This is a rather odd-sounding recipe. It’s inspired to some point by the famous Kai Tun Coke in Chiang Mai (even though I haven’t tried the McCoy yet) and from eating my way around Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. I know that most people don’t have a leftover Coke problem when they have guests over, but I do. This recipe used up my leftovers beautifully.
First, simmer the chicken in an infusion of coke, fish sauce and whatever herbs and spices you like. My recipe is a broad indication, use as many or as few of them as you like. Similarly for my soup toppings: I adore the Viet idea of having a whole herb garden to accompany each meal. Diners would then pick and choose from the basket whatever they liked and added the herbs and vegetables according to preference. I tried to replicate some of it here, so please don’t feel like you have to run out to buy every single topping/garnish. If you just want it in its most bare bones form, try it with just mint, onion and lime.
500 ml coke
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 star anise
2 cardamom pods
kway teow noodles
onion, sliced thinly
cucumber, cored and cut into matchsticks
long bean, cut into short lengths
red chilli, sliced
thai holy basil
- Combine the coke, fish sauce and herbs in a pot and lower in the chicken, breast-side up. The breast should just about be covered by the liquid.
- On low heat, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool in its own liquid.
- Lift out the chicken carefully and divide into portions ready for serving. Reserve the cooking liquid.
- Dilute the cooking liquid in an equal amount of water. Bring to a boil and season with fish sauce to taste.
- Add the noodles and lettuce. Bring back to the boil.
- Divide into bowls, top with the chicken and serve. Diners will add their own garnish according to taste.