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Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai)

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Serves four as a starter or two as a light meal.

Yields 4-3/4 to 5 cups.

This soup is a treasure: a quintessentially Thai dish that you can make at home simply, quickly, and with great success.

  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 fresh or frozen wild lime leaves (also known as kaffir lime leaves), torn or cut into quarters
  • 10 to 12 thin slices galangal, fresh, frozen, or dried (or 10 to 12 thin slices fresh unpeeled ginger)
  • 8 to 10 fresh hot red and green Thai chiles, stemmed and lightly pressed with the side of a knife (or 3 or 4  serranos, thinly sliced) for garnish (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh  cilantro
  • 1 boneless chicken breast half (about 6 ounces), cut into bite-size chunks or sliced across the grain into strips
  • 1/4 lb. white mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, and thinly sliced to yield 1 cup
  • 14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (shake the can before opening it)
  • 14-oz. can low-salt chicken broth or 1-3/4 cups water

Trim away and discard the root end and the top 3  inches of each stalk of lemongrass, along with any brittle leaves. Pound each stalk lightly with the spine of a cleaver or an unopened can. Cut each stalk crosswise into 2-inch lengths and set aside.

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai) Recipe

In a large serving bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, scallions, and half of the wild lime leaves. Set the bowl by the stove, along with small dishes containing the galangal, lemongrass, and remaining lime leaves; the chiles (if using), the chopped cilantro; and the sliced chicken and mushrooms.

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai) Recipe

In a medium saucepan, commbine the coconut milk and broth. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Add the chicken and mushrooms. Return to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors and cook the chicken.

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai) Recipe

Remove the pan from the heat, pour the hot soup over the seasonings in the serving bowl, and stir well. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve hot. Pass around the chiles for those who want them.

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai) Recipe

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): 19; Protein (g): 16; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): 25; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 770; Cholesterol (mg): 25; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Good recipe for a happy family.

Simply delicious. Tome Kha Gai is one of my favorite soups to order out and this one delivered spledidly. I did adjust the menu a touch. Firstly I doubled the recipe and added a tablespoon of red curry paste. I added the lemongrass, ginger, and lime leaves during the low boil and then strained them out after 10 minutes. I then added the chicken and mushroom. Instead of pouring the delicious soupy goodness in a bowl I put the green onions, serrano peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, and cilantro in brefore serving. I served Jasmine rice on the side. I also kept my bottle of Sriachi closte at hand. My tastebudes were exstatic. I'm not sure why people thought there was too much of a lime taste. The balance was perfection. It's a favorite in my Paprika app.

Use coconut milk from scratch and add a 1/2 a cup milk, and then cook the milk and and broth with the bones from a rotisserie chicken. Next I put in a good quality curry paste with lemongrass in it already. I put the meat in at the end. My new favorite soup.

This was good, not great--and not really fast. It was very limey tasting, even though I omitted the lime leaves. The flavor was improved by just a tiny pinch of sugar to counter the tartness. Like another reviewer, I thought that there would be a lot to pick through in the bowl, so I put all the lemongrass and some of the ginger slices in a large tea ball-type thing I have, and removed it for serving. I liked this served over a small scoop of rice to give it some body, and I also thought it tasted better the next day.

Very good. Very easy.

This is delicious and it goes together quickly. I only gave it four stars, because I feel like it needs a little tweaking. I like shitakes better than white mushrooms. I want it to have some color, so I add a bit of carrot with the mushrooms and then a handful of snow peas for crunch just as I serve it. I always serve it with jasmine rice and make it a meal. I have made it when I did not have lemongrass and it is still pretty darn good.

I'm not sure I would call this "the fastest soup". I strained the pieces of ginger and lemongrass out as I could not imagine eating them (very tough and woody)or working around them in the bowl. The soup had a strong citrus tang and lime flavour and would, I think, benefit from the addition of a little white rice.

Oh my goodness, this was wonderful! We were all but licking our bowls! It is simple and quick to throw together and SO flavorful! It looks ingredient-intensive, but I had no trouble getting this on the table in about 30 minutes. This will definitely become one of our staples.

Excellent and easy to make. One of my favorites!

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