A Sarcastic Appetite

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup
December 12, 2010, 9:58 pm
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I haven’t written much about the Ninja here beyond his occasional dinner requests or snarky comments, and I’m not sure why – maybe out of some perverse desire to respect his privacy?

Well, that’s all over. From here on out, I’ll be sharing some of his other predilections, which lately have been downright bizarre.

For example, the other night I came home to find the apartment smelling like a pothead’s dirty laundry. Horrified, I threw open the windows and lit every scented candle I own. It only barely masked the smell….of sage leaves, which the Ninja had apparently been burning in an effort to “ward off bad spirits.” This is, of course, in addition to his weekly crude oil scalp treatments, which make the apartment smell like a gas station and are supposed to ward off baldness. In six months. Possibly.

Am I an unknowing extra in a dodgy remake of The Craft? Or is the Ninja merely acting out the prequel to that one Seinfeld episode when George gets a toupee? Maybe it’s some cruel combination of the two: a terrifying possibility.

He claims he’s just healthier than I am. I claim he’s just nuts. Either way, the battle lines have been drawn. He burns the sage leaves early enough in the day and I pretend not to notice when I get home, and I vacate the apartment on Tuesday nights to avoid any scent of Eau de Fuselage. I also throw away things he would otherwise recycle and buy non-organic food just often enough to annoy him. It’s an arrangement that I think really works, until I get thrown a curve ball: Crude Oil night has suddenly, inexplicably, unfairly, rudely been moved to Sunday nights. Now what?

I figured I had only one option: to cook a bunch of fragrant, aromatic stuff and hope for the best. This chicken and coconut soup fits the bill, and it’s very easy to put together. I probably should have let it simmer all evening to provide a coconut-y buffer to what’s about to happen around here – but then again, we’ve got to eat. This time next week, maybe I’ll make a ragù…or better yet, some kind of delicious bean soup. (The Ninja hates beans.) It’ll be perfect!

Thai Chicken & Coconut Soup

Adapted from Joy of Cooking. Serves 4.

3 c. chicken stock

2 2/3 c. coconut milk (about 1 1/2 14 oz. cans)

3 Jalapeño peppers or 2 Thai peppers, mostly seeded and sliced thinly (or completely seeded if you don’t want it spicy)

3 tbsp. fish sauce

3 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. minced ginger

1 tbsp. minced lemongrass

2 tsp. curry powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced

juice of 1/2 a lime

chopped cilantro for garnish


Bring the chicken stock and coconut milk to a boil in a big pot. Reduce the heat; add the Jalapeños, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, curry powder, lemongrass, and salt. Simmer for about 10 minutes; taste and correct seasoning as needed. Add the sliced chicken and the lime juice and simmer for an additional 5 or so minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and throw some chopped cilantro on there….or not, if you’re like I am and forgot about it. Again.