Reimagine Your Backyard - Independence

Margie Coats in front of her home in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego.

Margie Coats in front of her home in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego. Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times

Family is the foundation of our lives, and sometimes our favorite recipes are passed down through generations and perfected by our parents.

Abodu honors family by creating spaces for parents to live independently while still living close — whether it’s in your backyard or theirs.

Whatever setup families go for, one thing remains the same: sometimes it's great to have parents a few steps away to help perfect that family recipe.

The recipe below is from our friends at Evermill who believe in the power of cooking together. At Abodu, we love the idea of togetherness.

We know some recipes are only made perfect by the hands of a parent, but we hope you’ll enjoy this lemongrass spiced stew recipe.

Lemongrass Spiced Stew


  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds

  • 1 whole star anise

  • Seeds from 4 cardamom pods

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

  • 2 whole cloves


  • 1 small yellow onion

  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)

  • 1" piece ginger, cut into pieces

  • 2 stalks lemongrass midsection only, loosely chopped

  • 4 medium yellow potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 3 large carrots diced

  • Juice from 1 lime

  • Bean sprouts

  • Handful of chopped cilantro


  • 6 cups of chicken broth

  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, we suggest breast, thighs, and drumsticks


  • Heat a small skillet with the coriander, fennel, star anise, and cloves and toast the spices until fragrant. Once cooled combine with the rest of the spices (cumin and cinnamon) in a food processor. Grind until a coarse mixture. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and grind again for 15 seconds.

  • In a large pot, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet on medium heat.

  • While keeping the heat on medium, move the paste from the food processor to the pot, cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • Add the chicken broth and chicken pieces, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for one hour.

  • Remove the chicken pieces. Remove the chicken from the bones and shred the chicken. Set aside.

  • Pour the broth through a sieve to remove the spice paste pulp and return the broth to the pot.

  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot along with the potatoes, carrots and salt.

  • Return to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for another 25-30 minutes. Squeeze the lime juice in the soup just before serving.

  • Dish the hot soup into bowls topped with some bean sprouts and cilantro.

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