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  • A Gingery Lemongrass Soup in a Clear Chicken Broth

    Posted on | April 27, 2008 | 41 Comments |

    I pretend to be a great chef. I try to believe that cooking is therapeutic, but I don’t really believe that! I do like to pretend that I am a big time cook, I love the accolades that come with it. I love the glory so much that I’ve even deluded myself into thinking that I actually enjoy cooking. But there are so many other things I’d rather be doing. 

    Therapeutic, yeah right! I think watching TV is therapeutic, reading is relaxing and happy hour is pure bliss. But cooking, it is something that I do out of necessity.  And to keep my sanity, I have trained my mind to think that cooking is fun. It works, most of the time!  Why else would I sign myself up for a class that teaches the fundamentals of cooking? Where they teach you how to hold a knife properly and the proper way to cut an onion! Or how to make the perfect stock at home by simmering it for 24 hours! Yep, a whole day dedicated to stock… And I did this to myself even before I had a food blog, so it wasn’t even for research purpose, I genuinely thought I needed to know all these.

    Well, needless to say, making my own stocks at home is not something I do. They say the only way to get the depth of flavor in your sauces and soups is to make your own stock. That might be true, but I am normally happy with the canned broth, especially when used in small amounts. But when it comes to clear soups where the main ingredient is the broth, even I stay away from the canned broth. Main reason being that I make clear soup only when Siv is sick, and I wouldn’t feed him that much stuff out of a can when he is feeling ill. But even then, I can’t imagine putting that many hours into making a stock, so what do I do? I turn to the greatest kitchen invention known to mankind, a pressure cooker!

    I am sure there is a difference in taste between a slow brewed stock that takes 8-24 hours to complete, and a pressure cooked version that takes just 45 minutes. But my palate is not that sophisticated to notice the difference. So, here is my version of a chicken soup that cleared all the congestion out of Siv’s chest, the best medicine for the common cold! If you have a more evolved palate, replace the first part of the recipe with your homemade broth. Or if you are lazy and just want to use a store bought broth, feel free to do so too… You can use a vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian soup.

    Lemongrass Chicken Soup

    Chicken Broth

    Traditionally the broth is made with a Bouquet Garni, but since I strain everything out of the liquid anyway, I didn’t bother doing so. You can also add different veggies and herbs as you wish. I sauteed the chicken bones before boiling, which isn’t very common either, but I don’t like the raw taste of the meat, and wasn’t in the mood to roast the bones as you would normally do for a brown stock.


    • 1.5 lbs chicken breast bones after most of the meat is removed
    • 1 tsp butter
    • 1 cup sliced onions
    • salt to taste
    • 1/2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
    • 1/2 cup diced celery
    • 1/2 cup diced carrots
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 1 tsp fresh/dried thyme
    • 2 star anise


    In a large pressure cooker, melt the butter and add the sliced onions. Saute till the onions are soft. Add the chicken bones and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 6-7 minutes till the chicken pieces turns completely white and the raw smell disappears. Add about 12 cups of cold water to completely cover the chicken. Add the rest of the ingredients and close the lid. After the pressure is built up completely, reduce the heat to medium high and cook for about 45 minutes. Once the cooker is cool enough to handle, remove the lid and pass the liquid through a large strainer. Discard the solids, there is no more flavor left in those. Now youl have a clear aromatic chicken broth ready for the next step.

    Lemongrass Chicken Soup

    Use any veggies and greens and mushrooms of your choice. I used oyster mushrooms and baby spinach, only veggies I had. The measures are approximate.


    • 8-10 cups of chicken broth
    • 3 lemongrass stalks
    • 2 tbsp thinly sliced ginger pieces
    • 8 small Thai chilies slit (3 jalapeno peppers)
    • 1 cup oyster mushrooms
    • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
    • 1 large tomato cut into 8 pieces.
    • fresh basil leaves for garnish
    • 1 tbsp light soy sauce/ tamari sauce
    • juice from half a lime
    • salt and pepper for seasoning


    Discard the tough outer layers of the lemongrass, and cut the soft inner part into small finger long slices. Place the lemongrass stalks and the ginger slices in a mortar, and crush lightly with the pestle.

    In a large saucepan, place the broth and bring it to a boil. Add the lightly crushed lemongrass and ginger, along with the sliced chilies. Reduce the heat and cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the lemongrass, ginger and chilies from the liquid and bring it back to a full boil.

    Add the mushrooms and spinach and tomato slices into the liquid and let it boil for about 8-10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

    Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve piping hot.

