Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

I haven’t been cooking much lately. After the buzz of the holidays faded, I got hit with a severe cold and just didn’t have much energy for anything. All I wanted to do was lounge out in my pajamas and get under the covers with a good book or movie. Take out, juice cleanses, canned soups and anything low effort was at the top of my list for dinner, besides, I was still feeling a little guilty about all the rich foods I had eaten weeks prior. Then came the bitter cold of last weeks Polar Vortex and knew I’d spend several days indoors. I decided to make a pot of chili last week that brought me back to life and next up was this spicy chicken noodle soup recipe! There’s just something about having a hot bowl of homemade stew or soup that takes the chill out of your bones and makes you feel all warm and cozy inside.
pot_chicken_noodle
This recipe is quick and easy and pretty straight forward. It’s definitely something you can knock out after a long day at work or the weekend. This isn’t your typical American style chicken noodle soup but one with roots in Caribbean and umm Asia! Cumin, oregano, achiote (annatto) and garlic flavors with Asian rice noodles and Thai peppers! A mash up of sorts, part Dominican, part Asian, I call it Dominicasian cuisine! The flavors are all Latin though but with a couple of Asian ingredients because well, it’s what I had and sometimes you just work with what you got! Any kind of noodles would work here, its all a matter of what you like. I would have used egg noodles or fideos (Spanish for noodles, usually very thin) if I had any.

chicken_noodle

Note: If you can’t find Adobo with cumin, use regular adobo and add 1/2 tsp of cumin. Also, recipe includes cilantro which I forgot to add when I made this. Cilantro will really brighten flavor up so be sure to add.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 tsp Adobo with cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 dried Thai chiles
  • ½ envelop/packet of Sazon with Achiote (Annato)
  • ¼ or ½ in bone cooked chicken, in pieces
  • 5 oz rice noodles, about ½ pkg
  • few sprigs of cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat up canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and stir.
  2. Add the water, chicken bouillon, carrots, and the rest of the ingredients except the noodles. Let the soup come to a boil.
  3. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the noodles and cook for another 7 minutes until noodles are tender. Lower the heat and let simmer then serve.

A Mamajuana Rum Cocktail With A Nod To The Old Fashioned

During the winter months I like switching to cocktails made with dark or amber liquors. Vodka or tequila are normally my spirits of choice but when its cold out and nice and cozy inside, all I want to sip on is B&B, or a cocktail made with rum, bourbon or whiskey. The spices in these spirits are fitting for this time of year, especially a spiced rum blend native to the Dominican Republic, the Mamajuana.

mamajuana rum cocktail

Mamajuana is dark rum infused with roots, tree bark, spices and is a staple in almost every Dominican home. It’s early uses were for medicinal purposes, curing everything from a cold, fever, stomach aches, you name it…well at least that’s what my parents would say, and still do. My theory is the rum just made most folks drunk enough to forget they had an ailment, just don’t tell my Dad that, he still believes a shot of Mamajuana, with a little honey and lemon will put some doctors out of business. Although I have to be honest, I have seen its powers…powers that make you feel niiiice!

bottle of mamajuana

I don’t know exactly what goes into making it but bottles are kept in families for decades and just refreshed with new roots, raisins, honey and sometimes a piece of beef! Really, don’t ask. I also heard some natural “aphrodisiacs” were added so it’s a rum that should definitely be consumed in moderation and it could have strange effects to the uninitiated.  Mamajuana is also a liquor with complex flavors. It’s a strong and smooth rum with a bite and a hint of sweetness that will make you reach for a little more. It heats up nicely as it goes down and perfect for frigid days. Beware though, not all bottles are the same. I’ve sampled many bottles over the years and one thing it shouldn’t be is too sweet or taste like wine.

citrus_slices

Mamajuana can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or mixed with cola, gingerale, and orange juice. However I wanted to make something special for the holidays. I had chocolate bitters on hand that I hadn’t used yet so thought I’d make something similar to a traditional American cocktail, the Old Fashioned. The citrus flavors and chocolate bitters went  very well with the rum and a new cocktail was born, the Spiced Citrus Mamajuana cocktail.

glass_oranges

I muddled lemon and orange slices with brown sugar, bitters and cayenne pepper for a nice kick.

muddled_citrus

It’s a cocktail you must try and great for your holiday party!

mamajuana_cocktail

Spiced Citrus Mamajuana Cocktail
Serves 1

Slice of lemon
Slice of orange
1/2 tsp brown sugar
3 dashes of chocolate bitters
1 dash of cayenne pepper
2 ounces Mamajuana Rum
3 ounces orange juice
1 maraschino cherry
3 ice cubes

Add sugar, dashes of bitters, cayenne pepper, orange and lemon slices to a glass and muddle all with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Add ice cubes and  pour in Mamajuana rum, then orange juice and stir. Top with a cherry!

