Chicken soup for the soul
Chef Vikram Ganpule loves a good bowl of chicken soup, which is ironic — because he was raised vegetarian. “It’s actually one of the first things I learnt to make when I was a 20-something in-training at Delhi,” he recalls. “And you’ve heard of the fierce winters you have in Delhi, this was one of those days — so that first Chicken soup was hearty and comforting and the memory has stayed with me since.” When this Executive Chef of Hyatt Regency Chennai isn't in the kitchen at the hotel, he lets on that he's usually catching up on the latest trends in the international culinary world by following names like Gordon Ramsey and Heston Blumenthal. "Or watching Masterchef Australia," he adds with a laugh.
Here’s chef Vikram's failsafe formula for the perfect Chicken Clear Soup.
Chicken stock: makes about 4.5 litres
Raw chicken pieces — 2.75 kg | Cold water - 5.75L | Celery stalks— 3 | Leek (washed) | | Large onion | Carrots-4 | Garlic-peeled | Ginger - 100 gms (optional) | Soup: (for one portion) | Chicken stock-200 ml | Chicken breast without skin-150 gm | Light Soya sauce-10 m | Salt | Freshly milled black pepper | Bok Choy | Carrots | Zucchini | Cabbage | Mushrooms |Bean sprouts | Sesame oil (optional) |Egg noodles | Fresh coriander
• Bring the chicken to a boil and skim off the raft that rises.
• Tie the celery and leek together with string – this prevents them breaking up, which helps clarify the stock.
• Add all the vegetables, ginger and the garlic to the pot, and then bring back to the boil. Skim, then leave to simmer, uncovered, for at least six hours.
• Pass through a fine sieve or muslin cloth. The stock should be light amber in colour and clear. For soup:
• In a wok, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the chicken breast.
• When chicken is cooked take it out and cut into slices or cubes and add back to the stock
• Add coriander sprigs, mushrooms tossed in soya sauce, boiled noodles and separately boiled Bok Choy and bean sprouts. Garnish with spring onions.
• Never boil the stock, always simmer as this will give you clear stock always.
• The Chicken stock can be be frozen in zip lock bags and kept for up to a month.