This is the kind of recipe that sums up the kind of food I like to eat when I want dishes that are satisfying and a little lighter, and that perhaps don’t require much else with them. I dislike the notion that lighter or healthier eating needs to rely on bland, flavor-free, overly simple food, and the misconception that it revolves solely around all that is green or sprouted. This recipe has more to do with simplicity in content, not necessarily in flavor or process. Fresh flavors, and satisfying and enticing foods, whatever the weather... those are the ones we will most likely turn to time and again.
1/3 lb vermicelli rice noodles
3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 3–4 slices
3-inch piece fresh turmeric, halved lengthwise (or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 quarts plus 1 cup cold water (or use fresh vegetable or chicken stock)
Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb shredded cooked chicken (leftovers are ideal)
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
3–4 handfuls chopped kale, tough stalks discarded
4 spring onions, thinly sliced from root to tip
1 small bunch (about 1 oz) mint, leaves picked, rolled up tightly and sliced into ribbons
1 small bunch (about 1 oz) fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Rinse the rice vermicelli under cold running water, then put it in a heatproof bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover the noodles well. Leave to soak for 10 minutes, then drain the noodles and rinse them under cold running water. Set aside.
Put the ginger, turmeric, garlic, and pepper flakes, if using, in a large, deep saucepan set over medium heat and pour in the water or stock. Season well with salt and pepper and give the mixture a stir, then add the chicken, bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. If the soup simmers too aggressively, you may need to add more water and adjust the seasoning.
Remove and discard the fresh turmeric, then add the noodles, carrots, and kale and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Check and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the spring onions, mint, and cilantro. Serve immediately.
The following recipe has been excerpted from Feasts: Middle Eastern Food to Savor & Share by Sabrina Ghayour, (Weldon Owen, 2018).
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