Ghost Tamarind Frio Frio or Granita, Actually

One of the easiest and most refreshing summers treats, next to the popsicle of course, is the snow cone. Perfect for this heat wave we’ve been having. In Dominican Republic we call them frio frio, which just translates to “cold, cold”. I always imagined someone getting a really bad brain freeze and yelling “ay frio! frio!” and the name just stuck. Ha!

Well like the snow cone, the ice is shaved first and some juice concoction is poured over it. I made this one like a granita, oh so very Italian of me, a tribute to one of my other favorite places, where everything is mixed first and then frozen and scraped with a fork to form ice crystals.

I have to tell you, when I made this I used way too much ghost pepper because I yelled out HOT DAMN! …instead of frio frio. It burned good and made me pucker but part of why I started this spicy food blog was because I actually enjoy this. I’m not talking about any pain and suffering here just a good flavored burn that releases some wonderful endorphins for me. I’m not saying you HAVE to enjoy this, but its good to test your limits and see what you can tolerate. If you don’t like the flavor, adjust it. It’s really about what works for you since everyone’s palate is different so taste, taste, taste your food.

The ghost pepper does give the granita a nice flavor. It is similar to the habanero’s citrus flavor but 3-4 times hotter and should be used in moderation and handled carefully. So baby steps folks and seriously, take it easy with ghost peppers and use gloves when handling…and please, do not rub your eyes!! I’ve done this with milder peppers and it’s not pretty.  Those angry peppers are not to be messed with because you will be sorry. Last year it was knocked out of first place for being the hottest chile in the world and now second to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper but that doesn’t mean it’s lost it’s heat. Now there’s just something hotter and that’s one pepper I don’t even want to touch.

This recipe is the modified version but if you’re feeling lucky or adventurous then add some more slices.

Ghost Tamarind Granita
1/2 cup tamarind pulp
1 ghost pepper, use 2-3 thin slices only
1 cup water
2 tbsp agave syrup

1. Heat up the tamarind and the pepper in a small saucepan. Mash up the pepper with the tamarind so it breaks up well.

2. Add the water and agave syrup to sweeten. Taste mixture to make sure its sweet enough for you and has good spice level. Tamarind is very sour so the sweetness of the granita should be a matter of preference.

3. Bring mixture to a boil and remove from stove to let it cool. Strain the mixture. Sometimes you’ll find pieces of seeds in tamarind pulp so make sure you get rid of those. Add the mashes up pepper back if you like. Add the mixture to a shallow dish and place in freezer for an hour.

4. Remove from freezer and scape frozen juice with fork until small crystals form. If not completely frozen, freeze for another hour or until frozen and scrape again.

5. Spoon into cups and serve.

Breakfast for Dinner: Spicy Fried Cheese and Egg Sandwich

Ever have those days when nothing seems good enough for dinner except a good breakfast? I have those often. Either I’m too tired to make something after a long busy day or I’m just feeling a bit lazy. Sometimes a bowl of cereal will do and other days a spicy egg and cheese sandwich is in order…but not just any egg and cheese sandwich, one made with fried, salty Dominican white cheese. I’m sure you’re wondering “what is that”? Dominican Republic is mostly known for it’s white sand beaches, fantastic golf courses, great cigars and fabulous vacation getaways but cheese? Definitely not the first thing you think about but to a native, whether near or far, it reminds us of childhood, of home and Mom.

As a child, breakfast consisted of eggs, fried cheese, sausages (salchichon) and plantains a dozen ways. Mom would make this almost daily for my Dad but as the years passed my siblings and me became more accustomed to American culture. Our traditional breakfasts were reserved only for weekends and for me, eventually replaced with a lighter fare. However, every once in a while I crave fried cheese and it always takes me back to those good old days.

You can find this white cheese in your local supermarket or Latin bodega. Dominican white cheese is firm, salty and great for frying because its high in salt and made with acid which doesn’t allow it to easily melt like other cheeses. It’s similar in texture to feta but not as salty or crumbly. When it’s pan fried in a bit of oil a nice crust forms and the inside stays soft and gooey, perfect for sandwiches since it won’t fall apart or slide out.

I didn’t have any plantains (blasphemous for Dominicans) and really didn’t want to make an elaborate meal so I made the perfect spicy breakfast sandwich for dinner and it was so delicious!

This is a great vegetarian (Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians) option but if you want meat just add salchichon or bacon for a more filling meal.

Ingredients
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 large egg, over medium
1-2 slices of cheese, fried
toasted whole wheat english muffin
pinch of Adobo (pre-blended Spanish spice mix – optional)
butter
vegetable oil

Saute a few jalapeno slices in a bit of butter on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes and remove from pan. Fry the egg in same pan with a bit of oil (2 tbsp) and add a pinch of Adobo. You can skip the Abodo if you’re watching your salt intake, since the cheese may be salty enough. You will want to fry the cheese last so it can be soft and hot when you eat it. Fry the cheese on one side for about a minute and flip over and fry the other side until a nice crust forms. Assemble all on a toasted whole wheat English muffin and dinner is served! Add as much jalapeno as you like to adjust the spiciness.