Kaeng Djuut Wunsen Kai - a chicken soup
The word kaeng (pronounced 'gang' means two different things: one is a
stew like dish, usually a curry or a chili, and the other is a soup. In
Thai these are different words, and it is the bane of having to
transliterate them into latin characters that reduces them to sameness.
Some writers spell the curry word kaeng and the soup-word gaeng, others
try to reflect the slightly more aspirated sound of the soup by spelling
it 'khaeng'. Whatever: this uses the light semi-transparent vermicelli
style noodles known as wunsen in Thai.
You should also note that there are two types of soup in Thai cuisine:
one type the Toms (tom kha kai, tom yam etc) are designed to be eaten
with a meal. The other style, known collectively as kuiteao nam
(pronounced roughly "gw-eye-tee-ow nam") or "wet noodle dishes", are a
popular form of fast food in Thailand. They form a full meal and are
regularly eaten for everything from breakfast to early dinner, costing
only about 50 cents for a large helping in stalls and shops across
Thailand (perhaps a bit more in Bangkok itself). This kaeng djuut is a
kuiteao nam style "luncheon" dish. (In parallel with the kuiteao nam
dishes there is a wide range of kuiteao haeng (dry noodles) dishes)
The recipe calls for a small amount of tangchi (preserved chinese
raddish), which can be obtained from Chinese stores. If you can't get it
feel free to leave it out entirely.
You will also need a chicken stock: in Thailand they eat all of the
chicken except the feathers and the beak - and yes they do eat the feet.
However the bones are left over, and stock is made from the bones. Take
about a kilogramme of bones, and break them roughly with a large mallet
or the pestle of your mortar and pestle (also widely used by Thai chefs
to keep their husband's in line - made of granite it makes a handy
weapon :-) To each kilogramme of bones add about a tablespoon of garlic,
a tablespoon of ginger and a tablespoon of coarsely chopped
coriander/cilantro. Cover with water and boil up your stock. Filter
well, cool and then skim off any fat that accumulates on the surface if
you want a low fat variant.Ingredients
1 tablespoon, coarsely chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoon, coarsely chopped fresh ginger
about a pint of chicken stock.
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped tangchi
a quarter pound of chicken cut into bitesized pieces
2 ounces wunsen (vermicelli)
1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons of light soy
palm sugar to taste (about half a teaspoon should be sufficient)
half a cup of mushrooms (shitake is traditional, but western style
button mushrooms are fine).
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a couple of spring onions/green onions/scallions/ sliced
lengthwise as garnish
a teaspoon of chopped coriander leaves as garnish.method
Soak the wunsen in water at room temperature for about 10 minutes to
soften it, then drain it thoroughly.
Heat a little oil in a wok and stir fry the onion, garlic and ginger
In a saucepan add the tangchi to a pint of stock and bring it to a
Briefly stir fry the chicken to seal it, then transfer the chicken and
onion, garlic and ginger to the stock, add the remaining ingredients,
except the garnish and the wunsen, and simmer until the chicken is just
about cooked through. Increase the heat to bring the pan to a rolling
boil, add the noodles, and immediately turn the heat off.
Pour the soup into a serving turine, sprinkle with the garnish, and
deliver to the diners. Each diner should have a bowl with some fresh
boiled rice. Traditionally each takes a spoon of soup from the communal
serving bowl, picks up a little rice and then eats it. You may prefer to
ladle portions of soup over the diner's rice bowls...
In my opinion the quantities above make about enough for 4 people for a
light lunch. Scale according to the number of diners and how hungry they
Normal table condiments would be chilis in fish sauce (prik nam pla),
chili powder (prik phom) and sugar, you might want to add dark sweet soy
Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.