fragrant asian broth

I recently got back from ten days at home and I was just as happy as larry! it has been wonderful to just stop for a minute and have a break – and the fact that school holidays coincided with uni was just wonderful as i actually get to see my family and not just try fruitlessly persaude my little sister to pull a sickie and hang out with me (spoiler alert – it never works!) I’ve read 3 books, baked, cooked dinner, been for numerous cafe dates, went to Cinderella (sooo good!) and the Woman in Gold (even better!) and done so much lazing in my pyjamas over multiple cups of coffee.
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my sister Sarah is the greatest cook and cooks dinner almost every night which blows my track record when i still lived at home out of the water. the one night i managed to wrest the kitchen off her i decided to make this fragrant asian broth, with vermicelli noodles and chicken coriander balls – it’s so good! it is one of our family’s faves and aways feels like such a treat. i figured that after hot cross buns pudding and profiteroles, it was high time that i posted a savoury, healthy recipe – and this ticks all the boxes.
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we have grown up on asian food – my mum has always cooked us stirfries, curries and more and we have gone through many rice cookers over the years. since we grew up eating spicy food and there was not much room for fussiness in our house, we all have extremely tolerant palates and were amazed at the thought of people NOT enjoying spicy food! i’ll never forget making butter chicken in home economics in year 7 – as you can imagine, this being Christchurch, NZ, it was the mildest mixture with just a hint of spice – half the students couldn’t eat it they found it so hot, and here was 11 year old Anna disgusted by the lack of flavour!!
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don’t worry, this soup isn’t hot unless you want it to be – i like to let people stir through their chosen amount of chilli through their soup, which eliminates the chances of the home ec situation repeating itself! it is light and filling at the same time – the flavours are all super light and fragrant, but since there is tons of liquid it’s very satisfying. the yummiest thing for winter time, when you need a break from the heavy ‘comfort food’ like potatoes and roasts and casseroles. this is just as comforting, but less food coma inducing! and note – with dunedin’s polar blast we are currently experiencing (snow in april, it’s no joke) this would be the most ideal way to thaw out!
next time – i need to chat about my birthday! it was on wednesday and I had the happiest day – goodness gracious how did I get such wonderful people in my life? my family, friends and flatmates were so so good to me and my heart was overflowing.
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fragrant chicken coriander broth 
adapted from ray mcvinnie’s numerous asian soup recipes
2 litres chicken stock (the real stuff, not just chicken stock powder)
a bunch of coriander
1 kg chicken breasts, cubed
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp crushed ginger (or as much as you want, really)
10 thin slices of ginger
4 carrots, julienned
4 bunches bok choy, sliced in think ribbons
6 button mushrooms, very finely sliced
a packet of vermicelli noodles
minced chilli, to taste
blitz the chicken breasts, garlic, crushed ginger and coriander stems (not the leaf/frond part, save those for the end) in the food processor until all combined and chicken minced.
heat chicken stock in a big stock pot to a simmer and add ginger slices. use a teaspoon to make walnut sized balls of chicken, and plop them in as you go. they are cooked when they rise to the top. add carrot, mushrooms and bok choy. let simmer for 5 – 10 mins or until carrot is cooked. rehydrate the vermicelli in boiling water and drain.
Place vermicelli in bowls and ladle over the broth. add minced chilli to taste and top with coriander leaves. Enjoy!
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