Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup)

One of my all time favorite Thai dishes, ever. It's salty, sweet, full of umami, spicy, and sour all at the same time. It's a great introduction to the world of Thai food.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups full fat coconut milk (2- 13.5 oz cans)

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 3 inch piece galangal (you can sub ginger if you need to)

  • 2 stalks lemongrass

  • 3-4 shallots

  • 4 thai chilis (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

  • 10 kaffir lime leaves (7 in the beginning 3 in the end)

  • 3 stalks thai basil (just the stalk not the leaves)

  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms

  • 1.5 pounds chicken breast

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 3 Tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar

  • Juice of 1.5 limes


Garnish:

  • Chili oil

  • Thai basil

  • Cilantro


INSTRUCTIONS:

Method:

  1. Use the spine of your knife and bruise lemongrass stalks. Then, slice lemongrass at an angle to prevent damaging the knife.

  2. Take your shallots and slice the top and bottom off. Cut them in half and peel off skin. Roughly slice each shallot about ¼ inch thick.

  3. Leaving the skin on, carefully slice galangal (or ginger if you need to).

  4. Remove stems from thai chilis and slice ¼ inch thick. Then quarter your cup of cremini mushrooms.

  5. Take your skinless, boneless chicken breasts and cut into 1-inch cubes.

  6. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of a neutral tasting oil in a 6 to 8 quart pot over medium-low heat.

  7. Add all of your vegetables to the pot, except your mushrooms and sweat them while stirring often for 3-5 minutes or until fragrant.

  8. Once vegetables have softened, add full fat coconut milk, chicken stock and kaffir lime leaves; give it a quick stir.

  9. Bring pot up to a high heat, and once it starts to get close to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

  10. Once done, strain liquid through a fine mesh colander. Fresh flavor out from aromatics.

  11. Pour strained liquid back into a clean pot, bringing it back up to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add in chicken and mushrooms, letting it simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

  12. Add in stalks of thai basil and more kaffir lime leaves and let steep like a tea. Season with palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.

  13. Garnish with fresh thai basil and cilantro.