    This soup was so hot and spicy and tangy and aromatic, it was exactly what my poor sick darling needed.

    Category: Chicken, Mushroom, Soups and Salads, South East Asia

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    41 Responses to “A Gingery Lemongrass Soup in a Clear Chicken Broth”

    1. CW
      April 27th, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

      I know! I’m awed and amazed by those who find cooking therapeutic. I have tried many times to delude myself into thinking that, lasts until I see the pile o’ dishes or the scattered litter of odds-n-ends of vegetables not cleared by the vegetable-chopper (the husband).

      Ah well..since we get to eat healthy food at home, sans MSG, colours & who knows what else, let’s just pretend it’s indeed therapeutic, shall we ;-)

      oh yeah, don’t even get me started about the cleaning up part… :) My mind just won’t believe that cleaning up is good for me, howmuchever hard I try :???:

    2. jaden
      April 27th, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

      beautiful and healthy soup – I have soooo much lemongrass in the garden so this is perfect!

      Thanks Jaden… and lemongrass in your garden???? Lucky You!!!!!

    3. Arundathi
      April 27th, 2008 @ 8:36 pm

      you sure could’ve fooled me! :) believe it or not, i actually find washing dishes therapeutic! (I know – my husband is happy about that too!).

      Love your soup! I’m definitely gonna try the veggie version – thanks for sharing.

      :D I fool myself most of the time too…. And WHATTTT? Do you want to move in with me?

    4. Miri
      April 27th, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

      Cooking , fortunately for me, is very therapeutic (not as much as a mojito though ;) ) I love getting back from work and getting into the kitchen – planning a meal, cutting the veggies, deciding to twist the recipe and serving the dish is just as relaxing for me as sacking out in front of the TV is for some people….I know – weird huh!

      But I think its even more amazing then for people who dont find it relaxing to take so much effort and churn out beautiful satisfying dishes from the kitchen like you do! :)

      This clear soup looks like it could clear up anything! and I agree, the best clear soups I have had in restaurants, are those which have been made from scratch – you can easily make out…


      :) That is weird… sort of… :D well, the planning, twisting and serving part I get… but the cutting and cooking and cleaning part… hmmm not so much… :) I do it because I have to… And blogging helps too…

    5. Raaga
      April 27th, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

      Long live the pressure cooker!

      I find baking very therapeutic :-) and cross stitch… not sure yet about the cooking bit!

      :) I have heard that about baking from so many people… but I don’t bake at all… so can’t comment on that… Cross stich? hmmm… I don’t have an ounce of talent on that front… :D

    6. rachel
      April 27th, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

      Painting for me is therapeutic!!! Cooking not yet!

      :) Another artist…Good for you Rachel!!
      Unfortunately cooking is the only art I know :(

    7. lissie
      April 27th, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

      this is exactly what i need right now :razz: thank you sig for sharing the recipe!

      Hope you are not sick too…. This cold that is going around is really bad! Take care…

    8. sra
      April 28th, 2008 @ 12:44 am

      So this is ‘Chicken Soup for the Cold’! :grin:

      I agree with your views in the first two paras – I used to enjoy cooking immensely but lately, despite the food blog, I’ve tired of it. I realised that’s because I used to have help earlier with the preparation, used to cook at my own pace; not so now, even thoughI cook just twice or thrice a week.
      And yes, TV and books are relaxing – that’s the reason I’m ignoring my blog – some very addictive TV series! :grin:

      Yeah, I know what you mean… If I cook at my own pace and with enough help to cut and clean, I don’t mind it so much… and enjoy it most of the time too… I guess it goes up and down for everyone… And the addictive tv series… :) I know all about it… :D

    9. indosungod
      April 28th, 2008 @ 3:23 am

      Sig, it gets therapeutic with age :) now guess how old I must be ;)

      The soups would cure any bugs that are lodged in your system. looks fantastic. Home brewed broths make a huge difference and they must have super fresh and flavorful. I will get there soon.

      :D I think I am at a point where I can’t really say anything will get better with age anymore… I am sort of set in my ways…

    10. Nirmala
      April 28th, 2008 @ 3:28 am

      lovely soup and Siv’s congestion would have ran off after getting this warming soup cooked with love! I feel this is perfect for JFI ;)

      :) It is cooked with love… I thought it will be corny to submit it for JFI to talk about the love for the spouse… when everyone dedicates to grandparents and stuff…. :)

    11. swati
      April 28th, 2008 @ 4:32 am

      hahahaaa… so true… cooking is coz of necessity and u got to train your mind to believe that its fun… and it works well like that…
      am a veggie but guess its gonna b a blissful treat for hubby dear…

      :) I am glad you get me Swati…

    12. nandita
      April 28th, 2008 @ 4:45 am

      Sig I am truly impressed…making your own stock and all HUH!!!
      The soup does look fantastic, perfect for days when we have the sniffles :)

      LOL, thanks girl… but I did take the easy way out…

    13. Rajitha
      April 28th, 2008 @ 7:27 am

      cooking for me is therapeutic..but not the dishes that come with it :mrgreen: ..and as you said tv is my first love….i only make stock when i have tons of frozen veggies and they are getting to the freezer burn stage and i am feeling guilty (which is quite rare!)

