Story and photo by Manos Angelakis
Boxed broth photo courtesy of the manufacturer
Tom Kha Gai
I love good soups and I very often make them in my kitchen.
Through the years I’ve added numerous soups in my repertory and Tom Kha Gai, a Thai chicken soup, is one of them.
One of the recipes I use is from the kitchens of the Spice Market, the Thai restaurant of the hotel Regent Bangkok – unfortunately that hotel is no longer in existence.
I still have the “Standardized Menu Item Sheet” used in the kitchens of most 5* hotels. It describes in detail what the per person ingredients and cooking method should be for any particular dish the restaurant is offering. Additionally, in many hotels, there is an image of the finished dish attached to the sheet.
I have made a small modification to the instructions; instead for only coconut milk, I use coconut milk and chicken stock 50/50. Except for that, I use the recipe as it was given to me.
Ingredients for 1 person:
1 cup chicken white meat shredded
¾ cup coconut milk and chicken stock 50/50*
20 gr. mushrooms; the recipe calls for sliced button, but I use Chinese umbrella mushrooms
20 gr. lemongrass stalks, lightly pounded to bring the juice and aroma out
10 gr. galangal, sliced
30 gr. lemon juice
5 gr. chopped kaffirlime
2 kaffirlime leaves
15 gr. fish sauce
5 gr. chili pepper, sliced
5 gr. chili oil
Cilantro leaves to garnish
Boil the coconut milk or 50/50 coconut and chicken stock. Add the shredded chicken, mushrooms, lemongrass and galangal. Bring back to a boil.
When the chicken is cooked, add the fish sauce, sliced chili pepper and kaffirlime.
Season with lemon juice and chili oil.
*I recently discovered Freak Flag Organics, Coconut Chicken Bone Broth. It is an excellent substitute for the liquid part of the recipe, plus it already has some lemongrass and lime in it. I add more of the lemongrass to bring the taste up to my liking plus I add 2 bruised kaffirlime leaves – I keep a supply in my freezer -- to boost the kaffirlime aroma. Once the soup is ready, I discard the kaffirlime leaves and pieces of lemongrass stalk.
Also see: Thai Gastronomy and Massamun Chicken
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