Make Tom Kha Gai Soup, Spicy Thai Chicken Soup, Lime, Chillies
If you have enjoyed the delights of Thai Tom kha gai (a spicy chicken soup) in restaurants you may want to try to make it at home. The traditional soup features hot and spicy chillies that make your taste buds really stand up and take notice.
The sourness and acidity of the limes and the tang of the lemongrass and other herbs add to the taste and most importantly, boost the fragrance of this lovely dish. It is light on calories and fat, but has high protein and is rich in nutrients form the herbs and spices.
The good news is that it is easy to make at home using the recipe provided.
The ingredient list has been simplified to what is commonly available.
You can choose alternatives for the ingredients such as the chillies and herbs to suit your own preferences. Choose good quality fresh young chicken, preferably organic or free-range.
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 slices galangal, cut into thin matchsticks (or you can used ginger which is closely related, but galangal is preferred)
3 cups homemade chicken stock (or packaged varieties)
2 kaffir lime leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 cups coconut milk (light version if you prefer)
6 straw, button or other mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, tender parts only, sliced diagonally
2 chicken breast fillets (or thigh meat), skin removed, cut into strips
1–3 red bird’s-eye chillies (very hot), split, seeded and chopped (or other chillies to suit your preference or for a milder version)
Fresh Coriander leaves, to garnish
Add the chicken stock to a large saucepan or pot. Then add the lime leaves, galangal, lemongrass, mushrooms and a good pinch of salt and bring slowly to boiling point, and then lower the heat to get a gentle simmer.
Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and then the chicken strips. Simmer the soup uncovered for about 5 minutes. Next add the chillies and coconut milk. Raise the temperature to just below boil point while stirring. Do not boil at this stage as this can cause coconut milk to separate.
Heat gently for a few minutes and adjust the taste by adding more salt, fish sauce and lime juice. The salt tends to give a smoother taste.
Add some torn fresh coriander leaves (or other herbs). Garnish with another herb, some extra chili rings and spoon into bowls to serve.
© 2013 Dr. John Anderson
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