A few weeks ago we had a Thai-themed potluck at our house. It was a fantastic success. Tom kha gai! Cucumber salad! Banh mi! Spring rolls! Tea salad! Pineapple fried rice! Pumpkin curry! Pad thai! Sticky rice & mango! My contribution was tom kha gai, the delicious coconut milk soup that has always been my favorite Thai dish. I’d never cooked Thai food before, but it turned out to be incredibly easy. The catch is that you have to have access to some ingredients that might be hard to acquire, especially if you don’t live in a big city. But if you can find the ingredients, this soup is well worth making.
Tom Kha Gai
4 cups chicken stock (Swanson’s Organic is good)
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 crushed kaffir lime leaves (if you can find them – if not, it’s okay to omit)
4-inch section lemongrass
1-inch section galangal, sliced (similar to ginger)
1/4 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk (Chao Koh brand is good)
2 to 10 (to taste) small red thai chiles, slightly crushed
Cilantro leaves for garnish
- Bring chicken stock, fish sauce, lemongrass, and galangal to a boil. Simmer 20 minutes. Strain if desired (the lemongrass and galangal is not edible).
- Add chicken pieces, coconut milk, and chiles. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
- Add lime juice and zest and stir till mixed. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.