COCONUT-LIME SOUP WITH CHICKEN

8 FIRST-COURSE SERVINGS

2 stalks fresh lemongrass
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 red Thai chiles or 2 red jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced into rings seeded
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
l/2 cup sake
4 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
8 kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons fish sauce (such a nam pla or nuoc nam)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leave plus sprigs for garnish
2.5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise int thin strips
Chopped green onions

Discard all but bottom 4 inches of lemongrass stalks. Peel off tough oute layers. Mince lemongrass. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ginger; cook until onion begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add chiles and lemongrass; stir 1 minute. Add broth and sake; simmer 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, lime leaves, fish sauce, cilantro leaves lime juice, and sugar; simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken and simmer just until cook through, about 4 minutes.

Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with green onions and cilantro sprigs

INGREDIENT TIPS: Lemongrass can be found in the produce section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets. Canned unsweetened coconut milk and fish sauce can be found in the Asian food section of many supermarkets. Kaffir leaves can be found frozen or sometim fresh at Asian markets.