      There is a freezer burn stage????? :shock: :D Once they get to the freezer, they are stuck there forever till I move out of the house….

    14. Shankari
      April 28th, 2008 @ 7:51 am

      Super Dooper recipe. Cooking is very relaxing for me. Last night, I was kind of down, got in to the kitchen and baked a cake and I was all smiles after that :grin:

      :) That is soo good for you Shankari… Somehow it doesn’t work for me, I have to be in the mood to even start cooking :)

    15. richa
      April 28th, 2008 @ 7:51 am

      24 hrs!!!!! now, that calls for some real patience :wink:
      lemon grass is such a versatile herb, love it :drool:

      Yeah, tell me about it!!!! I am sure nobody ever spends that much time making anything… But then again, some of us are crazier than the others… :)

    16. Revathi
      April 28th, 2008 @ 8:36 am

      I need a bowl of that soup now !!

      I do use the pressure cooker for stock too. Cool recipe –

      Thanks Revathi… Yep, pressure cooker really is a lifesaver!

    17. Susan from Food Blogga
      April 28th, 2008 @ 8:56 am

      Lemongrass adds such sensational flavor to dishes. Thanks for posting this soup recipe; I know I’d love it!

      Thanks Susan… Yeah, I totally agree, lemongrass adds such a great fragrance and flavor… it is a made for soup ingredient!

    18. Srivalli
      April 28th, 2008 @ 8:57 am

      thats a nice piece!…and great looking broth!…I find cooking very satisfying..of course when I have enough ppl to feed and not just myself to eat… :razz:

      :) See that is exactly what I am saying… I love to feed people, I love seeing their satisfied expressions and hear praises of my cooking skills…. I enjoy that part more than the cooking process itself… :) Even when I am alone, only time I take time to cook is if I want to post anything in the blog… again for the same end result :)

    19. Naina
      April 28th, 2008 @ 10:07 am

      Hi Sig,
      Welcome back after your trip home. Your travel to and fro was quite “eventful” indeed. I love “brothy” soups and this one seems perfect for the “soul”. I want to try this for sure except i’m not making my own broth–ha ha.

      :) Thanks Naina! And by all means, use the broth from a can, I am sure it will taste good too!

    20. Meeta
      April 28th, 2008 @ 10:49 am

      Cooking is therapeutic!!!! You just need a bottle of wine or a few of those great cocktails and believe me it is therapeutic. Love the broth!

      :) I agree with the wine and cocktail part, totally therapeutic… But skip the cooking, it gets better :D

    21. musy
      April 28th, 2008 @ 11:14 am

      Cookings is therapeutic only when i am not tired and trying to fix myself a meal after 10:00 PM :-D . Its especially therapuetic if someone does it for you ;) . Now please fix me some soup, girlie :) .

      Lovely way to prepare a stock. Ginger and lemongrass sure is combination that can make one feel better. Have to try this soup!

      :) Totally…. Getting fed by someone else’s labour is the best therapy!! :D

    22. TBC
      April 28th, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

      Cooking is not theraupeutic for me. :roll: I only cook ‘cos we have to eat! :mrgreen: The last couple of months though, it has become much better, thanks to my blog.
      But I am getting a little tired of my blog too these days. :shock:

      :D I am laughing because I know exactly what you mean by cooking being more fun thanks to the blog… That is one of the reasons I love the blog, it really gives me a reason to cook!! I too get tired of it once in a while, but I normally get right back into it soon… Don’t you dare stop the blogging!!

