Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tom Kha Gai

This soup comes together amazingly fast, so it is great for a weekend lunch. The dish is very well balanced from the richness of the coconut milk, the saltiness of the fish sauce, and the tartness of the lime. Kaffir lime leaves can be difficult to the find. If you can't find them, try adding a bit of lime zest. 

2 side dish servings, or add steamed jasmine rice to make it a main course.
190 calories per serving. (without rice)

  • 2 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 3-4 one inch pieces of lemon grass, smashed slightly to release the flavor
  • 1 inch cube galangal (thai ginger), sliced thinly (use ginger if you can't find it)
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 ounces chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 5 ounces full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sliced oyster or straw mushrooms
  • small red Thai chili peppers, slightly crushed (to taste)
  • chopped cilantro, to taste
Heat up the stock, add the lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, thai chillis and lime juice. Stir thoroughly and bring to a boil. Add the coconut milk, chicken. and mushrooms. Simmer for 2 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Pour into 2 bowls, add the cilantro, and serve.

Variation: The Tom Kha in the picture below has a small amount of Nam Prik Pao added. This is a very common Thai condiment and you should be able to find it in your Asian grocery store. It is a sweet, roasted chili paste in soybean oil, and is the main flavor component of Tom Yum soup. It's a nice way to spike up the flavor of your Tom Kha. Many American Thai restaurants serve it this way, but is not exactly traditional.

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