I am convinced it takes a touch of insanity to move apartments in the Canadian December. How did I reach that conclusion? By doing it twice in as many years. The apartment hunt I alluded to in my last post was fruitful. We found a delightful apartment with an adorable kitchen and we moved in there this Saturday. Just this morning, as the sun’s rays came in through the wide living room window filtered through the tall bare tree in the front yard and illuminated the… um… the cartons strewn all about, I knew we had chosen the right place to call home for the foreseeable future. It has windows facing every direction, so it will be a bright, cheerful, sunny place with plenty of ventilation. In summer. And I am determined it should be a cozy little nest in the winter.
The previous week was spent packing. Oh and what a miserable week it was, especially weather-wise – very cold and windy with snow and sleet. The Friday before we moved was so horrible, I stepped out of the car for barely a minute without a cap and the icy wind hit me so bad, it felt as if someone had kicked me in the head. We had already started to question the wisdom of moving the next morning, when Mr. Murphy decided to make his presence felt. When we got home from work, already dreading the hours of packing that stretched before us and the cold weather the next day, we found that all the 3 elevators were out of order. Did I mention our old apartment was on the 19th floor?
We stood around for a while waiting for the elevators to be fixed, because we were certainly in no hurry to take the stairs, and then we headed to the nearest McDonalds to drown our dread in grease and fat. Don’t turn up your noses, folks. At dire times such as these, one needs the comfort of deep fried, well salted fries. (Which reminds me, I have to share with you all a recipe for baked ‘fries’. Soon.) So anyway, they managed to get the elevators running again after a while and we were able to go home. We packed until the wee hours of the morning, barely caught a few hours of sleep and then started to move our stuff.
Thankfully, the weather had softened somewhat and the sun even turned up briefly to see how we fared and while it still remained cold, it wasn’t cruel. All through the day I held before my eyes the picture of a steaming bowl of soup. If I could but sit comfortably and sip some hot chicken soup. It was this image that kept me going.
No, I did not get any soup that day. I had to be content with remembering the aroma of lemongrass and coriander and pretending to taste it (Yes, I can be delusional on demand). I am sharing with you this special soup today, which has the power to comfort, to restore and the mere promise of which gave me such strength. I had made it last when Super-storm Sandy was ravaging North America and it gave us hope as we sat watching the gale raging outside our window. Before that, I had made it when Tanmoy had the sniffles and was feeling rather poorly. It was just the thing for both the times, and it is what I wanted on our moving day. The pictures in this post are from the last time I made it.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
WHAT YOU NEED:
100 gms Chicken, boneless, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Carrots, julienned
1 small Onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp Ginger, slivered
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Coriander, chopped
5-6 pieces of Lemongrass, about 1″ each
1-2 Green Chillies, slit in the center
3 cups Stock, vegetable or chicken
2 cups Water
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
WHAT YOU DO:
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan, add the chicken pieces and half the garlic and cook until no pink remains, stirring once in a while. Remove from pan, leaving as much oil in as possible.
- In the same pan, sauté the onions for a couple of minutes.
- Add the ginger strips, remaining garlic, green chillies, mushrooms and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes more.
- Add the pieces of chicken, of lemongrass and half the coriander, mix well and cook covered for a couple of minutes.
- Add the stock and water, increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Then lower the heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and stir. Garnish with the remaining coriander and serve hot.
If you prefer smaller pieces of chicken, chop them up further before adding back to the pan. Cooked chicken is much easier to cut than raw. Just be sure to wait until it has cooled down.
Adding the minced garlic while sautéing the chicken gives it a very pleasing aroma.