Tom Kha Gai (chicken and coconut soup)
submitted by: Andrea Stunz from Jenny M.
I got this Thai recipe from a friend from South Africa who I met in Singapore who lives in Vietnam. How’s that for breaking cultural barriers? 🙂 It’s “zero spicy” as they say in Singapore, if you don’t add the chilies, that is.
It’s really easy and has the Thai flavor that I love so much without the heat. You just HAVE to try it!
3-4″ peeled fresh ginger (cut into pieces large enough to remove before serving or eat around). Can use ginger powder in a pinch. If you use ground ginger, start with 1/2 tsp and taste as you go. Ginger powder is not consistent in flavor and pungency.
4-5 fresh kaffir lime leaves. Because I love the flavor of these, I use a whole jar of the dried leaves (.09 ounce Thai Kitchen) that I buy from on Amazon.com. Fresh were so easy to find in Singapore but I can’t find them here. The dried leaves don’t have as much flavor as the fresh so it will take more.
2 cans of good coconut milk. I prefer Arroy D brand and Thai Kitchen because they have a little of the cream on top and it doesn’t have chemicals or preservatives in it. But there are several good brands out there. Just check the ingredients before you buy.
2 cups of chicken stock (I use organic, free range, hormone free, etc.)
3 large (or 4 if you want it more meaty) boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks or thin slices. (I usually cook up extra chicken when I’m cooking chicken and slice it up and freeze it.)
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms (if desired)
1-2 tsp finely chopped red chilies (if desired). Another option for heat seekers is to have these or dried red chilies on the side.
2-4 Tbsp fish sauce Start with 2 and add more to taste. Too much of this will ruin your whole pot.
2 tsp brown sugar, coconut palm sugar or rock sugar
1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
2 stalks lemongrass Cut into 3-4″ pieces and pound with the butt of your knife to release the juices. The soup will work ok without this if you can’t find it. I now buy a lot of it when I go to the Asian market and cut it up and freeze it.
3-4 Tbsp lime juice (juice of about 3 of the limes)
chopped cilantro for garnish
chopped green onion for garnish
Time saving tip from my Thai friend: Chop up a lot of cilantro and green onion and mix together and freeze it.
1. Combine ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk and stock in a pan, bring slowly to the boil and simmer uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add chicken pieces, mushrooms and chilies and simmer until chicken is done, about 20 minutes.
3. Stir in fish sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice.
4. Taste. If it needs a little something, add a little bit more fish sauce or maybe more lime. That’ll probably do the trick.
4. Remove lemongrass, kaffir leaves and ginger if desired. You can tell your guests to eat around them – that’s what they do in Thailand. 🙂
5. Sprinkle with cilantro and green onion.
Serve immediately, with steamed jasmine rice (wash 3 times before steaming the rice)