Tom Kha Gai Soup

Tom kha gai is a well known chicken soup with coconut milk that is very popular in Thailand and Laos. It is a spicy and sour soup that apart from coconut milk usually contains shiitake or other mushrooms, lime leaves, lemon grass, red chilies, fresh coriander or dill, fish sauce and galangal which is an rhizome that is closely related to the common ginger root.

Although in taste similar to common ginger each of the 4 known galangal roots has its own distinctive taste variations. In the Thai style of this soup there is no use for fresh dill leaves while the Laos style adds it regularly to its recipes. We love dill but as we didn't have any at hand I decided to prepare this hot soup in the Thai style.




Preparation time: 20 minutes 
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Cooking time: 35 minutes
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Resting time: 0 minutes
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Total time needed: 50 minutes
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Grade of Difficulty: standard

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Serves 4





Ingredients
For
Tom Kha Gai Soup

  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 x 410 ml / 13.8 oz cans coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 500 grams / 1.1 pounds chicken breast, skinned, deboned and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 corn cob cut into 5 round slices
  • 8 green beans, ends cut off and chopped in half
  • 1 carrot, peeled, washed and diced
  • 7.5 cm / 3 inch piece of galangal peeled and grated (optional - use common ginger root instead)
  • 3 red cayenne chili peppers, cut into long strips
  • Pinch of Carolina Reaper chili powder (optional)
  • 4 tbsp. fish sauce, (or to taste)
  • Lemon zest of 1/2 a large lemon
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed (or to taste)
  • 10 dried lime leaves
  • 2 leveled tsp. palm sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime or small lemon
  • 100 grams / 3.5 oz. fresh button mushrooms, halved
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water for at least 4 hours to re hydrate
  • 20 grams / 0.7 oz dried Chinese black and white mushrooms, cut into thin strips
  • 5 spring onions, cut into rings
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 red jalapeno chilies, seeded and cut into long strips
  • 2 handfuls fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped



Directions

  • Add oil to a large pot and switch stove to medium hot heat
  • Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the pot
  • Saute chicken pieces for 5 minutes or till they are beginning to brown, stirring regularly
  • Remove chicken pieces and keep aside for later use
  • Add all mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes or till button mushrooms are beginning to become soft
  • Add garlic and saute for one more minute
  • Add chicken pieces, coconut milk, galangal, chicken stock, green beans, carrot, corn / maize, 3/4 of the spring onions (keep only some of the green parts to one side for the time being), lime juice, lime leaves, palm sugar, fish sauce, Carolina Reaper chili, lemon zest, salt and pepper
  • Bring soup to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid and gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during this time
  • Add jalapeno peppers,  remaining spring onions and coriander leaves, cover with lid and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Serve Tom Kha Gai soup hot with toasted slices of bread




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