Welcome to my kitchen and another Chicken recipe…today I am using chicken breasts to make a lovely Thai Chicken Soup called Tom Kha Gai…
I have eaten versions of Tom Kha Gai where if far too much coconut milk is the main ingredient it becomes the overriding taste I use half coconut milk and half vegetable or chicken stock. But again it is all down to personal taste.
- 750 ml of chicken/vegetable stock
- 750 ml of coconut milk
- 2 inches of galangal sliced
- 10 kaffir lime leaves torn
- 4-10 Thai chillies depending on the amount of heat you like.
- 5 cloves of garlic minced or finely cut
- 4-7 tbsp of fish sauce again this depends on personal taste.
- 5-8 limes juiced.
- 250 gm oyster mushrooms I used a Thai mushroom and quartered them as I did not have any oyster mushrooms
- 2 small to med tomatoes quartered
- 2 white onions cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 chicken breast portions …thinly sliced…you can use chicken thighs and or chicken legs you would then need 6-8 portions.
- A handful of coriander chopped.
This looks like a lot of ingredients but if you juice your limes and collect the ingredients they are added mainly all at once …it really is an easy dish to make and the flavours are far superior to any tom yum mixes or stock cubes. If you eat Tom Yum Goong or Tom Kha Gai soup in a restaurant if the colour is orange or has an orange tinge then you know stock cubes or mixes have been used and it is not made from scratch.
The difference between these two soups is that one is not made with coconut milk and has prawns and the chicken version uses coconut milk both are very nice.
The first thing to do is put the stock and coconut milk in a large pot on low heat.
Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.
Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1-inch strips or so.
Take about 1 thumb-sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.
Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.
Peel about 5 cloves of garlic and mince or chop finely.
I normally use about 10 Thai bird chillies for this recipe, but as Lily was eating it I used 4 this time…you can use however many you’d like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you’d still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.
Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the pot which by now should be heating nicely add the lid as it helps release the flavours …
Just a tip the coconut milk I use is 100% apparently not always the case when it is exported or made abroad if it is not 100% do not allow it to boil as it may curdle just bring it to a slow simmer. You may also wish to change your ratio of coconut milk to stock and increase the coconut milk…However, if you buy your coconut milk from an Asian Supermarket you should find it will be 100% coconut milk…no additives…I was shocked the other week when I was doing an online shop for my daughter in the UK and none of the supermarkets was selling 100% coconut milk…
Add your chicken and cook gently in the liquid for about 20 mins until chicken is nearly cooked then add your tomatoes and onions and cook for a further 10 minutes and add your mushrooms then cook for another 5-10mins.
The mushrooms I generally use are Thai Straw Mushrooms they look a little like a mushroom within a mushroom…if they are past their best then that cap over the smaller mushroom head releases itself and is much darker than these very freshly picked ones pictured below…
Straw mushrooms are as common in Thailand as white button mushrooms are in the US. Straw mushrooms are meaty and mild in flavour. They cook well in soup such as tom yum (spicy and sour soup). While I’ve never seen fresh ones in the West, canned straw mushrooms are available at most Asian markets…or mushrooms of your choice can be used…
Once the mushrooms are cooked and the soup is ready then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and coriander.
Taste and adjust if required your soup should have that hot, sweet, sour taste of Thailand.
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do and remember to add the smallest amount of fish sauce and lime juice and taste and build, taste and build until you get the right level of salty, sweet and sour for you 🙂