Lemongrass & Chicken Noodle Soup

On Sunday morning Catherine & I decided to get adventurous and wander our way through NOPA to find the Divisadero Farmer’s Market. Clearly we had no idea how close Divis & Grove actually is to our house, or we’d be taking Sunday strolls more often – it took us less than 10 minutes to reach the market. And after quickly spotting and buying our produce, we were so in love with the charm of the farmer’s market and cloud-free day that we tried finding other reasons to hang around…but that’s beside the point…

Maybe it was a combination of the quiet neighborhood and the absence of storming rain drops, but the Divisadero Farmer’s Market seemed so much more calm and easy to roam (compared to the hustle & bustle of the Ferry Building). We stumbled into the Padao Farm stand, where I quickly decided on lemongrass – which in itself is a bizarre decision considering I didn’t even know what it was at first glance.  I had to ask one of the farmer’s what it was-a seemingly short inquiry that was promptly followed by a whole array of questions…

How do you usually cook it? {You can make a veggie stir fry or soup} Where do you grow you produce? {Fresno} Do you come here every week? {Yes, we make the 3 hour drive every Sunday} What is the name of your Farm? {Padao Farms}

One thing that I found particularly interesting, was a comment that one of the farmers made as I was paying him.  My entire bundle of lemongrass only cost $1, and as I handed over my money, I turned to Cat and said something to the effect of, “oh my gosh, this is so cheap” – to which the farmer responded, “yep, that’s what happens when you cut out the middle man”…the very much joyful privilege of local farms, that is too often overlooked.

Back at home I started googling lemongrass soup recipes, but couldn’t find anything that completely satisfied what I thought I was looking for. So, for some odd reason I got uncharacteristically ambitious, and decided to mix & match a few recipes.  I took the basic idea from a short Bon Appétit blurb, found here. I then picked some ingredients from a meticulous Food.com recipe, found here. And last but not least, I selected a few ingredients from Recipe.com, found here.

I’ll be completely honest, I skimmed over the directions from the various recipes, but ultimately started cooking without any real clue of what I was doing.  And the result was this…a somewhat original recipe:


  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • a bundle of lemongrass (4-5 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup shitake mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • rice noodles
  • a handful of cilantro
  • Pour chicken broth in a medium sized pot and start to boil.
  • Peel outer layer of lemongrass off, and thinly slice starting at the bottom, about half way up the stalk .
  • Pour sliced lemongrass into broth, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Cut stems off mushrooms and slice in half.
  • Thinly slice green onions.
  • Mince garlic cloves.
  • Chop cilantro leaves.
  • Pan sear chicken breasts with olive oil & a few dashes of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt – then shred into small pieces!
  • When the broth & lemongrass is ready, strain the broth to remove/discard the lemongrass.
  • Add in mushrooms, green onions, garlic, cilantro, shredded chicken, and rice noodles into broth.
  • Let simmer for another 15 minutes, or until noodles are cooked.
  • Eat up!

I’m proud to say that although I was nervous the entire time I was cooking, I was thoroughly surprised with how well my mishmash concoction turned out.  It was exactly what I had imagined when I started pulling random ingredients from different recipes – an actually esculent, citrus-y fusion of Asian flavors. I guess there’s something to be said about improvisation!