Red & Green Mustards
Asian Eggplant or Shishito Peppers
Aji Dulce & Habanada Chilies (No Heat)
Serrano & Green Thai Chilies
Asian Chicken Soup with Greens
For the broth:
1 whole chicken
1 head garlic, peeled and smashed
2-3 scallions, cut into large pieces
½ bunch cilantro, leaves, stems and roots, washed
2 inches ginger root, cut into thick slices
1 Tbsp salt & pepper to taste
For the soup:
4 oz. cellophane rice noodles or egg noodles
½ lb greens (bok choy, mustard greens, pea shoots, spinach)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sweet rice cooking wine or mirin
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro, for garnish
Rinse the chicken thoroughly, remove giblet bag and place in a large pot with cold water to cover by 2 inches (around 2 ½ quarts of water). Add garlic, cilantro, scallions, ginger, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer very gently for 1 ½ hours, or until the meat falls off the bone. Remove chicken carefully to a colander and allow it to cool. Strain the stock and skim the fat that rises to the surface. (If you make the stock in advance, refrigerate it overnight and remove the congealed fat the next day. You can also use a special device for separating fat that looks like a big measuring cup with a spout that pours from the bottom). When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull off all the meat and shred it with your fingers. Use a nice handful of the meat for the soup and save the rest for another use (Vietnamese chicken salad, perhaps?).
Meanwhile soak the rice noodles in warm tap water for 15-20 minutes, drain and set aside. If using egg noodles, cook them in boiling water until al dente, drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside. Wash greens and cut into fairly large pieces. Bring the stock to a boil and season with the soy sauce and wine. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Add greens and chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Place a handful of noodles in each soup bowl. Pour soup over noodles and serve garnished with chopped cilantro.
Variations: This soup can easily be made into wonton soup. Get some wonton wrappers from the store (usually sold next to the tofu). For the filling mix together ½ lb ground pork, 2 finely chopped scallions, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp rice wine, salt & pepper. Follow directions on the package to fill them. Boil with the greens in the hot stock until they float.
You can save yourself the trouble of dealing with a whole chicken by using ready-made broth and boneless chicken.