God I love soup. It may be because it's an easy excuse to eat whole loaves of bread and say it was necessary. I mean, there was soup involved! I can't really say that about Tom Ka Gai, which is a traditional Thai coconut and chicken soup. When was the last time you got a bread basket at a Thai joint? But that doesn't really matter: I still adore its milky goodness. Slurp. Slurp. Slurp.
Here's a dumbed-down version I found on All Recipes. Not to say I'm dumb, or you're dumb, but when are we going to have time to track down kaffir leaves and galangal? Anyway, it's still delish and I bet more exotic than what your neighbor is making. Enjoy!
Tom Ka Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cans (13.5 oz) coconut milk
- 1-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced (or galangal, a distant cousin of ginger)
- 2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and chopped (expose the essence-y white part!)
- juice of one lime (or 10 kaffir lime leaves, torn) plus 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 3 Tb. fish sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (start with a bit less and add more to taste)
- 1 Tb. curry powder
- 2 Tbs. diced scallions
- 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
***I also added tons of chopped cilantro (see photos) because I can't get enough of the stuff.
- Saute chicken until done. Set aside.
- Pour the coconut milk and 2 cups of water in a large saucepan; bring to a simmer. Add the ginger, lemon grass, and lime juice (or kaffir leaves) ; simmer for 10 minutes, or until the flavors are infused. Strain the coconut milk into a new pan and discard the spices. Simmer the shiitake mushrooms in the coconut milk for five minutes. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Season to taste with curry powder.
- To serve, reheat chicken in the soup, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with green onion and red pepper flakes (and cilantro if so inspired).