Traditional Foods

Tom Kha Gai with Rice Noodles and Lemon Verbena

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I am always dreaming up ways to incorporate more broths and herbs into my diet. I find that soups are comforting, nutrient dense, and easy for me to digest. About ten years ago I was told that I had something called “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” At that time I was in a full blown state of inflammation. Almost anything I ate triggered a reaction that led me straight into the bathroom! Western doctors had no answers, so I had to find them.

A few years later Sarah and I met. We helped build our university’s community garden and even protect it when it was at risk of being developed. We quickly grew a close bond with the plants and each other. We began to cook together, share books, and eventually we had a garden and home of our own. The Morris House was occupied by incredible womyn for years-Orlando’s Red Tent held it’s first meetings there! It was a community home that felt incredibly sacred.

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During this time we both struggled with dis-ease and cooking really helped us to feel better. We found Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and became obsessed with cooking like our ancestors. Our kitchen was always sprouting or soaking something and collard greens were displayed like bouquets. Sally’s book is a game changer. Read it and cook like your great great grandmother- and don’t wait till your sick to start!

Bone broth is loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.

A well prepared bone broth is cooked for at least 24-36 hours which allows all the skin, tendons, bones, marrow, ligaments, and every bit in-between to break down and become easy for the body to absorb.

This is also when the collagen, glutamine, and other compounds are released- which are great for the skin, connective tissues, and to ease inflammation.

Broths are helpful for anyone but especially for those who are deficient in nutrients and need to rebuild and revitalize. I have seen remarkable improvements from consuming broths for folks with digestive issues, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, are postpartum, or suffering from general deficiencies in the body. It is a staple of both the GAPS diet and The Body Ecology Diet which are very popular among those of us with serious gut issues or immune system disfunction.

This recipe is a great way to have fun with your garden and nourish your “second brain”. I added lemon verbena instead of keffir lime leaves (which is probably sacrilegious but I did it anyway) and chopped up some lemon balm for it’s calming medicine. Lemon balm happens to be great medicine for a nervous stomach too! Today I feel like I am surrounded by healing and I hope this Thai soup makes you feel the same.

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INGREDIENTS.

1 can of coconut milk

2 1/2 cups of chicken broth

4oz or half a pack of rice noodles

1 handful of julienned garden greens

2 hands full of sliced shiitake mushrooms

1 thumb of ginger peeled and sliced

1 tbs of chopped lemon balm and/or cilantro

2 stalks of lemon grass

4 lemon verbena leaves

1 tbs of fish sauce

1 tsp of sugar

chili oil to taste

2 limes

 

METHOD.

Get the broth to a simmer and add chopped ginger, chopped lemongrass, and lemon verbena leaves. Let it simmer for 8 minutes and then strain out the herbs.

Then add your coconut milk, mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar, the juice of one lime, and chicken if you want some protein! While this is covered and simmering for about 20 minutes you may prepare your rice noodles in a different pot. The noodles are super simple and should only take about 5 minutes in some hot water.

After you strain your noodles add some to your serving bowl and pour over with your lemon verbena infused Tom Kha Gai. Garnish your nourishing meal with your garden greens, herbs, chili oil, and fresh cut lime.

Will serve 2 hungry people.

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