preferably Thai)
- For a hardier meal: 1 cup brown long grain rice, soaked for 25 minutes.
If you’re having rice, rinse it twice with cold water, then leave it soak on the 3rd fill.
Heat your oil in a Dutch Oven (or similarly large heavy pot) over medium low heat. Season the oil with a pinch of salt and
Cut off and discard top of lemongrass, leaving 6-inch stalks, then finely chop. Cut the stalks in half lengthwise first to halve your chopping time. Cook lemongrass, shallots, and garlic in oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until well browned (12-15 minutes).
Add stock, tomatoes, tamarind (or substitutes), fish sauce, chiles, lime leaves, and ginger. Simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes.
If you’re having rice, drain the water, rinse another time with cold water. In 1 cup water, simmer on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes.
While soup simmers, freeze chicken breast just until slightly firm, 20 to 30 minutes, then thinly slice crosswise.
If you’re having rice, with it still in the pot, drain the excess water, remove from heat, and cover with a linen towel until ready to serve.
Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large saucepan, pressing hard on and then discarding solids. Keep the garlic and chilis if you like. Return to a simmer and stir in chicken, diced tomatoes, snow peas, and basil. Gently simmer until chicken is cooked (1-2 minutes). Season with additional fish sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil.