This summer, in the States, we met up with my sister and her husband and we went out to a Thai restaurant together. I've made some Thai food at home here and there, but have never been to an actual restaurant before. Anyway, we ordered 4 or 5 things and shared everything. Everything was supremely delicious, and one of my fave things of the evening was this soup. I LOVED it!! It was so good; such a delicious mix of flavors. It was perfect.
I knew I'd need to make this when I got home, and I also knew I wouldn't be able to find ingredients needed here, to make it. So in the States, we stopped at an Asian food store and bought dried galangal (Thai ginger), dried red Thai chili peppers, Thai red chili paste, and some good-quality Thai coconut milk. Last Friday at my local grocery store, there was fresh lemongrass!!! I made this right away. Because I used dried chili peppers and reduced the red chili paste, my soup doesn't have a lovely reddish tint. It still tastes wonderful though. Next time, I'm going to add more chilies and the right amount of chili paste.
I love the blog I found this recipe on, The Daring Gourmet. I'm planning on trying more recipes from her, some more Thai ones, and others. I just ordered some spices from Penzey's so I'll be ready to make more Thai (and other ethnic) food in the future.
(Note: I made this again April 2014 and added more red curry paste, making it more red and more spicy! I added some new pics. My 2-year old LOVES this soup; he can't get enough.)
Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup)
adapted from The Daring Gourmet
1 /2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1½ tablespoon Thai red curry paste (can be found in Asian markets)
3 cups strong chicken stock
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 large lemongrass stalk, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
6 thin slices fresh galangal or ginger
2 Thai chilies, seeded and cut in thin slices (use less if you prefer it less spicy)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 lb chicken breast, cut into thin strips
1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced thin
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai basil if you have it, thinly sliced
Cilantro, and/or basil leaves for garnishing
1. Warm the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, chilies, lime juice, and fish sauce and bring it to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken strips and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the ¼ cup basil and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed. Remove the lemongrass and galangal or ginger and serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil leaves or cilantro.
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