Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Thai Translation – Tom = Spicy Soup, Kha = Galangal, Gai = Chicken

Tom Kha Gai is a warm, creamy and aromatic soup that is a crowd favourite. It is made with coconut milk and the essential ingredient that must be used in it is galangal. This is a root spice that is similar to ginger, but very different. You should not attempt to make this with ginger instead of galangal as the flavours will be all wrong. Tom Kha Gai can be served in small bowls with a side dish of rice and when eating it you should avoid the woody lemongrass, galangal and lime leaf. You can also add a few drops of chilli oil to the surface of the soup for taste and presentation and a small dish of fish sauce to add a saltiness to the soup if desired.

Cooking Time - 20 minutes
Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Serves 4

500ml coconut milk
200g chicken
½ tomato
½ onion
4 – 5 straw mushrooms (regular mushrooms can also be used)
1 – 2 chilli's
1 thin piece galangal
1 piece lemongrass
1 lime
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
1 shallot
1 tsp fresh coriander
  1. In a medium saucepan or wok bring the coconut milk to the boil over a medium to high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the galangal in thumb sized thin slices, bruise the chilli (place your knife flat over the chilli and press down to break it slightly - this will give flavour but not too much heat), chop the lemongrass in a few pieces. Remove the stem from the kaffir lime leaf and break in four.
  3. Reduce heat of the boiling coconut milk and add the galangal, chilli, lime leaf and lemongrass.
  4. Simmer the coconut milk for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours infuse into the coconut milk. You can add water or some chicken stock if you wish to increase the volume of liquid.
  5. Slice the chicken into chunks and add the chicken and cook til the chicken turns white. Next add fish sauce, sugar and lime juice.
  6. Cut the onion in half, then half again and do the same for the tomatoes. Cut the mushrooms in half. Add these ingredients to the soup and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Slice the coriander and shallots.
  8. Turn soup off, stir through the coriander and shallots and serve.

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