Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thai Tom Kha Gai / Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I managed to make a trip to the Asian shop yesterday.  My freezer is now full of galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and Thai chili. It's handy to have them in stored, so that I can make this tom kha gai or tom yam goong whenever I want.   

Galangal is from the ginger family, but its taste and flavour are very unique and different from ginger.  Some recipes suggest substitute galangal with ginger, but I think the soup would turn out completely different.  After all, the name kha in Thai means galangal, and that's one of the key ingredients of this soup.  If you wish, you can add some sliced mushroom, or bamboo shoot.  But for this recipe, I'm making it with just plain chicken.

For those who have yet to try this soup, hmmm.... what can I say?  Schade!  Which means 'too bad', 'what a pity' in German.  Try it, and you'll know what I mean....

1 can 400ml coconut milk
200ml chicken broth
6 slices galangal
2 stalks lemongrass
5 fresh kaffir lime leaves
250g chicken breast, sliced
3 tbsp fish sauce, or more, to taste
2 tbsp sugar, palm sugar if possible
1 tsp black chili paste, or chili oil
50ml fresh lime juice, squeezed from 2 limes
1/4 cup cilantro/coriander leaves, torn
2 Thai chili, crushed
Serves 2

To prepare:
1.  To bring out the flavour, tear the kaffir lime leaves as if you are angry at them. ;-)    Use only the white part of the lemongrass, cut into 1 inch pieces and crush them using the back of a knife.
2.  In a pot, pour in half of the coconut milk, all of chicken broth and cook with galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves to boiling.  cook for about a minute.
3.  Add the chicken, fish sauce and sugar.  Simmer for about 4 minutes.
4.  Add in the remaining coconut milk and heat just to boiling.  Turn off the heat, add in lime juice and chili paste or chili oil.  Garnish with cilantro leaves and crushed chili.
5.  This recipe serve 2, as appetizer or with plain rice.

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