Tom Kha Gai


So here’s the thing – I love this soup, but I’m not such a big fan of lemongrass in general.  I also don’t enjoy biting into large pieces of ginger.  Just not my thing.  So, my version of this soup is not in any way traditional.  However, you could add lemongrass to this soup – one stalk should be enough – just make sure to smack the hell out of it to release its flavor and remove before eating. You could also slice instead of grate your ginger, if you really dig on ginger.  Make sure you are a hard-core ginger fan if you slice it, because if you’re at all ginger shy, and you mistakenly bite down on a piece, it’s going to feel like a punch in the face.

Adapted from TCB

3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Zest of 1 lime
2 cans coconut milk
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into very thin strips
1/2 pound mushrooms, shitake, cremini, button if you have to
2 tablespoons sambal
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Bring chicken stock, lime zest, and grated ginger to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.

Shake cans of coconut milk vigorously before opening.  Whisk coconut milk into the soup.  Wait for the soup to come back to a simmer.  Do not increase heat, as the milk can separate if heated too aggressively.  If you haven’t, prep the rest of the ingredients while the soup comes back up to temp.

Season the chicken breast strips lightly with salt. Once the soup is simmering again, add the chicken strips and mushrooms, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Whisk in fish sauce, brown sugar, sambal, and lime juice.  Taste for salt.  I think I added an additional 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pinch by pinch. You could add more fish sauce in lieu of salt if you prefer.

Garnish with cilantro and jalapeno.  If you don’t like cilantro, Thai basil would be good too.

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