Refreshing Asian-style soup

Is it too warm for soup at this time of year? A lot of the time I’m very much inclined to think so, unless we’re talking about gazpacho or similar. But thinking about my warm weather habits when eating out, it occurred to me that Asian-style soups – with their zingy combination of ginger, herbs and limes – are also great when the thermometer’s up. I have two variations on this theme, both of which make a lovely, light, refreshing late supper when it’s warm.


Basic Asian-style soup

Gently heat 250ml chicken or vegetable stock per person and add the following, making sure you leave any chicken/delicate leaves until the end:

  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, cut in large pieces
  • 1 carrot, in thin slices or ribbons
  • Cabbage, pak choi or Chinese greens, shredded
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 large handful bean sprouts
  • Shredded cooked chicken (and/or tofu)

For Japanese style:

Towards the end of the cooking process, add one tablespoon of soy sauce and one tablespoon of mirin or rice vinegar. Pour the hot soup onto a bowl of cooked soba noodles and top with chopped spring onion and sliced radishes.

For Thai style:

Add lemongrass when you begin to heat the stock, and 100ml coconut milk when you add the chicken. Top with coriander and sliced chillies. You can pour the soup on top of glass noodles, if you like


Paprikás pancakes

One a recent holiday to Budapest I feel in love with these pancakes, which I tried in a lovely traditional restaurant near the City Park. I couldn’t wait to try out my own take on them when I got home – here I’ve made the sauce less salty, reduced the calories by using low fat yoghurt and used flavourful chicken thighs instead of breast.

  • 6 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 2 green peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1.5 tbsp hot paprika
  • 1.5tbsp sweet paprika
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 4-5 tbsp low-fat plain yoghurt
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6-8 plain pancakes (use your favourite recipe – I like this one)

Mix the flour with 1tbsp hot paprika and 1 tbsp sweet paprika. Heat the oil and dredge the chicken thighs in the flour, setting the leftover flour aside for later. When the oil is hot, fry the chicken thighs in batches until browned all over. Once done, keep the chicken in a plate or bowl while you fry the peppers and onions until the onion is soft. Add the chicken back to the pan with the chicken stock, then bring to the boil, cover, and turn down to a simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly. Mix the reserved flour into 2tbsp of yoghurt and then stir into the stew. Finally, stir in the rest of the yoghurt.

To serve: remove the bones from the chicken pieces and shored the meat into the sauce, then use to fill or top the pancakes. Great with garden peas or a crunchy salad.