    23. TBC
      April 28th, 2008 @ 12:38 pm

      I do know how to spell therapeutic correctly. :cry:


    24. Anuzi
      April 28th, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

      Ok I gotta tell ya…the way you share your recipes and talk about food…I would have never thought that you didn’t find cooking therapeutic :shock: However I have now concluded that you and I are soul sistahs! I too do not really find cooking “fun” I mean I like the end results: a happy (fatty) hubby and I don’t have to drive to pick up food :smile: This is another reason I like blogging…it gives me a reason to try different recipes and post them up….and well makes me feel interesting :neutral:

      :D Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about food, I love blogging, that part is totally therapuetic, it is the cooking part I have a problem with…. LOL, I already knew we were birds of the same feather, sistah! :D

    25. Shantanu
      April 28th, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

      Heh! That was funny…brain-washed into becoming a big-time cook. :smile:

      Re: Soup for the sick, I still believe in Chicken soup…any kinda stock works, and guys with cold can’t figure out the taste anyway! All you need is more peppers to clear your nose and head… :grin:

      :D You got a point there, they can’t figure out the taste… I am just skeptical about all the extra sodium and the artificial stuff they put in canned broths, especially to feed a sick husband… Normally I am okay with it, in small quantities…

    26. shriya
      April 28th, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

      It’s some healthy choice. I love lemon grass flavor. I can smell the flavor here. It must have tasted really good. You have a very nice blog.

      Thanks Shriya! Welcome to my site… Hope to see you around… :)

    27. sukanya
      April 28th, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

      WOW! this is a nice soup…. Enjoyed it a couple of times in resturant but never tried making it…. Have bookmarked ur recipe…. Looks awesome…

      Thanks Sukanya!

    28. Arundathi
      April 29th, 2008 @ 2:08 am

      Sig – did i mention that there’s something waiting for you at my blog? please check it out:

    29. Wasabi Vasu
      April 29th, 2008 @ 8:50 am

      For me, reading cook books is therapeutic :nerd: To read about various recipes and then imagine about all those wonderful flavors, aromas, and textures :razz: I know my limits, and so I limit myself to just reading.

      (BTW, I think you meant ‘palate’)

      :oops: yes, I meant palate… and I mess this up all the time… Wish they make a more intelligent spell checker :D Thanks!!

    30. Kalai
      April 29th, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

      Check you out making your own stock!! :shock: I have to say that I find baking very therapeutic. Sometimes cooking as well, but I love baking on rainy days. Anyway, am glad to hear that your husband’s feeling a lot better. Nothing like some TLC and soup that’s home made by his doting wife to make him feel well again! :razz: :( Yes):

      :) Thanks Kalai… Baking on rainy days, sounds good… I can probably sit with you in your kitchen while you bake… that does sound appealing :)

    31. KRisten
      April 29th, 2008 @ 7:42 pm

      I am one of those who do find cooking therapeutic, however, I find happy hour much more so :)
      The Lemongrass soup just sounds like it would be amazing!

      :D Yeah, there is no therapy better than a good cocktail at half price… :)

    32. sunita
      April 30th, 2008 @ 1:40 am

      Well,I certainly find cooking, especially baking , very very therapeutic…and yes,that includes chopping too…the cleaning, well, I haven’t given it much thought though, but then, something well cooked gives me so much pleasure that it gears me up for the cleaning :grin:

      …love the soup…would do wonders to anyone…congestion or not :smile:

    33. Sandy
      April 30th, 2008 @ 7:59 am

      Oh I find cooking an adventure :smile: I guess it is the fond memories I had growing up with a family owned restaurant business. It is too ironic that you are posting recipes for soup and ribs. I have a chicken broth simmering (yes I am one to make soup from scratch) and I am heading out to get baby back ribs for the first bbq this season ! I am going to give your spicy ribs a try !

      For tips on chicken broth, I discovered Lebanese cabbage adds a nice touch to soup. Also I add dried dates to balance the sweetness. You can find these at Asian grocery stores.

    34. Kaykat
      April 30th, 2008 @ 8:11 am

      Some part of you finds cooking therapeutic if you made your own broth! :)

      I made a mushroom lemongrass soup last night and faked a mushroom broth (by boiling a bunch of criminis in the water) and thought I was a stud muffin for doing that!

      This looks delicious, I like the idea of using spinach.

    35. sandeepa
      April 30th, 2008 @ 9:03 am

      Ha, ha….I know what you mean ;-) I am the one that will do with the ahem…broth, you know the one…

    36. Ramya's Mane Adige
      May 1st, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

      “But there are so many other things that I’d rather be doing” So true!! thats exactly what I feel everytime I enter the kitchen… Cooking is more of a necessity than pleasure :sad:

    37. Florence Mills
      April 30th, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

      The usual remedy for common cold is just lots of water, fruit juice and also vitamin-C tablets.~–

    38. Jody
      January 13th, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

      Wow this looks delicious. Our usual recipe is just the broth, though. Seems we have to scale up our efforts a little bit.