Easter is a tricky time for families with allergies. There is the never ending quest to find allergy friendly Easter eggs. When we find them, we buy them immediately because you never know when you will find them again! It’s easy enough to get nut free chocolate, or dairy free chocolate, but trying to find chocolate that covers both allergies (plus gluten free) can be a bit of a challenge. In the end, we found Alpha hunting eggs for the Easter egg hunt, and a large Kinnerton’s Easter egg for my daughter – all gluten, dairy and nut free.
We woke early, and the children had an Easter egg hunt. We don’t buy a lot of chocolate, as its hard to get so I bought some plastic eggs, and filled them with little treats (tiny bracelets, shopkins, and some little minions figurines). After the hunt, the children sat down to eat some chocolate for breakfast, while I got started on our Easter lunch.
We have a tradition of spending Easter Sunday with our Goddaughter and her parents. This year it was our turn to host and prepare an Easter feast. We decided on a big pot of chicken and coconut milk noodle soup.
I love this soup. It’s one of my favourite things to prepare and eat. There is a lot of chopping involved, but I find it quite relaxing, and enjoy the preparation. There’s something quite meditative about spending all that time chopping! It’s a nice dish to have on the weekend, when you can take some extra time to make it. I also love that people can choose what to add to it, and really make the dish their own.
Chicken and Coconut Noodle Soup
1 piece of Galangal, about 5cm long
1 large chunk of Ginger, bout 5 cm long
2 fresh Turmeric roots
3 cloves of Garlic
2 Lemongrass stalks
4 Kaffir lime leaves
2 medium or one large free range chicken
4 tins of light coconut cream
2 table spoons fish sauce
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons of Cumin powder
2 teaspoons of dried coriander powder
Coriander root and stalks, finely chopped
Coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 of an iceberg lettuce or cabbage, finely shredded
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 Cucumbers, peeled and cut into narrow sticks
Green beans or snake beans, cut into 0.5cm pieces
1 cup of finely sliced mushrooms
Deep fried shallots (available at Asian grocer)
Dried chilli flakes
2 limes, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Two tomatoes, diced (you can subsitute this for two fresh chillies, if you like some extra heat)
Fine Vermicelli Rice noodles
The first stage – Making the Stock
This stock is boiled twice, to create a clearer broth. You can skip this step if you wish, but the soup with be fattier and more gelatinous.
Place whole chicken in a very large pot. Fill with water until completely submerged. Bring to the boil, and simmer on low heat for an hour. Take off the stove, and pour away the water. Refill with fresh water, and return to the stove to simmer.
Take the lemongrass stalks, hit them with a meat mallet a few times to release the flavour. Peel the turmeric, ginger and galangal and cut into small chunks. Peel the garlic cloves. Chop the coriander root and stalks. Add to the pot, and simmer for two hours.
(While the stock is cooking, you can move to the second stage, and start chopping!)
After 2 hours, carefully remove the chicken from the pot, and place in a fine strainer sitting over a large pot (to catch any of the stock pouring off the chicken). Remove the skin, shred the chicken meat with a fork, and place in a separate bowl. Discard bones.
Pour the stock through the strainer, into the second pot. Discard strained items. Once the stock has settled, you can skim any fat off the top if you wish.
The second stage – Preparing the ingredients for the soup
This is the most time consuming part of the preparation. I normally do this while the stock is cooking. You basically want all of the vegetables chopped as finely as possible, so that they lightly cook when the boiling hot soup in poured on top.
Peel and julienne the carrots as finely as you can.
Peel and cut the cucumber into narrow sticks
Cut the ends off the beans, and then cut into small pieces, roughly 0.5cm long.
Finely slice the mushrooms
finely shred the lettuce
finely chop the coriander leaves
Arrange on a tray, ready for people to serve themselves once the soup is ready.
The third stage – prepare noodles
boil a large pot of water for the noodles. Once boiling, turn off the heat, and add noodles. Leave for a few minutes, until noodles are soft, then drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again.
Place noodles in a large bowl. Pour in 1 table spoon of olive oil, and mix through with your fingers. Pull out small handfuls of noodles, and arrange into small piles, ready as a single serve for each soup bowl.
Stage Four – Soup
Finely slice shallots. Add to a large pot, with ground cumin, ground coriander, kafir lime leaves and two tablespoons of oil. Cook on low heat for one minute. Add stock, diced tomatoes and fish sauce, a litre of water and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, and simmer for another 5 min. Squeeze in roughly half a lime. Season to taste.
Each person takes a large bowl, and adds their desired ingredients from the chopped vegetables, noodles, and shredded chicken. Ladle the boiling soup over the top. Add fried shallots, dried chilli and a squeeze of lime as desired. Enjoy!