Welcome to down on the farm…My lemongrass is drying in the sun once dry I will blitz it and have a powder I can use for soups and stir-fries… Now to galangal of which I have a lot …Galangal has a pretty pinkish tone when sliced it can be mistaken for ginger and although it is part of the family it is not ginger they have two completely different tastes.
Also known as Siamese ginger it is one of the ingredients in Tom Kha Gai which is what I made for our dinner yesterday evening…If made from scratch it is a beautiful Thai soup…
Tom Kha Gai…
I have eaten versions of Tom Kha Gai where if far to 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
- 8 chicken portions I used 4 thighs and 4 legs
- A handful of coriander chopped.
This looks a lot of ingredients but if you juice your limes and collect the ingredients they are added mainly all at once and it 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 to boil as it may curdle just bring to a slow simmer. You may also wish to change your ratio of coconut milk to stock and increase the coconut milk.
Add your chicken and cook gently 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 10mins.
Remove from heat and stir in 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 🙂
Yesterday as I have been in for a long time I ventured down to our small local market which is just down the road. Quieter than normal and much of it cordoned off so there was only one way in front and back with red stripes to denote keep your distance which was good to see…A few of the regulars were not there and there was a couple of small traders with produce from their farms you can normally tell as they have small amounts which are hand-tied in little bundles. Lucky for me as they had two fruits which are difficult to find and either grow wild or come from a tree in the garden…
This is one little fruit that I always remember finding as it was also the day where we pulled into a small roadside eating place and clever clogs somehow managed to leave her fingers in the car door…a painful experience I do not wish to repeat…It was definitely an ouch moment…
It is a tiny quite sour fruit but one which as I like sour rather than sweet I like…I also think Lily takes after me as she loves sour and eats limes without batting an eyelid…
Known as Tak̄hbf̄rạ̀ng (ตะขบฝรั่ง), krop farang, ta kob farang, takhop farang here in Thailand it is also known as the Panama Berry…In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a tree with so many names around the world. A huge tree with wide sweeping branches both the birds and the bats love this little fruit. Used in traditional medicine it has a high vitamin C content…
Although it perpetually flowers and fruits all year round I am guessing the fruit is slightly sweeter this time of year as it seems the only time I see it on the market or street stalls…Used to make jam it is also used in traditional medicine to block pain…I am now thinking it must have been the leaves of this tree which I was given pounded into a pulp to ease my jellyfish sting which it certainly did and that was painful it is said to block your nerves from sensing pain.
That’s all from me for today…I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the Thai fruits we grow or buy here …Can you get any of these where you live?
And don’t forget any unusual fruits or veg send me a picture and I will see what I can find out…
Thank you for reading I do hope you are all staying well and safe…It seems like the whole world is on lockdown…scary times…xx… I haven’t been going out unless it is a necessity… a nightly curfew has also been put in force and hotels are now closed to new customers the world is gradually being taken towards complete lockdown…I wonder how all this will pan out…A brave new world?
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Thank you for reading and please stay safe and well…xxxx